Judy’s BEST Creamy and Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Your Family Will Thank You Once You Learn To Make This Creamy And Delicious Macaroni And Cheese!

When my children were little, I needed to come up with the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe. My mother had made macaroni and cheese casserole when I was growing up, and I liked it a lot, but I knew that her recipe was not exactly what I was looking for. If you can picture in your mind the perfect macaroni and cheese, with creamy orange-yellow cheese oozing our of the elbow macaroni noodles, and the cheese on top of the casserole is bubbly and starting to get just a little brown and crusty, then you will be picturing something close to what my ideal recipe for macaroni and cheese is like. So I set out to come up with a perfect recipe for macaroni and cheese. I developed the recipe when my kids were little, and it quickly became a favorite of my children’s and of my father’s. I loved to make this recipe, and then give some of it to my father to take home when my parents left after spending a Friday night with us. My father loved it as a nighttime snack. Even though my kids are older, I still make this regularly, and this year I am adding it to my Thanksgiving menu. Why not? Everyone loves it.

For years I made a single recipe, but then I realized that I should be doubling it. So, the following recipe is actually a double recipe. I make it in a large 9×13 rectangular or oval ceramic or pyrex dish or large square or round casserole. If you make half of the recipe, then halve each ingredient, and bake it in a rectangular or oval 8 x10 or in a round casserole dish.

  • 1 pounds (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher or regular salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • about 2 pounds of thinly, sliced at the deli, good yellow American cheese, (Land o Lakes is the best!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of your baking dish, and set aside.

Start the water boiling in a pot for your noodles. In another saucepan (4 or 5 quart), put your butter or margarine, and melt it over a low flame. Then add the flour, salt and pepper, and whisk it. It will look like a wet paste. Whisk it for a few minutes to cook the flour a bit. Then pour a little of the milk in. Whisk again. Repeat a few times. Eventually, just pour the rest of the milk in. You need to stand at the stove, and continue stirring or whisking the mixture every minute or two with your pan over a medium flame. When the milk mixture has started to thicken just a little, then add all of your cheese except about 3 or 4 ounces (about 8 slices) that you will reserve for the top. At this point start boiling your noodles. Do not overcook the elbows, (If the instuructions say to cook the noodles for 5-8 minutes, I cook them for around 7 minutes).  As soon as the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and set aside. Keep the heat on medium-low under your sauce mixture, and just move that cheese around until it is basically melted into the milk. It should almost completely be one smooth mixture, when it is ready. Then you have a few choices. If you have enough room in the saucepan, pour your noodles in, and mix the sauce into and around the noodles. Then pour it all into your prepared dish. If you don’t have enough room in your saucepan, that’s fine. Just pour your noodles into your prepared baking dish, and pour the sauce right in with the noodles. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the sauce in and around the elbows.

Bake for about 1 hour or a little more until the top is starting to brown, and the edges are starting to look crusty. Then place your remaining slices of cheese on top, and wait until the cheese on top is melted or browned (it’s up to you). Your baking time will vary depending on whether you like the dish creamy and on the looser side or more firm and well done. I like it somewhere in the middle, but I do like the bottom and sides to be browned and crusty. You may take this out of the oven and serve it immediately.

Note: It’s okay to serve it immediately. You won’t have any choice in the matter because everyone will be standing around and dying to dig in! There usually are no leftovers, but if you’re lucky enough to have any, the microwave does a great job of heating them up.

Note:  You can prepare this the night before, and refrigerate it without baking it.  Then take it out of the fridge when you are ready to bake it.  It may take about 15 minutes more to cook if you are baking it straight from the fridge.

Judy’s Easy Corn Pudding

I concocted this recipe a few Thanksgivings ago because my daughter Randi had told me that she had eaten some corn pudding in a restaurant, and she really liked it.  When I made this the first time, Randi said that is was her favorite side dish in the Thanksgiving dinner.  For something so yummy, it is really a snap to make. It takes about 10 minutes to get it in the oven.   I have prepared it, and let it sit in the refrigerator for a half hour to an hour before I baked it, and that doesn’t hurt it one bit.  You will be amazed at how beautiful this dish looks when it comes out of the oven, puffed and golden!  The consistency is more like a souffle than a pudding.  It does taste best if you can bake it right before you serve it, but you can prepare it, and put it in the refrigerator up to an hour or so before you bake it.  The result will be-perfection!  This dish will impress your guests, so get ready for the compliments and the recipe requests!

  For 8 x 10 rectangular or oval baking dish   For 9 x 13 rectangular or oval dish

  • 3 tablespoons unbleached flour                       4 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder                              2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt                                    2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar                       scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 jumbo or extra large eggs                             7 jumbo or extra large eggs
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) light cream                        18 ounces (2 cups + 2 oz. light cream)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine    2 tablespoons melted butter or marg.
  • about 6 cups frozen corn – about 28 ounces   about 6 cups frozen corn-about 28 oz.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease sides and bottom of either your 8 x 10 inch. or 9 x 13 inch oval or rectangular ceramic or glass baking dish well with butter or margarine. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a small bowl.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together by hand the eggs, the light cream, and the 2 tablespoons melted margarine or butter.  Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients until pretty smooth.  Stir in the corn (which you can take right out of the freezer) and mix through, separating the kernels with the whisk as best as you can.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.  Serve immediately. 

