|It doesn't look like much now, but trust me it will be marvelous.|
Dirty little secret? I love the cardboard boxes of macaroni and cheese. Although it's meant as a side dish, I can eat it as an entree and it's even better the next day after it's spent the night on a cold stove burner. (I told you I wasn't a gourmet.)
I've never been a big fan of homemade macaroni and cheese - mostly because every attempt I ever ate was way too greasy and didn't have enough cheese. That all changed the day my buddy Erin made homemade macaroni & cheese for a get-together that he and his partner Paul hosted at their house. I haven't procured Erin's recipe yet, but I found this one to try. It's all a part of the quest to find the perfect homemade mac & cheese. (Though I will not betray my love for you, oh boxed mac & cheese with your vibrant orange cheese powder.)
Easy Macaroni & Cheese
From Midwest Living, October 2008 (I told you this was a good issue)
1/4 c. butter
2 1/2 c. elbow macaroni (that's 8 oz.)
1 c. cubed ham (optional - I didn't use it ...)
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar or cubed American cheese (I used a blend of cheddar & Colby Jack)
3 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 c. milk (we use 2% in the Kubitz/Mahannah family - the chef who originated this dish uses whole. I guess I'd use anything but skim.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Pour 2 T. of melted goodness into a 2- to 2 1/2 quart casserole or baking dish. Add dried macaroni and stir until coated. Stir in cheese.
For sauce, stir flour, salt and pepper into remaining 2 T. butter in saucepan. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for one minute more. Pour sauce over macaroni mixture.
Bake, covered, for 1 hour or until macaroni is tender and coated with sauce. Stir - let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Do you want to know the nutritional information? Nah - I didn't think so.
Verdict: Poor Ryan never got to try this cheesy goodness. The making of this mac coincided with some dinners out with friends and so I made this one night when he was gone and had leftovers over the next few days for lunch. I will make this again - I'm not too fond of the whole simmering milk, flour and butter concept (reminds me of too many errors made in home economics as a junior high student), but this was pretty good mac.