Mac and cheese for summer parties!!

Mac and cheese for summer parties!!

We think Mac and cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods. There's just something so satisfying about biting into a creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-delicious forkful. While there are many ways to make this classic dish, today we'll be sharing a basic recipe for mac and cheese made with a béchamel sauce and cheese, and then we'll add on some ideas for extras to make it personal.

Dish it up next to a burger fresh from the grill and you'll have a meal fit for any summer backyard dinner.

Serves 4-6

- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
2. Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
3. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
4. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden.
5. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes until thickened.
7. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese until melted and smooth.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
9. Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked macaroni and pour into a baking dish (or for a festive look, a cast iron skillet!)
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's add some extras to make it personal:
- Crumbled bacon
- Sliced jalapeños
- Chopped green onions
- Diced tomatoes
- Panko bread crumbs for a crispy topping
- Truffle oil for a gourmet twist
- Shredded rotisserie chicken for added protein
- A splash of hot sauce for some heat
- A dash of cayenne for a little heat
- Sliced and sauted smoked sausage

The possibilities are endless when it comes to mac and cheese. Whether you're making it for a cozy night in or a family gathering, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.