baked macaroni and cheese casserole

Valentine’s day has come and gone, and I learned one major lesson this year. Buying scratch-n-sniff valentines may seem like a good idea, a very retro and hip idea, but scratch-n-sniff stink bug valentines are NOT a good idea. Never a good idea, really. And if my children’s teachers are reading this, or if any of the moms of the boys in their classes are – I am so very, very sorry.

Though I was treated to Chinese take-out on Valentine’s night, Sam and I had our real Valentine’s celebration later in the week. Thursday morning, we typed out childcare and kitty-care instructions for Grammy and taped the note to the refrigerator door. After shoving our swimsuits and flip-flops and bottles of SPF-50 into a suitcase, we dusted off our neglected passports, kissed the kids goodbye, gave the cats scritches under their necks, and headed off to the airport to catch our plane to Mexico.

We spent a full two and a half days lounging at the infinity pool, looking outward toward the swaying fronds of the coconut palm trees lining the beach and the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico just beyond. We read a lot, finishing two books a piece, and we occasionally braved the frigid temperatures of the pool. I gorged myself on guacamole and salsa. I learned that Mexico’s version of “mild heat” in a pepper is not quite the version I’m used to.

I completely relaxed. It felt good to finally catch my breath.


I’ll share some photos soon, once I download them off my camera’s memory card, maybe this weekend. First, I must share this macaroni and cheese recipe with you. I was inspired to make this after flipping through the pages of an old, spiral-bound community cookbook, it’s yellowing pages chock full of recipes for mysterious dishes like “Sara’s Jello Surprise” and “Aunt Jean’s Spam Casserole.” I found a few recipes for macaroni and cheese casseroles made with a no béchamel technique — just the combining and baking of grated cheese, eggs, and milk, with already-cooked noodles. After fiddling around with the method and ingredients, this is the recipe I came up with.

I made this last Sunday, before we headed out of town, in hopes that my kids would think I was the best mom EVER for leaving them with such cheesy goodness to eat while we were away. But it didn’t work out that way. It never does, really. My son was quick to declare that he did NOT like macaroni and cheese, and he refused to eat it. Refused to even sample a bite.

I swear, I think someone replaced that child with a blonde, blue-eyed impostor.

Yield: 6-8 servings.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Macaroni and cheese casserole should always be present at pot-luck dinners and church suppers - or at any social gathering involving Southerners and food. This version of macaroni and cheese is the dish you'll want to show up with.

Ingredients:

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
8 ounces Colby cheese, shredded
8 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish and set aside.

In a large pot of salted water, cook elbow macaroni according to package directions, until al dente, about 7 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together in a medium bowl the melted and cooled butter, milk, eggs, sour cream, salt, and white pepper. In a large bowl, combine the cooked and drained pasta, the butter and milk mixture, and the shredded cheeses. Stir well. Pour into the casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.

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62 Responses to “guest post: browned butter rice krispies treats”

  1. Pingback: {Recipe: Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats}

  2. Are you kidding me! I wouldn’t dream of giving away something that good. There’s nothing better than the smell and taste of browned butter is there?

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 11th, 2011 @ 8:18 am

      You are so right, Sylvie. These would be way too hard to part with.

  3. HammockGal (Christine) — May 11, 2011 @ 7:27 am

    Have not had crispy treats since Girl Scouts! We don’t need to mention exactly how long ago that was. ;o)

    2 sticks of butter. Decadent! Nutty browned butter. Outrageous!

    I look forward to trying these, but agree with Sylvie, not sure I could give these away, even if I should.

    Thanks Brian, and MJ too!
    (@downbythehearth)

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 11th, 2011 @ 8:18 am

      They do look amazing, don’t they? These are for keeping. 🙂

  4. MikeVFMK — May 11, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    Not for one second did I think these weren’t sophisticated enough. I know just how much flavour brown butter adds to a dish and transforms it from oridinary to addictive.

    A great post and I’m glad I had a chance to head over here and browse through the rest of the blog. All love, by the way!

