Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Easy Homemade Mac & Cheese

Sometimes I just crave macaroni and cheese, don’t you?  But something in me just has a really hard time buying that blue box with powdered cheesy mix.  So, I decided to try a homemade version.  It turned out pretty good, and I’ve since come up with a few variations.  It takes about 15 minutes (or however long it takes to cook your noodles).  I’m not always the best at actually measuring things out, but here’s more or less what I do to make 2 good-sized servings:

Ingredients:
2 cups macaroni noodles (I frequently use penne or shells instead)
¾ cup milk (use half & half for an extra creamy sauce)
¾ cup cheese, grated (usually sharp cheddar, but use what you like!)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
Seasonings to taste

Directions:
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain; return to pot.
  2. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a small sauce pan on medium-low heat.
  3. Once butter is melted, add flour and whisk until combined.
  4. Add milk and whisk until combined.  Heat until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once sauce thickens, slowly add cheese and stir in until melted.
  6. Mix in any seasonings you’d like, or none at all – spices I sometimes use are pepper, garlic, paprika, chili powder or cumin.
  7. Pour sauce mixture over pasta – stir and enjoy!

We did a “Southwest” style variation on this tonight.  I added a few spices (garlic, cumin, paprika) and a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes.  I actually used hot tomatoes with habaneros for tonight’s meal – very spicy, but good!  Play around with it and find what you like best!  One of my other favorite variations is to do white cheddar with ground black pepper – yum!  If you try it, let me know what you think! 

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