Brooding On

Skip the Blue Box: Homemade Mac-n-Cheese

Why go to the blue box for macaroni and cheese when making it yourself is this easy?  I have another homemade mac-n-cheese recipe that is delicious, but it is much more involved.  This one was easy enough that I could throw it all together for lunch yesterday with the kiddos.
3/4 c. uncooked macaroni pasta
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 c. milk
1 1/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I actually used 1/2 cheddar, 1/2 goat milk mozzarella)
1/2 tsp. ground mustard (I've never seen this used in mac-n-chz, but it made a great addition!)
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes hot sauce
bread crumbs (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease bottom of a small casserole dish or the bottom of 4 oven-safe soup bowls.
2.  Cook pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
3.  In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook this roux for a couple minutes, stirring constantly.  Whisk in the salt, pepper, onion powder, and milk.  Cook and stir for another 2 minutes. 
4.  Reduce heat to low and add the cheese, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.  Stir in the macaroni.
5.  Spoon into baking dish(es), sprinkle with bread crumbs (if using -- I didn't), and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until bubbly.

Mmmm.  Luckily, the kids were turned off by the browned part, so I got it all to myself.  (Little do they know, it's the best part!) 

This recipe made just enough for the 3 kiddos and myself for lunch, but our portions weren't huge.  If serving the entire family, I will probably double it. 

I really think the little zings of mustard, Worcestershire, and hot sauce added great flavor to this recipe.  But, how did it go over with the kiddos?  Well . . . the two youngest ate it up, but Girl 1 said, "Mom, you know I prefer the 'real' macaroni and cheese!"  Of course, she's referring to the blue box.  While I'm sure they've not had their last servings of the blue box business, I plan to continue to serve this as an alternative.  Yes, it does have a heaping helping of butter, but at least I know what butter is.  I can't say the same for "sodium tripolyphosphate" and "Yellow 5 and Yellow 6," which are part of the powdered cheese sauce packet in the traditional blue box mix