Friday, April 3, 2009

Easy-Peasy Mac 'N Cheesy

You really can make homemade macaroni 'n cheese for an every-day lunch! You don't have to settle for the boxed stuff. Wanting to participate in the Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday, I thought I'd share this real food recipe classic, in a way that shows you how easy it can be to put a bowl of real mac 'n cheese on the table!

The recipe ingredients below yield about 4 servings (depending on how big you make those servings ;) Recipe adapted from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

1. Put your pot of water to boil - add macaroni when ready and cook according to package directions.

2. Prepare the Bechamel Sauce: Put 1T. olive oil in a large saucepan. Add 1T. flour and cook, stirring, until it resembles a thick paste, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the milk and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add milk (1/2cup), any desired vegetable purees (I used butternut squash, 1/2cup), and your cheeses (a soft cheese, like cream cheese -4oz-, and a nice hard cheese/combo of cheeses, about 1 1/2cups worth, or to taste - I like white or yellow sharp, colby jack, parmesan...whatever I have on hand!)

4. Season (this recipe called for 1/2tsp salt, 1/8 tsp. each of paprika and pepper). I like a dash of tabasco sauce.

Voila! See, it's not hard!

In fact, it's very versatile - you can use pretty much ANY combination of cheeses. You could probably even use some sour cream or yogurt with milk; if you have a random can of evaporated milk, you could use that can add bread crumbs for a special pizazz and broil it briefly in the oven to give it more of a "baked" taste.

Mac 'n Cheese is also a great base for adding vegetables and meats. My toddler will eat broccoli if it is with something like mac 'n cheese. My husband likes to take a container of this to work, sometimes along with a sandwich, sometimes on its own with some fresh veggies.

For more real-food recipes, and to join in the campaign to help America get back to wholesome, whole foods, head over to the Food Renegade.

5 comments: said...

Thanks for participating in the carnival! I *love* homemade mac and cheese, but have never thought of mixing a cream cheese in with the hard cheeses. Does that give it a noticeably creamier texture?

(AKA FoodRenegade)

Amanda said...

Yes, the cream cheese definitely gives it a creamier, more, maybe, substantial?, taste...It also helps mask the vegetable puree (butternut squash), I think, which I like to put in for an extra veggie for my non-veggie-liking toddler (rolling my eyes!)

Jen said...

This is wonderful! I have never found the "perfect" homemade mac and cheese recipe. I love this because it's so flexible. I will be experimenting soon to figure out what works for my family. Thanks so much for a great post. :)

Sarah Mae said...

I guess velveeta doesn't count as cheese does it? :)

Melonie said...

I'll have to give this a shot! I usually use Annie's organic and mix in a can of tuna and a half can of peas. Meat, veggies, dairy, grain... covers it all and the kiddos wolf it down. :-)