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.


Anonymous 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. :-)