  5. Yuri — May 11, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    MJ: So glad to see Brian guest posting here. He is my favorite food photographer 😀
    Brian: I love Joanne Chang’s book, my copy is full of colored flags and every recipe I’ve tried has been successful. I will definitely try these.
    Happy Wednesday!

  6. Molly — May 11, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    I’m so happy to have discovered your blog via Brian’s. I recently came across a Rice Krispie Treat recipe that involved rosemary and lavender. (Drool.) I think the addition of those to these browned butter ones would send this dessert out into orbit. Oh goodness, that sounds so delicious!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 11th, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

      Molly – that sounds like an intriguing combination (rosemary and lavender)! And, welcome!

  7. DessertForTwo — May 11, 2011 @ 9:45 am

    Thanks for sharing, Brian! I’m so glad you guest-posted so I could find your site!

    These look like an all-grown-up version of the favorite sweet! I have to try this! Isn’t MJ amazing juggling all that? So inspiring!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 11th, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

      Christina (Dessert for Two) – you will love Brian’s site!

  8. Georgie — May 11, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    I love butter! Especially, brown butter! It’s so great reading guest posts and getting a glimpse inside to how wonderful relationships are formed in the blog world. I admire both of you, for obvious reasons-like well versed-blog post, stunning photography and super incredibly creative recipes.

    Funny, I’ve never been a fan of rice crispy treats. I’m more of a rich creamy, chocolaty type… though the brown butter had me at Hello!

    Sending you the sweetest wishes MG for Fritz – boo! Thank you for another delightful post Brian!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 11th, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

      I think anything with brown butter would be darn hard to pass up. Thank you so much for your good wishes. It stinks to lose a pet, but we’re getting over it, slowly.

  9. Nelly Rodriguez — May 11, 2011 @ 9:53 am

    Love how this kid recipe can be turned into an adult version by transforming the butter! Thanks for sharing Brian! I just discovered your blog MJ and I will definitely be back. Hope you get some rest in these 18 days!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 11th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

      Thank you so much, Nelly. Nice to have you here!

  10. Lauren at Keep It Sweet — May 11, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    That addition of vanilla bean is genius!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 11th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

      Right? Love the entire recipe.

  11. Kare — May 11, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    MJ, I’m so sorry about your kitty. Losing a pet sucks. 🙁

    Brian, those look insanely delicious.

  12. So sorry to hear about your kitty and tough work schedule right now. Sounds as if you are a master at delegating by choosing a guest post at the perfect time. Brown butter makes such a fun, childhood treat all grown-up. Love the post, recipe and photos. Hope things settle for you soon!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 11th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

      Thank you so much, Elizabeth. I love to delegate when I can. 🙂

  13. Liz — May 11, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    The sound of these has me drooling! A way to make Rice Krispie treats better???? I’m all for it…these sound divine, Brian!!! Merry Gourmet, so nice to visit your blog…I’ll be back 🙂

  14. Adelina — May 11, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

    Brian thanks for this fun post! I think this not only kid-friendly but adult friendly 😉 Thanks for introducing me to MJ. She sounds like a my type of person to follow.

  15. Cookin' Canuck — May 11, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    I already have a hard time resisting Rice Krispies’ treats. Now with brown butter? I’m a goner!

  16. RavieNomNoms — May 11, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    Wonderful guest post! Wow…those are just amazing…soooo delicous! 2 sticks of butter?! I am so sold, it’s not even funny haha

  17. Brooks at Cakewalker — May 11, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    Hello MJ, I’ve just dashed over from Brian’s place…so nice to learn more about you! I applaud your decision to take a break. Try as we may to have it all, if balance is not in place, the smooth ride we covet will become bumpy. You have my condolence for the loss of your family’s beloved pet. Please remember: In taking care of you, you retain the privilege to take care of others.

  18. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — May 11, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

    Normally if it says Brown(ed) Butter I’m totally in but maybe it’s the kid in me…I didn’t even need that! I love, love, love Rice Krispies treats and I realized earlier today that a lot of the things I love are no longer being made because my youngest child has now moved on and there is no need. But…think I was wrong and just love this updated ‘adult’ version.

  19. Barbara — May 11, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

    I used to make these for my childrens school lunches. My recipe includes peanut butter but I’ve never made them with brown butter. Sounds delicious.

