Friday, September 28, 2012

favorite mac n' cheese recipe

I LOVE homemade mac n' cheese.  I love it the first day, and I love it even more as leftovers the next day.  Luckily, my hubby and daughter also love mac n' cheese.  It's easy and quick to make, and if you mix in some meat and vegetables you have a complete meal.  Plus, once you have the white sauce mastered, you can use it in chicken pot pie, as cheese sauce for cauliflower, Alfredo sauce and the list goes one.  So here's the recipe I use:

Yummy Mac n' Cheese 

2 cups uncooked macaroni (or other pasta)
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
10 oz. cheese (I sometimes use a mixture of cheeses but keep at least 50% cheddar)

Cook the pasta.  While it's cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and start your white sauce.  Melt butter in a sauce pan over med-low, then sprinkle flour, salt and pepper and stir until it gets well incorporated and kind of bubbly and shiny.  Might take a couple minutes.  Then remove from heat and pour in your milk slowly while stirring.  (I like to take the chill off my milk in the microwave first so it cooks faster.)   Heat the milk to boiling on med-high, stirring often, then boil one minute while stirring constantly.  It should be thicker and delicious looking at this point.  Then remove from heat and stir in chopped up or shredded cheese and dry mustard.  Stir in drained pasta and any add-ins.  Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the top is bubbly.  The baking in the oven portion isn't necessary if you're really hungry right now, but it allows the pasta to soak up the cheese sauce and the top to get bubbly.  Be warned -- once you try this recipe you won't make boxed mac n' cheese ever again!

Mix it up with:
-different cheeses (pepper jack, mozzarella, feta)
-garlic or onion powder
-cubed or deli ham and broccoli
-other veggies (peas, sauteed bell peppers, spinach, squash)
-chicken, chili powder and salsa
-ground beef, bacon and a jar of diced tomatoes 

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