mac & cheese made ahead
Is it ok to make this the night before and then just warm and brown the next day? Afraid it wont be as creamy...
no, because the noodles will become too soft...that is if you are premixing cheese sauce/noodles.
I think I would only do the bechemal sauce in advance and then keep that in the fridge with some wax paper to cover the surface. Then I would reheat that before you put all your ingredients together the next day.
What kind of mac n cheese are you making?
I disagree. Just made a pan of my usual recipe last night. The noodles will soak up the sauce when you bake it anyway, which will soften them. If you're worried, you could always do the noodles a little more al dente than usual. But I'd say make it ahead. It's a casserole, it's supposed to be easy and resilient.
I agree that you can make ahead, but its a matter of taste. Likewise I make ahead the following pasta dishes, lasagne, shells, ziti, leftover spaghetti and meatballs, etc.
This is my theory: it all has to do with the ratio of sauce to noodle. The noodle continues to absorb the sauce the longer it is in contact with it--like a sponge. That's why, in my opinion, 2nd day mac and cheese is never as creamy as the first day. I've done it two ways--(1)as bitsubeats suggests, separating the components until ready to cook, or, (2) combining it altogether the day before but using extra sauce, or conversely, less pasta. Just so it's really on the soupy side. Cooking the noodles al dente and rinsing them in cold water to stop the cooking really helps to maintain the integrity of the pasta also (a noodle's integrity? guess it's getting late...)
I learned a trick about macaroni salad and it just might work here. I certainly will give it a try the next time I make M & C: When you are finished cooking the pasta, drain, rinse well with cold water THEN pour into a large bowl - cover with ice cubes and cold water. Cover and refrigerate over night. This pulls the starch out and for the salad it will be slippery and not slimy the next day or even into the third day.