Friday, January 25, 2013

Easy, made-from-scratch, baked Mac 'n' Cheese recipe

Yummm, made-from-scratch, simple, delicious mac 'n' cheese!  As convenient as the blue boxes are, they can't compare to the creamy, cheesy goodness of the homemade version.  The whole family loves this dish.  I think we can all agree, even the pickiest eater gobbles up macaroni and cheese!

I've tried to make this dish several times with different recipes.  Most recipes start off by making a white sauce on the stove.  Every time I've followed a recipe like that, it's been disappointing.  First off, it takes a lot of time and effort to stand over the stove and baby the sauce.  Second, it always tastes a little grainy, not smooth and creamy.  Maybe I'm not making the sauce correctly?? 

Well, it doesn't matter anymore, because I discovered how to make homemade mac 'n' cheese in one step--no stovetop, no grainy sauce.  You just mix everything together, pop it in the oven, and enjoy your delicious, cheesy macaroni!  I like to add ham and peas to make this a one-dish meal.  Just serve with a salad and veggies, and you have a simple lunch or dinner.

What you need:
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 1 cup diced ham (optional)
  •  2 1/2 cups milk
Let's get cooking:  Makes about 8 servings.  Total time:  90 minutes

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 8 x 8 inch glass pan with nonstick spray.

2.  Toss together the cornstarch and cheese in a mixing bowl until the cheese is coated.  (This helps the cheese stay creamy as it melts)

3.  Add pasta, spices, peas, and ham and stir together.  Pour in the milk.

 4.  Pour the mixture into your glass pan.  It looks really milky, but don't worry.  The noodles will absorb the liquid as they cook.

 5.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, then bake 25-30 minutes more until the cheese on top is browning and the liquid is absorbed.  Let it rest 10 minutes before serving.

See?  I told you, easy-peasy cheesy noodles :) 

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