Sunday, April 21, 2013

Homemade Mac and Cheese

It isn't just toddlers that love mac and cheese. I kind of wonder who eats more Easy Macs - children or adults. That is because it is delicious. They are so easy too. You kind of shut down the part of your brain that is saying "That's definitely too orange to be natural" or "powdered cheese - hey they FDA approves it!". Well, I did that for a while too. Homemade macaroni and cheese is a project. It involves ingredients and boiling and all that. Well, I am here to tell you that while it may seem daunting, it is not that hard at all! It takes 15 minutes and you can actually feel good about giving your toddler a nutritious meal. Make it with whole grain pasta and you are even better off. 

I always start by boiling the water for the pasta and cooking it. The sauce doesn't take nearly as long as as pasta!

Then I make a roux. Unfortunately, you can't just add cheese to pasta and have it come out a nice creamy mac and cheese. You have to have a sauce base. Its easy though! Just melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, and then add a tablespoon of flour. Whisk it together for just a minute. If I had more time, or was making this for dinner or guests, I'd saute some diced onion in that butter. Then add in about a cup of milk. It will start to thicken as it heats. If the sauce looks too thick, add more milk. Some salt too for flavor. 



 Then you add in whatever cheese you want. I traditionally use cheddar. About a cup.



 Then you add your cooked pasta - you can strain it with a slotted spoon and put it right into the cheese sauce .That's it! You can add peas or other veggies, but I know my boy wouldn't touch it then. Peas on the side in this house.

Lunch time!

2-serving Mac and Cheese

4 oz or about 1/2 cup small pasta
1 T butter
1 T flour
1 cup milk* plus extra for thinning sauce
1 cup shredded cheese
salt to taste

Cook pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan and then add in the flour and whisk together for just a minute. Add in the milk and whisk until thickened. Then add in the cheese and stir until melted in. Add in your pasta and seasonings and serve. 

I use whole milk because that is what we use in our house. We use raw if we can get it - the less processed the better. 

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