Spoilers: this recipe contains a secret ingredient. Of course, trained chef’s are reluctant to tell their secrets, but I’m not a chef. I’m just a decent cook. Says so on my business card. But this dish has received too many great comments from taste-testers to keep the recipe under wraps. It’s easy to assemble, cooks in the slow-cooker so you don’t have to watch it much, and is a great twist on what might be the world’s most popular comfort food.
Did I sell you on it?
I hope so.
Next time you need something new for a potluck, try this version of Mac ‘n Pimento Cheese!
- A 4.5 quart crock pot, or the equivalent-sized oven-safe casserole dish or pot.
- 16 oz. cooked macaroni (I use spirals, but the traditional elbow style will be fine)
- Helpful hint: cook the macaroni the day before and keep refrigerated until needed. Saves time the next day when you are worried about the guests coming early. And they always come early.
- 10 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded
- 12 oz. Pimento Cheese
- Spoiler: I use Palmetto Cheese with Jalapeno as my secret ingredient. This South Carolina low country specialty food is thankfully available in most higher quality grocery stores, or online here.
- 1 1/2 cups milk (any version that works for you. Except chocolate milk. That would be a bad choice.)
- 12 oz. Evaporated Milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
I use a “layer” approach to building this mac ‘n cheese.
- Place enough cooked macaroni in the bottom of the crock pot to cover the bottom.
- Sprinkle a handful of shredded Colby Jack cheese on top of the cooked macaroni.
- Using a small spoon, or a melon baller, place 4 – 5 small scoops of pimento cheese evenly on top of the Colby Jack cheese. I do four corners and a center.
- Helpful hint: use the spoon to spread the pimento cheese into a thin layer across the entire pot.
- Repeat the layering of macaroni, Colby Jack cheese, and pimento cheese. Make the top layer one of the cheeses.
- In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the liquid mixture on top of the macaroni and cheese. Try to drizzle it around the entire top surface so liquid will seep down throughout the crock pot.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours. If using the oven, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Now check the inside of the crock pot wall. Using a plastic spatula, scrape the macaroni away to keep the cheese from forming a burnt crust.
- If your mac ‘n cheese has thickened to the point a large spoonful will maintain its shape, you are done!
- If still soggy, then cover and continue to cook for 30 additional minutes.
- Check again. The dish should be done.
- The longest I have let this cook is 4 hours, but I ended up with a thick inedible crust which wasted probably three servings.
This dish has won rave reviews from both office-mates and church ladies. I don’t which group has the more discriminating palate, but on both occasions I returned home with zero leftovers.