Friday, March 20, 2009
Kids love macaroni and cheese! We all know which one we flock to: the bright orange noodles in that familiar blue box. It is the standby and the one we know will get eaten no matter how many times a week it is made... Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. However, it is not the best option out there for mac and cheese.
I decided to experiment on the girls last night and try a recipe for a homemade macaroni and cheese. I used the orange sharp cheddar cheese instead of white to make it appear more like the Kraft version. Not only is this recipe delicious but healthier and an excellent alternative!
The ingredients in the "sauce" mix for Kraft lists: whey, milkfat, milk, protein concentrate, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, contains less than 2% of citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, milk, yellow #5, yellow #6, enzymes, and cheese culture. Whew!
The cheese that I used has only pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes and annatto (which is commonly considered to be a natural coloring) You can certainly use the white sharp cheddar instead and avoid the coloring altogether. There are also great organic cheeses available!
HOMEMADE MACARONI AND CHEESE
(This recipe can also be doubled. I found that the amount this recipe makes was "just right" for a side dish)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound of elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (or a mix of your favorite cheeses to equal one cup)
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add the teaspoon of salt and the macaroni. Cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain well.
Make the sauce while the macaroni is cooking. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Using a wire whisk, stir in flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook over medium heat until the roux bubbles and the flour turns a pale tan color, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of milk. Return pan to heat and then whisk in remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. The sauce will be able to thinly coat the back of a spoon. Add the cheese now and stir until it melts.
Add the drained macaroni to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly. Transfer macaroni and cheese to a serving dish.
Serve and enjoy!