Lila’s Macaroni and Cheese

My grandmother, Lila, is one of those old school cooks. She’s from that generation where they made due with what they had and learned how to squeeze rich, flavorful foods out of every possible part of the garden haul. (Proof of this is the fact that the only reason I love cabbage is thanks to her.  She’s found ways to make the lowly cabbage plant blossom into delicious dishes that has elevated the vegetable to my most favorite.)  She’s also of the generation that never wrote a single recipe down.  Her macaroni and cheese is incredible and the most-requested thing she makes and when I originally went to get the recipe from her, the response I got was, “Well, let me think about it for a minute.  Get a pen.”  So now, Mamaw’s recipe is written down.  I make it whenever I can and, since I hosted Thanksgiving dinner here yesterday, I got to make it.  I thought I’d share it here.


  • 1.5 cups of dried macaroni (I use whole wheat pasta)
  • 1 lb. dolby cheese (I have learned that it is impossible to find a brick of Colby cheese in the Pacific Northwest, so I made due with Colby Jack)
  • 1 sleeve of Saltine crackers
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Salt to taste


Cook the pasta until tender and then drain and rinse under cool water.

Transfer pasta to bowl. Take the sleeve of Saltines and smash ’em.  Break those suckers up really well (get some of that holiday stress out) and then add them to the bowl with the pasta.

Cut the cheese into cubes and add to bowl.

20141129_105254Salt to taste and mix everything up.

Butter a casserole dish and transfer mixture to dish.

Pour milk into dish until you can see it through the mixture (there is no specific measurement for this; Mamaw was very particular about that!)

20141129_110305Top with a few small pats of butter.

Place in oven preheated at 350 degrees and bake for approximately an hour.  It is done when the cheese is bubbly and caramelized and the milk has all been absorbed.






2 thoughts on “Lila’s Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Looks yummy. I smiled at your comment about not writing down recipes. My mother is that way. She’s an amazing cook but does everything with a written recipe. Good for you for preserving this one.

    • The old generation didn’t have the recipes written down at all, and the new one all has them stored on their digital devices, so basically, they STILL aren’t written down anywhere!

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