Like many kids, the boys LOVE mac and cheese. Unfortunately, they were also becoming mac and cheese snobs with the boxed mix by Kraft being their favorite with a few store brands being acceptable as a substitute. Some store brands do NOT come close to tasting like Kraft and they’d let me know if they didn’t like it.
A few times before moving to Alaska, Stephen or I would try our hand at making some homemade macaroni and cheese. They’d eat it, but always say they’d be happier with the packaged stuff.
Well, seeing that the boxed stuff can run almost $1 per tiny box at the store (no super 4/$1 sales out here on the store brand!), I decided we needed to try making it from scratch again.
The first few attempts just didn’t seem to yield something the boys would devour. One recipe I tried called for onion which was NOT well received, even by Stephen.
Eventually, I opened up an old, dilapidated copy of Betty Crocker that Stephen’s held onto for years. In the back is a section on sauces. Game to try another suggested way to make a cheese sauce, I followed the instructions for the basic white sauce.
Pretty simple…melt butter,
stir in flour with salt, pepper and any other spice you might be adding, stir while simmering for a bit,
add milk and simmer until it thickens. Add a small pinch of salt (I like sea salt) to enhance the flavor.
The boys all LOVE my homemade macaroni and cheese now. I double the white sauce recipe from the book to make the white sauce and use about 2/3 pound of medium cheddar cheese to coat 1 1/2 pounds of elbow macaroni. With the pasta costing about $1 per pound, cheese bought on sale ($5 for 2 pounds of which I used 1/3 of the block), butter (1/2 a stick of butter purchased for $2.50 per pound), 2 cups of 1% milk (milk’s $2.99 a gallon here), and a little salt, pepper and Chinese mustard, the total cost to make this yummy, filling dish is about $5 for ingredients. The final yield is the same as 4 boxes of the Thick and Creamy mac (at least $1 per box at Walmart for the store brand) or probably 6+ boxes of original Kraft.
Since I’d be using butter and milk to make the boxed variety, I figure that I’m saving money by making it from scratch. And, even if it was a wash, this macaroni and cheese is truly made with love.
Now I need to dig out the Italian Mac and Cheese recipe my aunt shared years ago. I recall making it when P was little and he turned his nose up at it. But, I remember it as being heavenly and quite a nice change from the cheddar based mac. Maybe as their taste buds continue to ‘grow’, they’ll enjoy that variation as well.
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