Getting My Mac On

52 macs in 52 weeks

January 20, 2021

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Week 46: Daryl’s Smoked Cheddar Mac

Yes, there are several weeks missing. Yes, I plan to make up for them. Turns out getting COVID 10 days before Christmas puts a big crimp in a person’s motivation to cook, or to get caught up with blog posts after the fact.

With only six weeks to go until the end of this project (!!!) I decided picking up where I should be might be more of an incentive to get back on track than constantly working from behind. I do still plan to insert some catch-up posts along the way, so that the end result will still be 52 types of mac & cheese, even if the schedule got kind of hosed.

ANYHOODLE – every Christmas my dad makes smoked cheddar and beef jerky and wraps them up for our stockings. Last week I brought both packages to work with me – I had just tossed them in my lunch bag and my co-workers were a little confused as to why I was unwrapping presents to make my lunch that day! 😂

And because of this mac & cheese project, I scored a couple extra blocks of cheese and I’m finally putting them to use!

Daryl’s Smoked Cheddar Mac


  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 5-6 ounces of my dad’s smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (see notes 1 & 2)
  • Salt


  • Bring a pan of water to a boil, add salt, then add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and rinse, set aside.
  • Warm the milk over low heat until just on the edge of bubbling, but do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  • Melt butter over medium-low heat, then stir in flour and whisk continually for 2-3 minutes.
  • Slowly add the warmed milk, stirring constantly; cook for 3-4 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  • Stir in ½-1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Remove 1 cup of the white sauce and reserve for future use. (see note 3)
  • Add the cheese and stir until fully melted.
  • Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta and stir until fully coated.


Yum! Since I haven’t made mac and cheese the last several weeks, I haven’t eaten mac and cheese the last several weeks – this is a great way to remind my taste buds what they’ve been missing. I thought about adding a few drops of Liquid Smoke to really ramp up the smoky flavor, but it wasn’t necessary.


  1. OK, this may be hard to obtain for people who are not my siblings, so 5-6 ounces of someone’s smoked cheddar, just know it’s way better when done in small batches at home than buying some mass-produced version.
  2. Typically, about 4 ounces of shredded cheese equals two cups, but I wanted to be sure that it would be really cheesy, so I used a little extra. Plus I shredded it with my superfine microplane, which creates more volume, so again I wanted to make sure I was getting a full 2 cups’ worth.
  3. I forget to scoop out some of the white sauce about half the time, which results in a much less cheesy flavor as well as being way too much sauce for the amount of cooked pasta. It’s useful when re-heating (instead of adding milk) to keep the mac creamier, but I do suggest also adding in more cheese. You can’t go wrong with more cheese! (Unless you’re lactose intolerant, but if that’s the case, I don’t think this blog is for you.)

Posted January 19, 2021

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