How to Make Macaroni and Cheese Without a Recipe

How to Make Macaroni and Cheese Without a Recipe

Ah, macaroni and cheese. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways: We love you from a box, preferably in SpongeBob or superhero shapes. We love Grandma's homemade version that she plunked down on the Thanksgiving table, right next to the green bean casserole. And don't tell me I'm the only one with a weak spot for the Velveeta version where you squeeze neon-orange goo out of a silver packet onto your shells, best consumed while watching The Magic Schoolbus. Haters may hate -- that stuff was (and, by all accounts, still is) delicious.

Let me back up: For as long as I can remember, macaroni and cheese was my birthday dinner. My mother made Martha Stewart's version, and I would always sneak some of the butter-drenched croutons before we all sat down to dig in. Over the years, I adapted it to whatever whims and ingredients I had on hand. Blue cheese and bacon? Sure. Greens and peas? That seems healthy. A topping of crumbled Cheetos? Yes, I did -- and yes, it was just as good as you imagine.

I became known for my mac and cheese. If there was milk and pasta and butter and cheese lying around (and when isn't there?), you better believe I would mac and cheese-ify it. The ability to transform such refrigerator and pantry staples into a knock-your-socks-off dish of cheesy baked pasta is nothing to sniff at. In fact, it's a pretty valuable skill -- and one I'm going to teach you today.

So, without further waxing poetic on how macaroni and cheese is the perfect meal, here's how to make it:

Check out the slideshow above to learn how to make macaroni and cheese without a recipe.

The History of Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese From Scratch: The Non-Boxed, Still Cheap Alternative
Retro Recipe: Baking Sheet Macaroni and Cheese

This article originally appeared on Food52: How to Make Macaroni and Cheese Without a Recipe.