Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ban the Blue Box

I have probably never eaten as much mac and cheese in my life as I have eaten in the past 10 years of feeding young children. My husband and kids love the blue box brand, and I admit to keeping a box in the pantry for really, really crazy times when I need to feed the kids in a fast, efficient way and my brain just can't wrap around the idea of pulling together a real meal.
But for those times when I want to feel like a real mom, the kind who irons dresses with puff sleeves and sashes and curls hair with pretty ribbons, I make my homemade mac and cheese. This is not one of those complicated four-cheese dishes with a crumb crust. This is an everyday stovetop recipe, one that I found in my Pillsbury Cookbook, the ringbound basic book that I received at a bridal shower (Thanks, Brenda!). It's very simple to make, and a little lighter than regular mac and cheese, because there's no butter. Be sure to use whole milk, though, for a creamier texture.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded American cheese
1/8 tsp. pepper
Just the slightest bit dry mustard

Cook macaroni to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; rinse with hot water. In jar with tight-fitting lid, combine flur and 1 cup of the milk; shake until well blended. Pour into medium nonstick saucepan; add remaining milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Add cheese; continue cooking until cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Add cooked macaroni and pepper. Heat thoroughly. Serve to ravenous kids who will scarf it down and beg for seconds.
I like to make this early in the day, when the kids are at school and I have time in my kitchen. It reheats quite nicely in the microwave.

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