  20. Amy's Cooking Adventures — May 11, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

    Fabulous! I must make these soon!

  21. Aggie — May 11, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

    I’m completely touched by this post. I love food blog buddies and how we all have each other’s back when we need them. Hugs to BOTH of you!!

    And for the treats…I think I need browned butter in my life. I want to eat these in bed tonight.

  22. Chris — May 11, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

    Woohoo! These were perfect to stare at after a really, really long day. Great post! 🙂

  23. Ethan — May 12, 2011 @ 1:37 am

    Yes, the rice krispie squares are both kid and adult friendly, but when I think of rice krispies, I think of comfort and sharing amongst friends and I can’t think of two more caring people than both you and Brian.
    I’m sorry to hear about Fritz. 17 years in that house, he must have given and received a lot of love.

  24. Joanne — May 12, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    Two sticks of butter in one batch of rice krispies treats? You just gave me chills, mister. CHILLS. In a good way.

  25. Dana — May 12, 2011 @ 9:08 am

    So funny, I hadn’t had a rice krispie treat until a few weeks ago when I made a cake batter version. This sounds great with the browned butter and addition of vanilla. I’m seeint these will be appearing again in my near future!

  26. Lori @ RecipeGirl — May 12, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    I’ve been hearing about this cookbook- WANT, and this recipe has gotten some buzz too. Must make these as soon as possible!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 12th, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

      I don’t have the cookbook either, but I have a feeling I’ll own it soon. 😉

  27. I think the addition of brown butter ups the rice krispie ante by a lot! The pictures have made me feel nostalgic for the much-loved childhood snack. 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 12th, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

      They look amazing, don’t they? Now I must buy some Rice Krispies…

  28. Liren — May 12, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

    What a great way to “grow-up” a childhood favorite! Sounds wonderful!

    MJ, hang in there as you get through this crazy time. I, too, admire how you are able to juggle all you do. Hugs to you – my heart goes out to you with the loss of Fritz. He was such a good looking buddy.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 12th, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

      Thank you so much, Liren. It’s been tough, but we’re getting used to the idea that he’s gone.

  29. Brian – What an amazing twist on rice krispie treats… Can’t wait to try these!

    MJ – Hope everything’s going well for you… Hang in there!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 12th, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

      Thanks, Jen. I’m doing better.

  30. Lora @cakeduchess — May 12, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

    Hi MJ-I was so sorry to read on Mother’s Day that your sweet kitty Fritz passed away:( I do believe you need a Mother’s Day do-over like you mentioned . (((big hugs)))
    Bri-LOVE these rice krispie treats! My kids love rice krispie treats. I will make these with them. They look so tempting!!:)

  31. I love Brian! He is one of the most generous, talented and nicest bloggers I can think of. And most talented too. Great post!

  32. Pingback: Friday Favorites – Episode 92 | my kitchen addiction

  33. Megan'sCookin' — May 17, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    Brown butter AND a vanilla bean? These sound fantastic! I think I’ll whip up a batch for our camping trip! 🙂

  34. Pingback: White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Rice Krispy Treats. « Chef Pandita

  35. Erich — May 27, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    Has anyone tried this with regular butter instead of unsalted? Would it just be too salty or something using regular butter and omitting the Kosher salt? I would think it would be fine.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — May 28th, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

      Erich – I’ve not tried that. I tend to cook and bake with unsalted butter – which allows me more control over the salt content of the final dish. There’s a lot of butter in this, so my guess is that it might be too salty if you used salted butter. Give it a try and report back!

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  37. Megan'sCookin' — June 17, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    I have made these 3 times now and we loved them. I just posted them!

  38. Rosie — July 21, 2011 @ 12:23 am

    These are to die for! I took them to tennis one day and even with the small turnout that day, they were gone in a flash. Awesome recipe!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — July 21st, 2011 @ 8:37 am

      Thanks for that feedback, Rosie! I’m so glad to hear they were a success.

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  42. Kristen — February 3, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    What a great idea – I love the layers of flavor this recipe produces. You can’t go wrong with browned butter!

  43. Pingback: White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Rice Krispy Treats.

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