Sunday, March 13, 2011

Easy-Peasy Stove Top Mac & Cheese

I am so depressed. It was looking like spring was just around the corner, then I woke up to a fresh foot of heavy, wet snow that shut down the highways and closed the schools the last day before March Break (are you kidding me?!). And then to top it off, my oven has broken. Something is wrong with the thermostat, it just keeps getting hotter and hotter and burns everything (wah!). The only cure for this: comfort food. Bring on the Mac & Cheese!

I am waaaay too impatient for the "in the oven with bread crumbs on top" kind (perfect considering my oven has gone on strike). When I want Mac & Cheese I want it fast, so I make a stove top version that's creamy, cheesy and makes my husband look at me with that "look", you know the one. The one that says "Go buy any pair of shoes you want... with my credit card.". (where did you think I was going with that? This is a FAMILY site! Geez!)

I start with a basic b├ęchamel sauce (don't be scared) and melt a few different cheeses into it to make a rich, velvety soft cheese sauce. My kids prefer macaroni for this but any short pasta like penne, rotini or "scoobi-doo" noodles will do.

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Easy-Peasy Stove Top Mac & Cheese

3 c uncooked macaroni (or other short pasta)
1/4 c butter
1/3 c flour
1 c milk
1/2 c Cheez Whiz
1 c Velveeta
1 c shredded cheddar (I use marble)
pinch of paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Cook pasta to package directions.
2. In a large pot or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
3. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook flour/butter mixture, stirring frequently with a whisk, for 3-5 minutes or until flour has developed a light golden colour.
4. Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk, whisking constantly until everything is incorporated and the sauce is smooth.
5. When the b├ęchamel has thickened to the consistency of cake batter, add the Cheez Whiz and Velveeta. Stir with a spoon until cheese has melted.
6. Add the shredded cheddar and stir until melted.
7. Season with paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and heat through. Serve with a side salad or fresh, crusty bread.

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enjoy!

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