For Suzi and Michelle--
The Seahunks' Macaroni and Cheese
All of the following is more intuitional than measured.
Start by par-boiling enough elbow macaroni to feed however many you're cooking for. If it's raw, it's undercooked. If it's al dente, it's overcooked. The macaroni will finish boiling while baking.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees, while waiting for the macaroni to boil.
Butter a rectangular cake pan, or casserole dish of appropriate size.
Evenly spread enough warm, drained macaroni to cover the bottom of the pan/dish. It's okay if you see the butter melting now.
Spread the cheddar of your choice--shredded if available--over the bottom layer of macaroni. When you see more cheese than macaroni, start a new layer of macaroni. When you see more macaroni than cheese,
start a new layer of shredded cheese. Continue until macaroni is used up. If you've judged correctly, the top of the macaroni, or cheese as the case may be, should be about an inch under the lip of the pan. Pepper to taste on top of the macaroni. Now--you saved some cheese didn't you?--good--take the rest of the cheese and spread it over the exposed macaroni. If you want to throw a couple chunks or slices of cheese on top of that, that's okay, too.
And now--here's the secret--pour enough milk over the top of mixture to soak through to the bottom layers, and form a 1/2 inch deep pool at the bottom of the pan. That's how your mac will finish cooking. The milk will steam upward, as the cheese melts downward. It's going to smell delicious while it's cooking, but keep your taste buds in check. If you take it out too soon, you're robbing yourself of a treat. It isn't really done until the cheese on top is getting crispy, perhaps a bit brown, but not burned. At 375 degrees, it should take anywhere from 40-55 minutes. I've even tried 375 for 30 minutes, then 425 for 10. before. Good luck and don't be afraid to experiment with cheddar mixtures. I really like to throw some monterey jack into it, every now and then.
*If my sisters read this they'll probably kill me.