Set oven to 325 degrees. Once the oven comes to temp, slice off a 1" cube of butter and put it in 9x13 glass baking pan. Melt it in the oven.
When melted, our over you 15 crushed crackers on wax paper. Mix with 1 cup of your cheese mixture.
While oven is warming up, bring the elbow macaroni to a boil in water with three tablespoons of dried onion flakes.
When the noodles get done, strain them, but DO NOT get rid of the onion flakes left on the strainer. Use a spatula to move all of the noodles and remaining onions into your glass baking pan.
Take the remainder of your butter and melt it in a large pasta pot. Slowly add flour 1 TBLS at a time until it forms a paste. Make sure not to burn. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Will thicken.
At this point, add the remaining cheese. Slowly add cheese, stirring constantly.
By mixing the cheese in slowly, you will gradually make a thick cheese sauce rather than a milk sauce with cheese.
Slow. Slow. Slow.
See how the sauce starts to thicken?
Finally, a THICK cheese sauce.
Look at the golden color that starts to develop.
Thick, gooey cheese sauce.
And, we have sauce.
Pour the golden, cheesy sauce over the elbow macaroni.
If the cheese it thick enough, it oozes over the pan.
Cover all areas of the pan in cheese.
See how the cheese fills every nook and cranny of the pan?
And we haven't even cooked it yet!
Sprinkle your butter-drenched crackers with cheese mixture on top of the macaroni and cheese.
Cover every square inch of the pan.
The topping forms a crust over the top of the pan.
When done, put in over for 35 minutes if you intend to reheat the pan the next day. Cook for 45 minutes if you intend to eat it the same day. When done, the cheese cooks to a golden brown crust.
At my inlaws, so I had to use a metal cake pan. Look at the golden crust that forms while baking.
On the plate and ready to eat. Yummy.
This tastes even better the second time. Just warm it up for lunch the next day in a saucepan, adding a little milk.