This mac and cheese recipe was inspired by my great grandmother, Mildred, who passed away last week, two months shy of her 95th birthday.
My Mamma (pronounced mah-maw and spelled differently amongst her grandkids) was very special to me. I was lucky to be raised by two parents, four grandparents and two great grandmothers. I also had a great grandmother and great grandfather who lived further away, but I was fortunate enough to visit with them several times throughout my childhood. I was an only child but I never felt alone, as there was always someone willing to spend time taste-testing my mud pies or watching me pretend to be a cat.
Even after my Mamma moved to a farm 130 miles away, we stayed in close contact by writing letters to one another.
We wrote letters back and forth from the time I was around 11 years old, to just a few months ago.
On the plane back to NYC after her funeral this past Tuesday, I was staring out the window at the stars, trying to think of a dish that I could make in her memory. Mamma Mildred loved sweets and she loved southern cooking. As a child, I couldn’t get enough of her baked macaroni and cheese. It was always so creamy, baked to a perfect crisp on top and oozing with goodness underneath. In my early 20s, when I was still vegetarian, I wrote and asked Mamma for her recipe. She agreed that she would give it to me the next time she saw me and, a few months later at Thanksgiving, she gave me a recipe book. When I opened the book I noticed that the pages were all blank and, I’m ashamed to say, my first thought was that in her old age, she had forgotten what I asked for and thought that I wanted a new recipe book instead. And then a piece of paper fell out, a recipe torn from the back of a Velveeta box. The “secret” baked mac and cheese recipe that she had kept to herself for all those years.
I’m going to miss her so much.
- 8 ounces whole wheat macaroni, uncooked
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
- 3 cups plain soy milk
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 3 1/2 cups Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
- 1 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
- 1 cup dry vegan biscuit mix*
*I used Bisquick for this recipe to save on time. For a vegan biscuit mix recipe, try this recipe using vegan shortening.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then get started making some “buttermilk.”
Pour 2 1/2 cups of the plain soy milk into a small bowl and stir in the distilled white vinegar. Set the bowl aside and allow the milk to transform while you get to work on the macaroni.
Boil the macaroni for 2 minutes less than the package directions state. Remove from heat, drain the pasta, then stir in 2 tablespoons of the Earth Balance and set aside.
Place the remaining Earth Balance, 2 cups of the “buttermilk” and 1/2 cup plain soy milk in a medium-sized pot over low-medium heat. Stir until the Earth Balance melts.
Mix in the all-purpose flour, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and stir in 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and the ground cayenne pepper.
Continue stirring while the mixture thickens (roughly five minutes) and then remove from heat. Stir in 3 cups of Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds and the Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds.
Once the cheese starts to melt, stir in the pasta.
Pour the mixture into a greased (I used Earth Balance to cover mine) 9×13″ pan.
In a small bowl, stir together the dry biscuit mix, remaining 1/2 cup of “buttermilk,” the remaining 1/2 cup of Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds and the last of the garlic powder.
Drop spoonfuls evenly across the top of the macaroni
and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top begins to brown.
Share it with the ones you love.