A few groans and gasps escaped the kids' lips....but I promised them I would make them a healthier and tastier spaghettio and mac and cheese. I would know what was in it, I would get the satisfaction out of making it myself, and I wouldn't be spending the money on the boxed stuff anymore.
I hopped on the good 'ol google and worked my world wide interweb search skills and found a stove top mac and cheese recipe I thought looked promising. I wanted to be sure what I found would be quick and easy. I have a few yummy homemade mac and cheese recipes, but those are dinner style...not quick and easy lunch style. And I am not a master of the kitchen....so quick and EASY is imperative. I wanted to be sure the kids could still request mac and cheese for lunch and I would still happily make it for them without complaining that it would take forever and force another PBJ at them instead.
This is what I found: http://www.thekitchn.com/weeknight-recipe-easy-homemade-82588
I will post the recipe below, but if you follow this link, it shows some wonderful photos of each step.
Creamy No-Roux Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound pasta, any shape
1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-3 cups shredded cheese, like cheddar, monterey jack, or colby
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
Optional extras (cook before adding): Ham, bacon, onions, peas, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower
1. Boil the Pasta: Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in the pasta pot. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Warm the Milk: When the pasta has finished cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the 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 the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.
3. Make the Cheese Sauce: Turn the heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.
4. Combine the Pasta and Cheese Sauce: In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add the second half of the sauce and any extra add-ins.
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.
Additional Notes:• Baked Mac and Cheese: If you have a little extra time, you can bake the macaroni and cheese to give it a golden crust. Pour the prepared mac and cheese into a casserole dish, cover with a lid or foil, and bake at 350°F for 1/2 hour. Remove the covering, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a few pats of butter, and bake uncovered for another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden and the interior is bubbly.
Looks pretty easy and do-able, yeah? It was. And it was delicious. Seriously. I used my most favorite cheese...Tillamook extra sharp white cheddar and I about died when I took my first bite. The kids loved it too, so I consider this a definite major win. I'm pretty stoked.
No more boxed mac and cheese for us. Homemade stove top from now on. Mmmmm yum. I have to try out the homemade spaghettio's recipe I found next.