Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Homemade Baked Mac n Cheese

Is this a low-fat mac n cheese?  No - but it's a great recipe for a special occasion or cheat day when you want to make the real thing.  It just screams comfort food and it is much healthier than any store-bought version.  If you are looking for an easy recipe to try, please give this one a go!  You can add some protein and veggies to make it a complete meal, either mixed in with the mac n cheese or on the side.  Some examples might be mac n cheese with chicken and broccoli, ham and asparagus, or hotdogs and peas.  My kids LOVED it and we ate the leftovers for days.  I hope that you like it as much as we do!!!

Happy Cooking!

Baked Mac n Cheese
1/2 package (8 oz) of your favorite pasta, I used large elbows
3 T of butter
3 T all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups of 2% or whole milk
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups of shredded cheese, such as a mixture of mild and sharp cheddars, gouda, and parmesan  (I used a pre-packaged shredded cheese from my grocery store called "Macaroni and Cheese Blend")
1/3 cup of panko bread crumbs

First begin by cooking the pasta according to package directions until it is al dente, a couple minutes before tender.  This step is VERY important-  the pasta continues to cook in the oven so this prevents the macaroni and cheese from being too mushy.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.  Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two until the color deepens, constantly stirring.  Gradually add the milk while whisking over medium heat.  Add the additional seasonings (onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper, mustard powder).  Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens to your liking (it should be able to coat the back of a spoon).  Turn the heat off, add the cheese, and stir until it melts.  Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce and spoon into a greased 2-quart baking dish.

Top with breadcrumbs and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Serve immediately. 

I made this recipe on Easter Sunday with our ham, mustard sauce, and roasted asparagus.  So yummy!!!  A meal I would want to eat at any Sunday dinner.  Enjoy!!!

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