One my absolute favorite things in the world is macaroni and cheese.
When I was little, it was one of the only things that I would eat. Seriously, I think if my mom would have let me, I would have lived off of Kraft mac and cheese, pizza and chicken nuggets.
I still love Kraft in the blue box (seriously, there are about nine boxes in my pantry right now, you know, for emergencies). But I also love this mac and cheese recipe. It is a favorite in our house, and makes appearances at quite a few holidays as well.
My mom originally found it in Bon Appetit's Fast Easy Fresh cookbook, and over the years, we've adapted it to make it work for our family (and the things I usually have in my pantry!)
2 1/2 Tablespoons butter + 1/2 Tablespoon butter
3 Tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1 bullion cube
8 oz fat free sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4-1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Fun shaped pasta is optional, but I always like it!
While the pasta is cooking, melt 2 1/2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet. After the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Whisk until the flour has cooked and is a light brown color (about 2 minutes)
Add the milk, water and bullion cube. Continue whisking until the flour is incorporated into the liquid. Raise the heat slightly to allow the mixture to simmer and thicken up. Stirring as needed.
Add the cheese, stirring until it is totally melted. Remove from heat.
Pre heat the broiler.
Melt the remaining 1/2 Tablespoon butter (I usually do this in the microwave) and stir in the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
When the pasta is done, add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Place the coated pasta in a casserole dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture.
Broil for 2-5 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are toasted.
*This recipe doubles really easily, and I often make it ahead of time (stopping before broiling) then just heat it up/broil it in the oven when I need it!
*You can replace the water + bullion cube with chicken or vegetable stock if you have that in your pantry. I just never do!
*Add ins are great here! Mushrooms. Bacon. Different types of cheese. More bacon. If you try some new ones, let me know!
For a printer friendly recipe, click here
Well, I know what I am having for dinner tonight now!
What about you?