8/13/2012

quick & easy stovetop mac 'n' cheese


I've tried many mac 'n' cheese recipes. Some of them were delicious but required time consuming, kitchen heating baking in the oven. Others were quick stovetop recipes but tasted terrible - the cheese was an awful consistency. I finally adapted my own version that combined the best of both worlds. I learned that the cheese sauce has a more robust flavor with cheddar, but it needs to have mostly American to get a fully blended consistency. Additionally, the usage of less milk makes a thicker cheese sauce that sticks to the macaroni without baking in the oven. If you like a runnier sauce, try 2 cups of milk instead. This recipe takes me about 20-30 minutes to make, yields roughly 6 cups, and serves 4-8.


Ingredients:

8 oz (1/2 box) elbow macaroni
4 tbsp margarine*
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 dash pepper
1 1/2 cups milk*
6 oz Velveeta*
1/2 cup (2 oz) cheddar cheese*

*You can also use butter. I use skim milk. I use a generic brand of Velveeta and the variety made with 2% milk. I look at the block and eyeball 6 oz. I use medium cheddar cheese - it has a sharper flavor than mild and melts better than sharp.


Directions:

Step 1: Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Cook the macaroni per directions provided on the box.

Step 2: Meanwhile, prep the rest of your ingredients (measure the dry ingredients, measure the milk, cube the American cheese, shred the cheddar cheese) - the rest of the recipe moves quickly.

Step 3: It's probably about time to add the macaroni to the boiling water.

Step 4: In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, melt the margarine.

Step 5: Once melted, stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Mix until you have a (possibly crumbly) paste.

Step 6: Slowly add the milk, and bring to a simmer. Stir constantly, so you don't scald the milk! If you need to stop for more than a few seconds, take it off the heat.

Step 7: It's probably about time to strain the macaroni. Just turn off the burner for now.

Step 8: Going back to the sauce, lower the heat, and add the cheese. Stir until melted, and remove from heat.

Step 9: Strain the macaroni, and return to pan (or pour into serving bowl).

Step 10: Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, and stir to coat.

Step 11: Enjoy! I usually serve with steamed broccoli or mixed veggies - you can dip them in the extra cheese sauce.



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