Yesterday was one of those days when everyone I knew needed a hug, a nap and a bathtub full of macaroni and cheese.

The kind that comes from the Blue Box and doesn’t demand gourmet cheeses or a roux or panko.

The kind that’s orange.

I was about to give in and buy a box when I remembered Alton Brown’s recipe for Stovetop Mac-n-Cheese. A rich, creamy, intensely cheesy mac-and-cheese that barely takes longer than the powdered stuff – and you can identify everything in it. Bonus!

First, you whisk together some eggs, evaporated milk, hot sauce (totally optional), salt, pepper and ground mustard (again, optional). Then, you boil your pasta, stir in a few tablespoons of butter, pour in the egg mixture, and add the cheese. After three minutes over low heat, it’s ready to eat.

That’s it.

If you’d like to amp up the nutrition, feel free to add leftover chicken, ham, broccoli or peas.

Or rock the bacon.

Your choice.

It’s like a hug in a bowl, reminding you that tomorrow will be better.

Now, get that nap.

Stovetop Mac-n-Cheese

Adapted from Alton Brown (via FoodNetwork.com)

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
  • 10 ounces cheddar, shredded (can be replaced with your choice of cheese or cheeses)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper and ground mustard (if using). Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add two pinches of salt to the water, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, and put it back in the pot, keeping it off the heat.

  3. Add the butter. Toss until the butter has melted.

  4. Stir in the egg mixture, and add the cheese.
  5. Place the pot back on the stove over low heat, and stir the pasta for 3 minutes or until creamy.