Slow-Baked Macaroni

Monday 8 June 2020

I have long held a great fascination for the horse and buggy people of North America.  Amish, Old Mennonite, New Mennonite, etc.  

Their way of life appears to me to be like a beacon of gentleness and peace in the disturbed landscape of today's modern world.  Amish people are not as modern as the Mennonites.  

They eschew anything modern, the Mennonites are a bit more progressive, but their way of life is still a lot gentler and more serene in many ways than our own.

I was instantly drawn to this recent cookbook written by Hope Helmuth of Hopeful Things.  

I've only just recently discovered her on Instagram and when I realised she had written a cookery book, 

I just had to have it to add to my much beloved collection of Amish and Mennonite Cookery Books.

This is a love that began when I was a much younger woman and mother, bringing up my own family. 

I collected the Food that Schmecks series written by Edna Staebler who lived in the Ontario Mennonite communities of South Western, Ontario, Canada in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

They are simple books, filled with simple recipes, each one sounding quite delectable as the other.

I confess I have come to love many of them through the years as has my family.  Sour Cream Apple Pie is one recipe which we  really love.

Another series of books I have really loved is the Cooking From Quilt Country books based on the television show of the same name, by Marsha Adams.  

I love these books so much that, although I had to leave my first copies back in Canada when I moved over here to the UK, I bought myself new copies to have here when I could.

I also have several books by Lovinia Eicher and her mother.  Plus several Amish/Mennonite community cookbooks.  

Yes, their way of cooking and life are one of my great loves.

When I lived in South Western Ontario, in  Georgetown, we would sometimes take ourselves to a very popular Mennonite restaurant in Saint Jacob called Anna Maes Bakery and Restaurant. Eating there was always a real treat.  

I never ever had a bad eating experience there and even my mother loved to go there with us when she was visiting.

I have been devouring Hope's new book. I think it is just lovely. 

It is filled with more than 150 delectably delicious sounding recipes, with beautiful photographs of each one. I do so love a cookery book with photos.

It is also a wonderful glimpse into the life of this sweet young woman and her family.  She seems like someone you wouldn't mind having as a friend, and indeed I am quite sure she would always welcome you at her table.  

The recipes in the book are nothing fancy.  They are simple and very traditional.

The kind of recipes that speak to our hearts of home and hearth and family and God.

I am ever so happy that I bought it and I have already ear-marked a few recipes to try. The Potato Nest Skillet is calling my name ever so gently as is the Old Fashioned Country Ham Pot Pie and the Cobbler Cake looks to die for.

This recipe for Slow-Baked Macaroni really intrigued me.  A slow baked macaroni and cheese.  Everything gets stirred together and baked in a covered casserole dish for a period of 3 hours in a very low oven.  

When I told my daughter about it, she said, ohhh, that's too long to cook macaroni, and yes one might think that it was, but it works. 

 I wasn't so sure about it myself when I first took it out of the oven and then spooned it out, but here I am a week later . . .  still thinking about it.

This is pure comfort . . .  nursery food . . . not at all what you would expect from a casserole of macaroni and cheese. 

No, the macaroni is not al dente . . . I have decided that al dente can sometimes be over-rated.  

This is pure and simple, soft and oh-so-rich . . . as comforting as a mother's warm hug.

Not quite what I expected, but I have fallen in love with it.  Do use full fat cheeses, that you grate yourself and full fat milk. 

This is not the time to count the calories. I used an artisanal strong cheddar. She uses a mix of Gouda and Cheddar  . . . which would be extra ooey-gooey. 

Slow-Baked Macaroni

Slow-Baked Macaroni

Yield: 6
Old fashioned and comforting. Not your traditional mac and cheese. This reminds me of nursery food.  Its delicious.


  • 235g elbow macaroni, uncooked (2 cups)
  • 2 TBS melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 245g grated strong cheddar cheese (2 cups)
  • 1 litre of whole milk (4 1/2 cups)


  1. Preheat the oven to 115*C/235*F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.  Add the macaroni,  melted butter and salt to the dish.  Stir to coat well.  Add the cheese and stir it all together again until thoroughly combined. Pour the milk over top.  Cover tightly with a double sheet of aluminium foil. 
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours. Uncover and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes until golden.  
  3. Serve warm as a delicious side dish.
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I cannot recommend this cook book enough. It is a pure delight.  I have fallen in love with it and with Hope's blog. This is a sweet, sweet woman with a sweet, sweet family.  If you are not already aware of her, it is time that you were. it is just what we all need in these strange and turbulent times we are living in. 

Slow-Baked Macaroni 
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  1. Hi Marie, I love, love macaroni and cheese. This one looks delicious and rather easy to make. That slow oven does all the work. I have Edna Staebler's cook books too. I was born in Kitchener/Waterloo and I was 3 years old when we moved to Toronto. We have often gone to St. Jacobs to the antique mall and the farmer's market. It's a beautiful outing, especially in the fall. When my parents retired in the 70s they purchased a farm outside of Mount Forest Ontario - Mennonite country. On the day of my mom's funeral, a lovely, kind Mennonite neighbour brought over dinner for us - a delicious soup and fresh-baked bread and cinnamon buns still warm from the oven. I will never forget her kindness. We are still friends. You're right about a cookbook needing pictures. Well, bedtime for me. Tomorrow is another day and this recipe might well be just the ticket for dinner. Hugs and love, Elaine

