There are so many different variations of Macaroni and Cheese recipes online that you could spend every Sunday for the rest of your life making a different one and never run out of new things to try.

Most of us are used to a more familiar mac and cheese that is creamy, orange and cooked on the stove top. Usually out of a box, with liquid packet cheese. This one is different.

This southern baked macaroni and cheese is a family-favorite recipe that has been tweaked and fiddled with so many times that there’s no one real creator of it. Every cook in the family can lay claim to a change here or a substitution there that made it taste just right. Usually we give credit to Granny, as we do for most things.

I’d like to thank her and everyone else whose hearts went into coming up with this one — I’ve never found a better mac and cheese recipe.

Imagine southern food at its finest: hearty, flavorful, with lots of delicious texture and ooey-gooey cheese. And the best part? It’s good in the refrigerator for up to three days. All you have to do is reheat it in the oven, baking it as instructed in the original recipe.

Want to bake your own? Here’s what you need:

1 (8-ounce) package elbow noodles, cooked and drained

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 can cream of chicken soup + 1 can of water (use can to measure)

1/4 cup onion, chopped

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

3/4 cup pimento pepper, chopped

1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crumbled

4 tablespoons melted butter

Here’s how you make it:

Preheat oven to 350º F. Then, mix the cooked noodles, cheese, cream of chicken soup, water, onion, mayonnaise, and pimentos together in a large bowl.

Spread the mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix a sleeve of Ritz Crackers and melted butter until thoroughly blended. Sprinkle crackers on top of casserole.

Bake the macaroni and cheese at 350º F degrees until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Kelcey Caulder is a reporter for the Calhoun Times. She was born in North Carolina and raised in Georgia. After spending the last three years in Los Angeles, she’s pretty stoked to be back in the South, where the food is good and the people are friendly. You can email her at KCaulder@CalhounTimes.com.

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