Thursday, February 20, 2014

5 Mistakes of Making Slow-Cooker Mac 'n Cheese

I am not... shall we say... a "cook" or a "chef" or any term involving me and cooking. I like to bake but chopping and peeling and boiling? None of that is my forte. So when I saw this post by Whisk and a Prayer for slow cooker mac 'n cheese, I figured, "It can't be that hard to mess up, right?" Boy do I love a challenge! I made 5 mistakes so lets laugh at each one, shall we?

Mistake #1 - Having Barilla in the house
I'm a member of the LGBT community so when I heard Barilla's chairman say last year their advertising wouldn't featuring same-sex couples and critics could "eat another brand of pasta", that's exactly what I chose to do. However, the pasta in our cupboards is older than that announcement so I had to run out and buy another brand. Same price and I get to keep my values!

Here's what you'll need:

1 1/2 Cups of milk (I used reduced fat)
1 can of evaporated milk (see Mistake #2)
1/2 stick of butter (melted and cooled)
3 eggs (see Mistake #3)
1/2 t of salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 c of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 pound of elbow macaroni (see Mistake #4)
3 C (or 12 ounces) of shredded cheese (and see Mistake #5)
I also added Italian Seasonings and bread crumbs as well because it sounded bland

Mistake #2 and #3 - Dropping eggshells and evaporated milk can into slow cooker
Once you've gathered your ingredients, add the milk, evaporated milk, eggs, melted butter, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like to your crock pot and whisk together. Now I don't recommend adding egg shells but hey, maybe they give it more of a crunch! And dropping the entire can of evaporated milk is certainly one way to "add" it but you should probably open it first and add what's inside the can... oy....

Mistake #4 - Overcooking the noodles
Now the original post recommends you cook the noodles for 5 minutes - long enough to make them tender but not completely cooked through. I boiled mine for 5 minutes and they were great!... until I got distracted and forgot to drain them for about 10 minutes, which resulted in them being way overdone. They were so cooked, they were practically jello...not quite a liquid, not quite a solid. So be sure to drain them immediately after and add them to your crock pot!

Mistake #5 - The cheese
Oh geez, the cheese... ok, I didn't see "12" ounces when I first read the instructions, I saw "16" so here I am with an 8oz. block of cheddar cheese thinking, "How the heck and I going to double this?" So I opened the fridge, saw an unopened 8 oz. bag of pre-shredded mozzarella cheese and thought it was a miracle. Well, little did I know, but 4 oz. of unshredded cheese practically results in 16 oz. of shredded cheese! It's freakin' magic, people! So I added the mozzarella with my newly shredded cheddar equaling... well... a lot of cheese... but that can't be a bad thing, right? FYI - grating cheese is probably the most boring thing I've ever done in the kitchen. Has anyone invented an electric cheese grater yet?

The one thing I didn't mess up? Sprinkling parmesan cheese on top. Hey hey, I completed one step without any mistakes! That's progress!

Set your crock pot on high for 30 minutes and wait. After 30 minutes, set it on low for 2-2 1/2 hours and wait some more. Now I'm not sure how this happened, but I managed to burn one side, however it gave me the crunchiness I needed. Otherwise, it was practically cheese soup! I added bread crumbs before spooning it out (and no, I didn't sauté them like the original post recommended... c'mon, I dropped a freaking can of milk in a pot, you really think I can sauté something?)

Needless to say, I won't be making this again. The hubby thought it was delicious but I disagreed but that's probably because I knew of all the mistakes I made. If you do decide to give it a try, please learn from my mistakes and let me know if it's any good!

TOTAL COSTS: About $6.50 (prices from Vons)
$.99 for 1 lb. of elbow macaroni
$1.29 for evaporated milk
$3.19 for cheese
$.99 for butter
Milk, eggs, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese already on hand

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: 3 hours, 30 minutes
30 minutes to prep
30 minutes on high
2 1/2 hours on low

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 3 out of 5
Ok, if you don't make any of the stupid mistakes I made, I sure this will be a 1 out of 5 for you. However, if you're as cooking-challenged as I am, you might be better of buying some Kraft and becoming friends with your microwave...


  1. My little food processor has a cheese grater attachment, but the washing up is such a hassle it's easier to just grate it by hand.

  2. Hey Kat, thank you for letting us feature you on CraftFail! :D