Mom's Macaroni and CheeseRecently my 19 year old daughter who is living on her own asked me how she could eat better and save money on her food bill. It seems, she and her roommate usually grab something from the local fast food restaurants, or eat something simple like Top Ramen.
My advice to her was to learn how to cook simple dishes that will last for two to three days, making her budget stretch and making it easier for them to just grab and run. I told her she had inspired me to make a collection of recipes for young people and she encouraged me to at least make one for her!
So here is the first in a series:
Mom's Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 8, Generously
T. = Tablespoon
t. = teaspoon
c. = cup
lb. = pound
oz. = ounce
6 T. butter or margarine (cubes are marked by Tablespoon)
6 T. white flour (level, not heaping)
3 c. milk
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated or cut in small cubes
16 oz. package of elbow macaroni noodles
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a large oven proof bowl or casserole dish with Pam or some other cooking spray. If you don't have this, grease the bowl with a thin layer of butter.
Fill a large pot about ¾ full and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add a t. of salt. Then add your noodles. You will cook the noodles about 12 - 15 minutes or according to package instructions.
In a frying pan, melt the butter or margarine on medium heat. Gradually, stir in the flour. (A whisk is the best tool for this, but a fork works too) When all flour has been added, add your milk one cup at a time and stir constantly. When it begins to thicken, add another cup, repeating until all milk has been added. Be sure to stir constantly so that no lumps form. Once all milk is added and your sauce has thickened, congratulate yourself - you have made a white sauce! This can be the base for many casseroles and one dish meals.
Add your cheese (grated or cut into small cubes) to the white sauce and stir over low heat until it melts. Now taste to see if you need to add salt.
By now, your noodles should be ready. After tasting one to test for doneness, drain them well. (A colander is the best tool for this job) Add drained noodles to your oven proof, greased bowl, add your cheese sauce and stir well. You can add some grated cheese to the top to make it look nice. Then bake for 45 minutes. Enjoy!