Homemade Mac and Cheese
First of all, I just wanted to say welcome to all you random strangers who have recently started following my blog! I am very flattered that you think my recipes are tasty-looking enough or my stories interesting enough to take the time to read this!
Recently we had a group of four older fishermen as neighbours for a few days, and we chatted with them a bit, and lent them our can-opener. So when they left they gave us their leftover milk, bread, and cereal. (A few days later another group of guests also gave us milk and juice.) Our food expenses are covered but there’s no need to waste perfectly good food. (Do we come across as poor and needy? Perhaps… or just resourceful? We are always on the prowl for empty cans and bottles to recycle and cash in on… more about that little project soon!)
Leafing through my cookbook, thinking about ways to use up milk, I came across a macaroni and cheese recipe that I’ve never used. I used to love Kraft Dinner (which I don’t buy anymore) but I never liked the homemade version. As a camp counselor for two summers during university I had to eat too-pasty mac and cheese on a weekly basis . But I decided to give making it myself a try. And it was very good, or I wouldn’t be sharing it here. I went back for seconds and thirds. ;) I especially like the crumb topping.
Of course, this isn’t nearly as fast as packaged mac and cheese. It’s not the type of thing you can quickly whip up for lunch after the kids start whining that they are hungry. But it is a nice rainy day thing to make when you feel like cooking for the fun of cooking.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
(serves 6, adapted from Thrifty Foods)
2 cups elbow macaroni (I used regular as that is what we had, but whole wheat was called for in the original recipe)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 piece whole wheat toast, crumbled
Cook macaroni according to package directions. While the macaroni is cooking, grease an 8″-square pan. Heat milk to just below a simmer in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. Over medium heat melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Mix in the flour until well combined and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Very slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the milk; the mixture will be quite thick. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring frequently so it does not scorch on the bottom, and then remove from the heat. (While sauce is heating, preheat the oven to 350°F.) Season sauce with salt and pepper and then slowly stir in 1 cup cheddar.
Once macaroni is cooked, drain and return to cooking pot. Pour in sauce and mix to coat. Transfer the macaroni into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses and bread crumbs. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is light golden and the sauce bubbling.
For what food do you prefer the store-bought version to homemade?
Or for what do you prefer the homemade version to store-bought?