    1. I love the Kitchener/Waterloo area Elaine. Do you remember Canadian Bandstand? It was filmed there as was Romperroom! I love the shops in St Jacobs, especially the quilt and fabric shops. What a lovely memory of a kindness from a neighbor on the day of your mum's funeral. I am happy that you are still friends. I am sure you will like this recipe. Its deliciously different. xoxo

  2. Oh, yes, the quilts were beautiful. My mom was a quilter. She made each of her children and grandchildren a quilt. She and a friend were quilting in the livingroom when a fire broke out at the rear of the house. In order to save the quilt, one of the neighbours broke the quilting frame in half so they could get it through the door. The house was gutted but thank God, no one was hurt. It took six months to rebuild the house and make it the beautiful home it used to be. The fire was a nightmare I would never want to experience again. The community rallied around and gave mom and dad a "shower" to help replace some of the items they had lost. That was 37 years ago now and I still don't like to think about it. Well, time for breakfast. Hugs and love, Elaine

    1. Oh what a treasure. I am sure you still have yours. My mom did not quilt, but she embroidered and knit. I have a tea towel she embroidered and a pair of mittens that she made me as well as some knitted towel hangers. I treasure them. How frightening that must have been. Fire scares me to death! I am glad that nobody was hurt! It is a wonderful thing the way some communities rally around to help out when such a thing happens. I dread to think what would happen if Todd and I had a fire. We have no insurance. There just isn't the money in a basic state pension to pay for household insurance. I just keep my fingers crossed and pray all will be well! Love and hugs and I hope you enjoy your breakfast! xoxo

  3. I will halve this and try..I can see a few garlic breadcrumbs on top at the very I am sure it is perfect as is though and a chipotle paprika? Lolol

    1. Oh, that sounds the perfect addition Monique. Be aware that this is not like a normal mac and cheese, the pasta is well cooked, creamy, but incredibly delicious. Mmm...garlic bread crumbs . . . smoked paprika. YUM!!! xoxo

  4. Your post is very beautiful, the content written in it is very good, if you ever get a chance to learn anything in life, you should not leave and I am getting a lot of inspiration from this post.

  5. You had me at macaroni...and cheese LOL. I am a mac n' cheese addict! I actually have a cookbook of JUST mac n' cheese recipes.....but this slow bake version is a new one on me. Certainly is one of the easiest I've come across. In this week's menu! Have a good week Marie! ~Robin~

    1. Oh boy, I bet that's an incredibly tasty book Robin! I adore mac and cheese! You have a good week also. xoxo

  6. Wonder how this would work in a crockpot?

    1. I wouldn't like to hazard a guess. I think I would find a recipe that has actually been written to work in a crockpot. xoxo

    2. I may try it and let you know. Searched for temp for slowcookers and found 200 degrees for low and 300 for high. It sure would keep kitchen cooler than 3 hours in oven. PS have missed you on FB? Dot

    3. Hi Dot! I am still on facebook, writing on the Home Chef World page. Every time I post a recipe on the EK page it gets marked as Spam for some reason. I know now why. It is annoying and a huge waste of my time. Sorry for that! I will be interested in seeing how this turns out in a slow cooker! xoxo

  7. Hi Marie. I am born and raised in Kitchener, and still live here. I am familiar with all the above mentioned places, St. Jacobs and the Farmer's Market, etc. I too have Food that Really Schmecks, and am lucky enough to have a signed copy. As a teen I worked at the Coles Bookstore in Fairview Mall and we had Edna Staebler in one Saturday for a book signing shortly after the book came out. I was one of the first in line to get my copy signed! She was a lovely lady. Thanks for all the great recipes!

    1. What a wonderful experience to get to meet her in person and get a signed copy of her book Wendy! I can remember watching Canadian Bandstand on the television when I was a teen. I believe that was also from the Kitchener Waterloo area as well! Thank you for your lovely comment! xo

  8. Save your cheese! This recipe is not worthy! Fortunately I took another's viewers advise and made only 1/2 in a 8x8 pan. You can't even taste the cheese. It tastes like boiled macaroni. It will go in the trash it's that bad. (I would not even feed it to the dog!)

    1. Sorry you had a bad experience with this. Its possible you used the wrong cheese. I specified strong cheddar which means extra old. It would be impossible not to taste the cheese.

  9. Make certain to use proper size dish as listed. For Easter with destination oven space at a premium, I used a deep oval glass casserole, plus a not-getting-on-well with me new convection oven (I’m on my fourth brand) and this did not work out. First it’s likely 2/3 the fault of the range not getting to proper temp, I question the 235 degrees. In convection you can’t do the 25 degree lower temp and whack off 1/3 of the baking time, unless you are up around 325+ degrees, so I did as recipe said. The other 1/3 of problem was using a very deep baking dish. After 2.5 hours it was still too soupy to transport, so I gave it another 1/2 hr. & no improvement. I then cranked up to 450 for the last 20 minutes which helped immensely. Transporting in my insulated box gave it another 30 minutes of simulated baking time, so when we arrived it was better, but noodles were Al dente & sauce breaking down from that too high temp on the milk. Tasted fine. I used what we on this side of the pond call extra sharp white Cheddar by Tillamook, Barilla pasta & local dairy whole milk. Everyone was pleasant about remarks, even before I shared my baking ordeal. If I do this again, will try at our primary home where my Viking range never fails me. American brands appliances to buy for modest prices are a real crap shoot!


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