March 22, 2012

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

As a crazy pregnant woman, occasionally I will have a craving for something. This week it has been mac and cheese. It all started when I was shopping for BYU-Idaho this past monday. It just so happened that one of the teachers is doing a "Using Your Food Storage" lab so I actually had to purchase some kraft mac and cheese for the school.

I know almost every adult has been in this situation at some point in time. You are standing in the mac and cheese aisle, usually by accident. That friendly blue box catches your eye. You stop and stare. It summons you. All of a sudden warm memories from your childhood begin to flood your mind. You reach for the box.

Usually I give in and I purchase it. It has been like an addiction. And every single time when I get home and make the mac and cheese, I am always disappointed. It is just not the same as when I was a kid. Curse you one-dollar and twenty-five cent box of macaroni.

So I am standing there in the mac and cheese aisle this past monday, about to grab a box for myself. My common sense must have kicked in. It was like a voice in my head was saying, "Amanda, Amanda, Amanda. You should know better than to do this by now."

I did not buy it. Instead I went through my "recipes to try" board on pinterest and found a mac and cheese recipe that I have wanted to try for some time. I switched the ingredients up some to use what I had on hand and to make it c-H-e-A-p-E-r. That is what this blog is about after all.

Is this cheaper than the good old blue box? Definitely not. Is it tastier? Heck yes it is. Way more delicious. You might even start to drool while you are eating this stuff.

Just a word to the wise. This recipe originally called for white extra sharp cheddar cheese, and white american cheese. This will be a whole lot cheaper if you use yellow cheeses. The only thing that will be different is the color. Which quite frankly, I would eat mac and cheese if it was blue. In other words I do not care. Also, you can spend a lot of money when purchasing cheeses. Really explore your options. Usually the least expensive items in a grocery store are on the top and bottom shelves, because the middle shelves are the ones your eyes see first. However this is not always the case. When I bought the extra sharp cheddar cheese for this recipe I noticed that most of the extra sharp white cheddar is somewhere around $8.00 per 8 oz. To me that is an arm and a leg. That is when I decided to go with the yellow variety of extra sharp cheese. These are usually about $4-5 per 8 oz. But if you look really carefully like me, you will find an 8 oz block of extra sharp cheddar cheese that is around $3 with a fifty cent off coupon attached. I guess I just got lucky. But if you are wise and explore all of your options, you can get lucky too.

I am never buying the blue box, ever ever again.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese
1 lb (16 oz) rotini, elbow, or other small shaped pasta
5 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% milk*
8 American cheese slices, plastic removed (for obvious reasons) and torn into pieces
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated**
2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
1 tsp salt
a few drops hot sauce, to taste (like tabasco or franks)

Cook the pasta according to package directions in large pot.

While pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce in a large saucepan by first melting the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and bubbly add the flour. Stir with wooden spoon until combined. YOU WILL WANT TO COOK THIS MIXTURE BY ITSELF FOR APPROXIMATELY 2 MINUTES. I put that in all caps because it is a really important step. If you don't do it, your macaroni and cheese will taste like raw flour. Yuck.

When this mixture is ready (aka you have cooked it for 2 minutes) slowly add the milk in. Stir constantly until milk is bubbly and has thickened (this takes about ten minutes in my experience).

Add the cheeses a handful at a time, stirring until melted before adding a new handful. Then stir in the salt, mustard, and hot sauce.

Pour over prepared pasta, stir to combine, and cook on medium heat for a couple more minutes. Serves 8.

recipe source: adapted from Smells Like Home Panera Mac and Cheese

No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak your mind! I'd love to answer any questions you might have.