Thursday, March 14, 2013

Never Feed Your Kids Processed Mac and Cheese Again!

We rarely make boxed mac and cheese at our house...but Burrito loves it.  In fact, she makes a habit of ordering boring, cardboardy Kraft Mac and Cheese when we go out to eat.  In recent months, however, I have discovered how stinkin' easy it is to make homemade, stove-top mac and cheese...and that Burrito loves it just as much--or possibly even more--than the box stuff.

Better yet, I pretty much always have the simple ingredients that are needed to make this tasty pasta.

You are not going to believe how easy it is.

For the pasta:
Approximately 8 dry oz. of noodles--elbows or twisty pastas recommended

For the sauce:
2 TBS butter
2 TBS all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (skim is fine) or half and half
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (if desired)
2 cups (or more, to taste) of shredded cheese (preferably a blend that includes cheddar)

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan.  Whisk flour together with butter to form a roux (a thickening agent).  Then (before roux burns or overly browns), begin to add milk or half and half slowly, a half cup at a time.  Continue whisking during this process.  Each time the milky mixture begins to thicken and almost boil, it's time to add the next bit of milk or half and half.  Once all the milk has been added, whisk in your salt, pepper, and Dijon.  Finally, remove from heat and add in your cheese, a half cup at a time, continuing to whisk until smooth.  You can add more cheese if you would like, too.  You can also add a cup of cooked veggies (peas or broccoli would work especially well); this is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies.

Toss sauce with pasta.

Voila!  You're done!  Try it and see if your kids don't go ga-ga for it!

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