Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Comfort Foods - Mac and Cheese

In my post last week about comfort foods I received a few recommendations for people's family favorite recipes. One suggestion was something I've never made before - crockpot lasagna. It sounds like a great idea. I found this recipe for slow cooker spinach lasagna over at the Raise Healthy Eaters blog and plan to give a try soon.

But for now, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite recipes for a comfort food classic, Mac and Cheese. I have made my fair share of the blue box mac and cheese over the years, but have happily moved my family away from that ~ although my youngest still gets excited about a monthly treat of Easy Mac (I'll have to write more on that later). Below are two recipes for Mac and Cheese: one that I prefer and one that my kids prefer.

Kids Mac and Cheese
adapted from a recipe in Family Circle
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 cup milk
8 ounces sliced American cheese from the deli (not the cellophane wrapped singles)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

  • Prepare macaroni according to package directions.
  • While pasta is cooking, break American cheese slices into small pieces and shred cheddar if it not already shredded.
  • After you've drained the pasta, add the milk to that same pot. 
  • With the pot on medium heat, add in the cheeses.
  • Whisk together the milk and cheeses until the mixture is smooth.
  • Return the macaroni to the pot and stir to combine.
My Preferred Mac and Cheese
adapted from a recipe from Rachael Ray

1 T olive oil
2 T butter
3 T flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Preheat broiler.
  • Heat oil and butter in a large skillet at medium heat.
  • When butter is melted, add flour and whisk together.
  • Cook for a few minutes until flour mixture is smooth.
  • Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk.
  • Continue to cook until milk thickens a bit.
  • Add in 2 cups of the cheddar, stirring until smooth.
  • Add in nutmeg and cayenne.
  • Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce.
  • Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  • Place baking dish in broiler. Cook until cheese on top is melted.

Anyone else have any favorite mac and cheese recipes to share?

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