Friday Food: The Easiest Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

I feel like I discovered the secret about Mac n’ Cheese that the box-makers never intended to let out – it’s easy!

{I may be a little late to the party here…}

I did ‘research’ for about half an hour last night deciding how to go about this first trial. Apparently no one takes this recipe to mean one thing; some used eggs, some butter, some cottage cheese, some even spiced it up with a little paprika! Hey there, that’s going way beyond the creativity I had in mind.

In the end, I started with the simple approach. Why not just make it the way I have before, but instead of that powered mix (really, what is that?), use the real stuff?

Done!

image

I laid out four ingredients, and got the water boiling – when I say “easy”, I mean it!

macNcheese 003

Easy Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
Makes 3 servings
Total Cook time: ~15 min
1 3/4    c Elbow Macaroni noodles
1/4        c Light Soymilk (or skim milk)
1/2        Tbsp butter
1 1/3     c Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Bring a large pan of water to boil; add pasta and cook until soft (~6-8 min). Turn off heat; drain.

Add butter to the pan (still hot), add pasta & milk. Stir together and add cheese one handful at a time. Mix together until all ingredients are combined and smooth – i.e. mix until it looks like the good stuff!

macNcheese 004

Optional: Season with ~ 1/4 tsp salt, and a few shakes of black pepper (to taste).

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That’s it. You’re done! You have a bowl of cheese noodles that trumps any boxed-brand, any day. Garnish with the basil if you’re looking for a photogenic quality, and mix that herb right in there. It compliments the cheesy, peppery dish quite nicely.

The stats:

Mac'n'Cheese calorie count

That serving size is ~3 heaping scoops (~2 cups – admittedly, I didn’t measure this). It’s filling, but feel free to adjust if you want more/less.

To reiterate, this was trial #1. I still want to experiment with the ‘baking’ type, but it made more sense to start with what I know – and our tastebuds didn’t disagree! Next time around, I’ll focus a little bit on decreasing that saturated fat content – the recommendation for one days’ intake is ~15-20 g (dependent on overall calories), so that’s a big chunk. But overall, I was pleased with this outcome!

*****

Optional seasonings: I had to see what these “seasoned” mac n’ cheese creators were doing. Paprika? Cayenne? Nutmeg?!….

Now I know. They’re clearly the experts. We had about one serving left and I sprinkled 2 shakes of ground nutmeg + 1 shake of ground cayenne pepper to mix in. Taste test result: flavor BOOM.

It’s like a whole new world of mac n’ cheese has been revealed to me.

*****

What would you be interested in seeing with Trial #2?

Have you ever made your own mac n’ cheese? Did you know it was this easy?! I was honestly surprised by how quickly it came together – so simple, and yet I had never tried this before. Still learning here, folks!

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13 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, learning, lunches, Nutrition, recipes

13 responses to “Friday Food: The Easiest Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

  1. It is pretty easy, but when you make it yourself you don’t get the cool cartoon shaped pasta that comes with Kraft. Just sayin’.

    As for a baked mac and cheese, I love this recipe: http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/144036/Pepper-Jack-Cheesy-Mac/detail.aspx

    But I don’t think you can go wrong whatever you try.

  2. Simplicity is the key! However, try adding a little mustard powder, it gives it a really lovely kick. Yum!

  3. I remember my grandma always used to make her stove top mac and cheese with loads of sharp white cheddar cheese and fresh ground pepper and there was just something about it that I can never recreate.

    Do you think this recipe would work with almond milk?

  4. Mac & cheese JUNKIE right here! Definitely need to try this one!!

  5. I put every kind of cheese that we have in the fridge in there. Last week was smoked gryuere, feta, gorgonzola, cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack and american. it’s ridiculous. and my recipe is basically yours, plus throw it in a dish and bake. bread crumbs and cheese on top. i’m hungry now.

  6. i love that we are so in sync this week. Totally gonna post my mac and cheese recipe now. WIsh we could have just made it together!

  7. I love mac n cheese. I either use annie’s and beef it up, or just use elbow noodles and go from there. Paprika, broccoli and carmelized onions are key for me. Other additions I put in: peas, green/red bell pepper, diced tomatoes. And then bake w/ a little cheese on the top layer to get that crunch. Yum! Another fabulous meal you can make that doesn’t have to be bad for you.

  8. Pingback: Easy Peasy Mac and Cheesy

  9. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!! A truly simple macaroni and cheese recipe! Thanks for sharing!

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