Growing up as a child, I’ve had my fair share of Kraft Dinner. As a parent, I’ll admit to feeding MY kids their share of Kraft Dinner. Of course there are MANY more varieties then when I was growing up. Sneaking in those veggies into the kids meals? Smart Kraft!! I will still reach for a box of KD when we have leftover sloppy joe meat or taco meat to make my own hamburger helper on night #2 to use up the left overs. Super yummy!
I finally broke down after watching Ina Garten make her Mac & Cheese one too many times. In my mind, all that cheese is going to get expensive (frugal side of me coming out) and really, how good could it be. Well, I’ll admit… it was… amazing!! But you have to use a strong flavoured cheese otherwise it’s just going to be blah. I used an old cheddar when I made mine. Ina used gruyere cheese in her recipe (which the frugal side of me still couldn’t bring myself to buy), but really, it’s all about the technique and you can play with this recipe until your heart is content. Just substitute out the cheeses and omit or add the spices to suit your own personal tastes.
Homemade Mac & Cheese
1 pkg of macaroni (or any other pasta really)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups of milk
6 cups of shredded cheese (this is where you can have fun with your flavours)
Salt & pepper to taste
Bread crumbs (optional)
- Cook your pasta as per the directions on the package until al dente.
- In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the flour and stir together until a paste is formed and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. This is what you call a roux which is a thickening agent for the milk and all the yummy cheese you’re about to add in.
- Whisk in the milk and turn the temperature down. When the milk mixture starts to thicken, remove the pan from the heat and stir in your cheese and any other spices or seasonings you would like. You’ll have a pot full of ooey gooey cheese. Don’t be afraid to sample, you know, to adjust for seasoning.
- Once the cheese sauce is ready to go, combine the cooked pasta and the cheese sauce together. This recipe makes a lot.
- Place the cheesy pasta in a large baking dish and top with bread crumbs if you are using. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for about 30 minutes until cheese gets bubbly.
Note: I had so much pasta that I divided up the batch into two and froze half of it for a second dinner. The frugal side of me was happy I made two meals for the price of one. 🙂