Wednesday, May 4, 2011

{ Mac & Cheese - As Easy As If It Were From A Box }

If you are still making mac and cheese from a box, please stop. If you're making Annie's or another organic brand you're probably paying too much and if you're making Kraft or a store brand box mac and cheese you are feeding yourself and your family a bunch of artificial stuff that they don't need (please read the ingredient label if you have one of these boxes, I'm really not being hyperbolical).

Now if you make it from a box you're saying, but it's so quick and easy. Well so is my recipe! I make it at least every couple of days, if not more often, for my girls. It uses five staple ingredients that you probably have around your house most of the time and it only takes as long to cook as the noodles do. So here we go!

1 c noodles (elbows, spirals, shells, etc.)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 c milk
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
peas (optional)

1) Bring water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions.

2) Once your noodles are cooking, start your cheese sauce. Heat a small saucepan on medium low and melt the butter. Stir in the flour to make a paste, once the flour and butter are combined stir in the milk until there are no lumps in the mixture.

Continue to stir frequently so that the roux (that's what the combination of butter, milk and flour is called) does not burn to the bottom of the pan. Watch it thicken. If it's too thick for your taste add a touch more milk, but not too much because too much milk will make your sauce curdle-y. 

3) When your roux is thickened turn the heat to low and add your cheese to taste, you may not need the full cup. Your cheese sauce is complete! If you want to add peas, throw them in the cheese sauce now to heat them up.

4) Drain and rinse the noodles.

5) Mix the noodles with the cheese sauce and voila!

As always, this recipe when written out seems more complicated than it is. Once the water for the noodles is boiling, the mac and cheese really only takes 8-10 minutes to cook. I typically round up all of my ingredients while I'm waiting for the water to boil because the cheese sauce goes together quickly when you get going.

Another thing that I find funny about this recipe is that my mom made this for me my whole life, but she made it with Velveeta - don't judge, she's from the midwest. Since I try not to eat Velveeta except on special occasions (can you say queso dip?- some bad habits die hard), I didn't really make this mac and cheese as an adult. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Phoebe that realized that I could replace the Velveeta with cheddar. I always loved this mac and cheese as a kid and now my little cheesy monsters love it too!

I love having this simple, quick and yummy mac and cheese recipe for my family, I hope that you do too! Oh, and good luck not eating too much of it yourself.

1 comment:

Off The Cuff Cooking said...

I love Mac & Cheese-- I have one on my blog, too, and it's apparently one of the most popular recipes on my site, according to my statistics- meter. Keep an eye on your stats. I'll be curious if this ends up being your top hit. Oh, and it's spelled ROUX-- I made the same mistake for years, until I realized it was French. ;)

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