I used to buy the boxed macaroni and cheese when the kids were younger. Then I decided a homemade version would be better all around. So I tried to make a home-style macaroni and cheese version with Gruyere and some other cheeses –and they all hated it.
“It tastes weird,” they whined. Truth be told, my kids love macaroni and cheese, but would rather get it from Panera. So, I had given up on it, until last fall when my daughter hosted a joint birthday party with a friend. Her mom (my neighbor) brought a big tray of macaroni and cheese, and the kids demolished it.
When I asked her for the recipe, this is what she told me:
Make a white sauce. I add sharp cheddar for flavor and American cheese for creaminess.
Yep. That’s it. So, here’s the specific directions I came up with, which has been liked amongst my tribe.
Since I have been cooking in bulk, I scaled this for an extra tray for the freezer. Cut this recipe in half for a 9×13 dish.
You Will Need:
2# elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of flour
4 cups of low fat milk
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 slices of American cheese (I used the type from the deli)
Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
Drain and place in a large bowl.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes (it will turn golden).
Add the milk, whisking as you go. Continue whisking as the milk heats; it will gradually thicken into a sauce.
Add the cheese. Stir until melted completely. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a baking dish and heat at 350 F in the oven or until the top browns slightly (about 10-15 minutes).
**You can skip the oven step and serve a “non-baked” style instead.
What’s your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe?
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: December 19, 2013
Updated on: February 13, 2016