Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Macaroni and Cheese

It's really coming down to the wire, here in the land of higher education.  Finals in a week and half, research presentation yesterday, homework, projects, a midterm on Monday and it just all comes crashing down.  Luckily, I've been fortunate enough to discover a recipe for a simple, one-serving macaroni and cheese, the motions soothing and the bites satisfying.  Combined from several recipes, among them Pioneer Woman and Evil Shenanigans (directed from Kirbie's Cravings), this dinner just saves my day.

Simple Macaroni and Cheese adapted from various sources
Makes about one serving

½ cup dry macaroni (elbow pasta)
2 cups water and a pinch salt for cooking macaroni
Somewhere between ½ and 1 tablespoon butter
About ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup milk (whole, 2%, 1%, soy*, all of them work)
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese (or another of your choice; pepper jack is next favorite)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 small saucepan
1 bowl for serving (and maybe some sort of eating utensil?)
1 rubber spatula
½ cup dry measure
2-cup liquid measure (truly optional.  I just toss it in and see)


1. In the saucepan, boil the water and salt.  Add the macaroni and cook until just under al dente, or it is still chewy.  The package probably has directions, but I just wait until it's about doubled in size.  Stir the macaroni once in a while.

2. Drain the macaroni and put it in the bowl for now.  Over medium fire, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly.  Yay, you made a roux!  Once the roux is a little blonde and smells rather marvelous, add the milk.  Stir constantly, until the sauce thickens.

3. Add the cheese and stir until melted, then add the macaroni and toss to coat.  Add just a little salt and black pepper, until the cheese flavor is bold (if you like it that way) and the pepper gives a little comforting heat.  Serve yourself in the bowl.  Enjoy!

Makes the whole day better :)
* Soymilk does tend to impart a slight taste to the macaroni and cheese.  I happen to love soymilk, but if you do not, save your soymilk for another use and go with the cow's milk.  If you use soy cheese, however, I'd be fascinated to hear what you thought of it.

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