Simple Homemade Mac and Cheese

Simple Homemade Mac and Cheese

Weeknight Macaroni & Cheese


I make two versions of mac and cheese (neither of which come from a blue box, although my daughter swears that’s her favorite, sigh). One version is a true baked mac and cheese with a buttered breadcrumb topping. It’s very good, but it’s an hour in the oven alone and most night there simply isn’t time for that. So instead I fall back on my old favorite stove top version. This recipe comes together in about 20 minutes. You can adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding more cheese if you want to (I generally make a thinner sauce). You can adjust the calories by using skim milk, although let’s face it, it’s still mac and cheese and it will taste nearly identical.

Kid Friendly Tasks

Turn off the stove, put your child high up on a step stool and let them add the cheese shreds to the pot.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Box Pasta Noodles any shape
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • ¼ c. Flour
  • 2 c. Milk (I use a combo of skim and whole)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Pepper
  • 1 c Cheese- shredded & mixed (I use ½ very sharp cheddar; ¼ mozzarella & ¼ parmesan)

Directions

  1. Start the water heating and then cook the pasta per the package directions.
  2. Heat milk in the microwave for two minutes. Choose a container to heat in with a pouring spout to make your life easier. I use a glass measuring cup.
  3. Over medium heat combine butter and flour. Stir constantly and you will get a buttery paste once the butter melts completely. Stir for one minute and then add a slow steady thin stream of warm milk (This is why you wanted that pour spout). Stir constantly and add slowly or your white sauce, which is what we’re making, will be lumpy. I’d guestimate that mine is lumpy about half the time because I go too fast or add too much milk at once. This isn’t a crisis, just keep stirring and adding until it’s all in there. Then smash the lumps with a fork. There will still be small pieces of the flour/butter mix, but you won’t really notice when you eat the final product. It’s just supposed to be dinner after all, not perfection on a plate.
  4. Turn the temperature down to low and cook the sauce for about ten minutes until it thickens. Stir it regularly or it will stick to the bottom of the pot and will be a pain in the neck to clean up. While it’s thickening add the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  5. Once the sauce is thick, slowly add the shredded cheese on top, stirring as you go. I use the mix listed above, but it doesn’t matter all that much. Use what you have on hand. It will taste more traditional if at least one of the cheeses is cheddar. I tend to buy my cheese in blocks because it stays fresher longer so I just make thin slices of cheese and add those. Otherwise, pre-shredded cheese is perfect for this recipe, but it’s not worth dirtying the box grater.
  6. Taste your cheese sauce and if you like it thicker/cheesier keep adding cheese.
  7. Mix with pasta and serve. We like to mix in thawed, warmed previously frozen peas with this recipe, both because it tastes good and because it gets a vegetable in there.

Mac and Cheese

Simple Homemade Mac and Cheese

 

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