There are some things in life you just do not mess with! Macaroni and Cheese is one we have processed down to a 2 minute microwave meal with loads of sodium and artificial ingredients. To make matters worse we eat it and serve it as a main staple to our kids!
- 1/4 cup real pastured butter (The Lands at Hillside Farms is great for butter, milk and cheese)
- 2-3 cups whole milk
- 3 tbsp flour
- pinch of salt or to taste
- Smart Taste macaroni (1/2 box)-Smart Taste pasta (purple box) is my choice of pasta and one of the few processed items I buy at the grocery store. It is fortified with Calcium, Vitamin D and Fiber and it tastes great!
- Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (1/4-1/2 cup- really to taste)
- 1 cup sharp white cheddar
- 1/4 cup mild yellow cheddar
I have to be honest, I do not write down my recipe. Everything is added to taste and I taste many times while I cook the sauce. Please forgive my approximations. If I am feeling a little crazy and I have heavy whipping cream, I throw some in! Yes! Heavy whipping cream but just a little (1/4 cup). It makes for a great creamy texture.
**If my ingredients are scaring you, please read about healthy substitutions at the end of the blog.
My cheese choice above can change depending on my stock in the refrigerator. I do have to say, I will NOT make my mac and cheese unless I have Parmesan cheese. It gives it a special little taste which I believe is one of my secrets to a good batch.
- Melt butter on low heat in a sauce pan.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the flour to a smooth past.
- Add back to low heat and slowly add your milk and cheese with a rotating method. Take your time during this process and constantly stir your sauce to prevent burning. This is where I taste, taste, taste. I also make sure I NEVER have a thick sauce. You want there to be enough liquid to cover your noodles.
- Don’t forget to salt to taste. I would be careful here because some cheeses may have lots of added sodium.
- Boil your pasta for a couple minutes ONLY! This is another trick of mine. My pasta always has a little crunch to it when I drain it. Sometimes we forget it is going to cook in the oven and our mac & cheese comes out mushy.
- Pour sauce over noodles in a small casserole dish. Did you notice the pasta is swimming in a semi-thin liquid? This keeps my casserole nice and moist. It is a trick for the perfect re-heat!
- Add a nice mixture of yellow and white shredded cheese to the top before it goes into the oven.
- Bake it in the oven on 350 covered until hot and bubbling. This is approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Remove the lid and brown. When you have a nice browning, it is done.
- Dig in and enjoy!
Tips to make healthier:
- Plain yogurt, low fat cottage cheese (low curd) or low fat ricotta cheese are great substitutes for cheese. I would substitute 1/2 your cheese with something above. Again, I would add to taste and make adjustments as you cook your sauce.
- Instead of Parmesan cheese, you can puree cauliflower (1 cup) for and added flare, more nutrition, and less calories.
- Use a skim or low fat milk
- Use low fat cheese
- Instead of butter use Canola oil.