My Grandma’s Healthy and Delicious Brown Rice Pudding

My mother made this recipe often.  It was her mother’s, my Grandma Hindes’s recipe.  My grandmother was born in 1908, so if she were alive today, she would be around 100 years old.  My grandmother was an immigrant from Europe.  She immigrated to this country from a place called Galicia, which is now part of Poland.  She was a huge fan of a nutritionist on the radio named Carlton Fredericks.  She learned a lot from him and followed his advice.  My grandmother was way ahead of her time.  My mother and her brother Nat were the ONLY children who brought sandwiches to school made with whole wheat bread.  When my mother talks about her mother’s wisdom in this area, she is still amazed by it.  For that generation, being concerned about nutrition and healthy ingredients was very uncommon.  Well, my grandmother developed this delicious rice pudding recipe because she wanted to create a healthy version of a rather unhealthy dish.  She made it as a side dish that she served along with tuna salad or broiled fish.  My mother made this many times, and my father loved it!  He liked it plain or warm with a little milk in it.  When my father was still alive, I often made this for him so he could take it home and have it as a yummy snack.    I also regularly make this and deliver it to my daughter Randi and my mother as they love it too.  As soon as the cool weather hits, I start making this recipe.  It’s such comfort food!  I like to know it’s in the fridge for a late night healthier than usual snack.  When I put that first bite in my mouth, I’m in heaven.  How many healthy dishes can you say that about?  I know that this is not your traditional rice pudding recipe, but it’s mine.  So please, give this family, heirloom recipe of mine a whirl.  Trust me, once you taste it, you will love knowing that this healthy treat is waiting for you in the refrigerator.

  • 1 cup whole grain brown rice (not instant)- I use Uncle Ben’s or Carolina (I now use Nature’s Promise organic long-grain brown rice!)
  • a nice chunk of butter or Fleischmann’s margarine- about 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I’ve been reducing this to 1/4 cup lately)
  • 1 1/4 cups of whole milk (or half and half or light cream for an even richer pudding)
  • 3 extra large eggs (or 4 for an even richer pudding)
  • cinnamon

Note:  If you wish to make this dish healthier, you may reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup and use lowfat or skim milk in place of the whole milk. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a two quart casserole dish well with butter or margarine.  Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl, and mix them with the milk.

Combine the rice, 2 1/4 cups cold water in a 2 quart saucepan or follow instructions for amount of water on box.  Bring the water to a boil, then put the lid on and lower the flame as low as possible.  Simmer about 30 minutes until the water is completely absorbed.  Recently, I started putting a chunk of margarine in too.

Take the saucepan with the rice off the stove.  Put your greased casserole dish into the oven to heat it up while you are completing the rest of the recipe.  Drop the butter or margarine into the rice and mix it through the rice until it is completely melted through.  Then, dump the sugar in and mix gently with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle some cinnamon in – about 1/2 teaspoon.  Then pour milk and egg mixture into the rice mixture and mix it in well with the rubber spatula.  Take out the casserole dish, and pour the rice mixture in.   Sprinkle the top of the pudding with a nice amount of cinnamon.  Place the casserole dish in the center of the oven.  Bake it for about 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes until the sides and top are brown.  Let the pudding cool a few minutes before serving, or let it cool completely, and then put it in the refrigerator for later.  You can take out a portion any time, and warm it up in the microwave.

Grandma Hindes’s, Nana’s, and Especially My Matzo Brei for Passover

This is a family heirloom recipe.  This was another absolute favorite dish of mine when I was a little girl.  My mother made this Passover dish the way her mother did. I took over the job of making the matzo brei when I was about 15 years old, and I’ve been making it ever since.  I have never seen a recipe like this one for matzo brei; it is unique. What you end up with is something that is similar to French toast, but better.  It does take some effort, but it is so worthwhile.  Your family will love you for it.  Just try it – I know you’ll agree that it’s worth the effort.

  • whole sheets of matzo  (For best results, use Manishewitz regular matzo.  You will need about 2 sheets of matza per person.)

  • lots of extra large or jumbo eggs (about 3 eggs per person)

  • regular milk (about 2- 3 tablespoons for every 4 eggs)

  • margarine for frying (I use Fleischmann’s)

  • granulated sugar and pure maple syrup for serving

For 2 people, beat about 4 eggs to start with in a wide shallow bowl.  Mix in about 2 tablespoons of whole milk.  Gently break 1 matzo into approximate fourths.  Soak it in warm water in a wide shallow bowl , aluminum tin, or other shallow pan until the matzo begins to soften.  Very gently, squeeze as much water out of the pieces as possible without breaking the matzo.  Then place the pieces gently in the bowl with the egg mixture.

Put a big chunk of margarine in a large, preferably non-stick frying pan, over a medium-high  flame.  Transfer pieces of matzo into pan to begin frying. Fry until beautifully browned on the bottom, flip, fry until browned, and serve.

Start soaking process immediately with a new sheet of matzo.  Repeat frying process.

Continue until everyone is full.  Trust me, you will be standing at the stove for a very long time.