Recipes and Tips for Healthier Living and Smarter Budgeting

Friday, February 14, 2014

Homemade Stovetop Mac & Cheese

One of my daughters recently requested macaroni and cheese for her birthday dinner (can you tell she just turned six?), which gave me the opportunity to make this again and take an updated picture to re-post this yummy recipe.

Original post March 2013:
So far, any homemade macaroni and cheese I've made for my kids they haven't been too fond of, so Annie's Mac & Cheese always wins the rating. But I am hopeful that someday they will recognize how much better the homemade version is.

So I went looking--again--for a homemade recipe and I found one on thekitchn that is the closest I ever come to recreating boxed macaroni (although, I think it tastes better). I will definitely be making it again! It didn't turn out nearly as pretty as the pics on the original website (probably mostly because I used whole wheat pasta) but it tasted great! And it's actually simpler than other recipes I've tried. Please check out the above link and get inspired.

Homemade Stovetop Mac & Cheese

1 pound pasta, any shape (I used whole wheat pasta)
1 1/2 c. whole or 2% milk
2 Tb. flour (I used whole wheat flour)
2-3 c. shredded cheese--like cheddar, monterey jack, or colby
1/2 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
1/4 tsp. powdered mustard
Optional extras (cook before adding): Ham, bacon, onions, peas, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower
Boil pasta until cooked. Drain and set aside.

Begin warming 1 c. of the milk in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together remaining 1/2 c. of milk and flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see tendrils of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.

Turn heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into milk. Stir in salt and mustard. Stir until all cheese has melted and sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Remove sauce from heat.

In a large serving bowl, combine pasta and half of cheese sauce. Stir to coat pasta evenly. Add second half of sauce and any extra add-ins.

Serving and Storing Leftovers: Serve the mac and cheese immediately while still warm. Leftovers will keep for up to a week and can be reheated in the microwave. If the sauce is a little dry after re-heating, mix in a splash of milk to make it creamy again.

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