Saturday, March 30, 2013

mac and cheese from scratch.

my littlest sister marley just turned 11, and her birthday brunch was today. my mom asked me to bring a double batch of truffle mac and cheese, since mac and cheese is kind of my thing. even though i make this all the time for us at home (almost weekly, we actually almost never even have store bought mac and cheese), id never made it for other people, and i was REALLY self conscious and afraid everyone would hate it. 

to my surprise, the entire pan was scraped clean and i got a lot of compliments on it, so i thought it might be a good idea to share the recipe, since its much less processed and somewhat healthier than boxed or frozen mac, and MUCH better tasting. (probably cheaper too depending on the ingredients you use or if youre on the pregnant/nursing wic package and drowning in milk and cheese). also, its pretty easy to do, if maybe a little time consuming.

ive basically spent my entire adult life perfecting this recipe, and like i said before, its a pretty important staple in the meyers household. 

mac and cheese
1/2 pound of noodles in the shape of your choice (an entire 12 oz box works too, if thats what you have on hand, it just wont be as saucy)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
approx. 2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or jack work best (this is totally a guess, i never measure how much cheese i use and its really up to your preference)
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
seasoned breadcrumbs
truffle oil (entirely optional)

start by preparing your noodles according to the package directions, drain and put in a large casserole dish. 
melt the butter in a small pot over medium/high heat. 
once its melted add the flour and stir until a smooth paste is formed, this takes a minute or two. 
slowly whisk in the milk, and stir in some salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to your preference (i like a pinch of salt, and kind of a lot of pepper and garlic, but thats just me). 
keep stirring the sauce until it thickens and starts to boil (this takes maybe five minutes), then remove from heat and stir in your shredded cheese until it stops melting and what you have looks like nacho cheese (actually, if you take this sauce and add some salsa it makes a GREAT healthy nacho dip). 
now that your sauce is done, pour it over the noodles and mix until everythings evenly coated. 
(if youre really hungry or impatient i suppose you could just stop here and eat but i really think this last part makes all the difference)
lightly sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the saucy noodles in the casserole dish, and top the breadcrumbs with a thin layer of shredded cheese, and add a drizzle of truffle oil if youre feeling fancy. 
bake at 350 until the cheese on top browns. 

this recipe is really a basic skeleton, its really fun to experiment with different cheeses and toppings and such. alice recently became a REALLY picky eater, and this is one of the few foods shell eat without complaint, so i often make it with the "hidden vegetable" type pasta and toss in some peas, and it still tastes fantastic. 

p.s. look at this super awesome cake my mom made!

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