Last night I planned to cook some of our ham (from the hogs that my husband's family slaughters every January). I really wanted some mac n' cheese to go with it, but alas, we were out of our beloved blue boxes (that's Kraft if you don't know). So I decided to try my hand again at homemade mac n' cheese.
I tried a recipe last year and it didn't turn out so great. I don't even remember where the recipe came from. I didn't hang on to it since we weren't impressed at all. Last night I went back to trusty ol' Google and searched for a new recipe. This one sounded pretty simple to make and it looked good.
|C had a good time helping me make the sauce!|
Creamy No-Roux Stove Top Macaroni and CheeseServes 4 to 6
1 pound pasta, any shape - I used half a box because a pound of noodles sounded like a TON, and a 1/2 pound still made a LOT of pasta.
1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk - We have farm-fresh milk, whole. Maybe that made a difference for me??
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-3 cups shredded cheese, like cheddar, monterey jack, or colby
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
1. Boil the Pasta: Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in the pasta pot. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.2. Warm the Milk: When the pasta has finished cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see tendrils of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.
3. Make the Cheese Sauce: Turn the heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.
4. Combine the Pasta and Cheese Sauce: In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add the second half of the sauce and any extra add-ins.
5. Serving and Storing Leftovers: Serve the mac and cheese immediately while still warm. Leftovers will keep for up to a week and can be reheated in the microwave. If the sauce is a little dry after re-heating, mix in a splash of milk to make it creamy again.
I followed the recipe exactly. I mean to a T. And it turned out okay, but not knock-your-socks-off-good. The sauce had kind of a grainy texture. DH says that happens when your milk gets too hot or something, but I cooked it on a very low temp and stirred that sucker the entire time. So I'm not sure what happened. Strike 2 for homemade mac n' cheese. Maybe I'm just not meant to make this dish??
Actually, I had leftovers for lunch today at work and it tasted much better. And it wasn't bad tasting last night, not at all. I guess DH and I are just so used to Kraft (or Food Lion brand, which I prefer) that anything else just tastes weird.
I may try this recipe again in the future, just to see if it turns out different. But I'm also gonna be on the search for a better one. If anyone has one, please let me know! I'd love to be able to make this dish better. I mean, the blue box is so simple, but it can't be good for you, right? (Not that homemade mac n' cheese is "good" for you, but at least it doesn't have preservatives and who-knows-what-else in it.)
In other news, DH's grandma has been opening her eyes more and more the past few days. This is a good sign! She's still not 100% "awake" but this is progress. If you are praying for her, please keep doing so. She has a long road to recovery ahead of her. Thank you!! ( :