Once potlucks are again the norm, this is the recipe to grab.
And don’t expect to bring any leftovers home.
Sandy Aspacher spent five years developing this macaroni and cheese recipe. That was 15 years ago.
“The kids all like mac and cheese, and I kept playing with it. And eventually I came up with a combination that everybody seemed to like.”
It has been a friends’ and family favorite ever since.
The four cheeses in the dish make it ooey and gooey and oh so good.
“It’s quick and easy to make. It doesn’t dirty a ton of dishes.”
When daughter Jen, who lives in Cincinnati, asked for the recipe, Aspacher made a batch and finally wrote down the portions.
She has since shared it with friends and relatives, some up in Canada. Family jokingly say it has gone viral.
This isn’t a winter dish: Aspacher takes it to potlucks and barbecues.
“It is a go-to potluck dish. It goes a long way. Everybody likes it. The kids love it. You can’t go wrong with mac and cheese.”
“I love it,” said husband Tony. “Leave me a little bit, will you?”
While mom was a good cook, Aspacher and her sister weren’t much involved with cooking at home.
She and Tony were married very young, she said, and she learned how to cook from her mother-in-law, Mary Louise Aspacher.
“No one thought it would last, and here we are 62 years later.”
All four of the Aspacher children and their spouses are good cooks, she said.
The divinity salad featured by daughter-in-law Toni Aspacher in a 2015 Cook’s Corner was something her mother-in-law used to make, she said.
“I’ve learned a lot. But I really got into cooking. I love to cook, but I also love to bake.”
As far as picking one over the other, “they’re both satisfying,” Aspacher said.
Tony is so easy to please, and she said she likes cooking for him and her family. Aspacher used to cook Sunday dinners with roast, mashed potatoes, noodles, corn, rolls and dessert.
She also likes to make pies and one day a granddaughter came over wanting a pie crust lesson.
Her rolling pin was a wedding gift – circa 1958 – and she still uses it.
Aspacher is a Bowling Green High School graduate – maiden name Crawford – settling down in the city after traveling the U.S. with her family.
Before retiring, she used to hang wallpaper and lead wallpaper clinics. She installed the map of the world inside Grounds for Thought 25 years ago, and she also papered Dunn Funeral Home years ago.
Son Steve lives in Chicago, daughter Catherine also is in Cincinnati and son Mike lives in Bowling Green and is serving as mayor.
All eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren also love the mac and cheese recipe and call it “Mimi’s Mac and Cheese.”
Aspacher said she had a tough time deciding on what recipe to make: beef barbecue was in the running, as were sugar cookies and chicken tetrazzini, a recipe she found years ago and played with.
She has a cupboard filled of cookbooks (and more in the garage) as well as two accordion folders with recipes stashed away in a kitchen drawer. Still, Aspacher said she gets most of her inspiration from magazines.
The Oatmeal Bars also came from her mother-in-law.
“Where it came from before her, I don’t know.”
Made with white and brown sugar, and flour and margarine added to the quick-cook oats, this is a quick dessert to take along with the macaroni and cheese to potlucks.
When cooking, Aspacher said she will tinker with a recipe, but not while baking.
“Cooking is more forgiving.”
She has made up recipes – her chicken and asparagus with penne pasta in Alfredo sauce also was a possibility for this feature.
Aspacher said she likes to try new things, and said she tried new recipes while stuck with the “stay at home order” earlier this spring.
“She’s an excellent cook and baker,” Tony said. “She just does it all.”
When you like doing something, it isn’t work, Aspacher said.
Mimi’s Mac & Cheese
4 cups elbow macaroni
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces colby jack cheese
4 one-quarter-inch thick slices Velveeta cheese, cubed
3-4 American cheese slices
In well-salted water, cook the pasta until just done, about 9 1/2 minutes. Drain but do not rinse.
Pour milk into pasta pot and set on burner to warm (turn off the burner).
Put 3 tablespoons butter in a large mixing bowl and pour in pasta. Sprinkle with flour and toss to mix. Add 1 1/2 cups of each shredded cheese and half of the milk and mix. Add the cubed Velveeta and more milk and mix again. Add milk until mixture is juicy and mix well.
Butter a 9x13 glass baking dish and dot bottom with 1 tablespoon butter. Pour in pasta and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and top with the American cheese slices torn into strips.
Cover loosely with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes until bubbly and slightly brown.
2 sticks margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup quick cook Quaker oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cream margarine/butter and sugars. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients.
Lightly grease a 9x13 dish. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 for 35 minutes (325 for a dark pan).
1/2 stick margarine or butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons milk
dash of salt
3 cups powdered sugar (approximate)
Mix all ingredients and then beat in powdered sugar to desired consistency.