I haven’t found too many people who did not love macaroni and cheese! It is super easy to pull together, but the key is to make a smooth and creamy white sauce. When discussing this in class today one of my students said, ” No worries Mrs. Lupo, just pull out a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It is smooth and creamy every time.”
Did you realize that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese has been around since 1937? I had no idea! My son the Athlete kids his dad to this day about his failure at preparing Mac and Cheese for him using Kraft. So this really proves a point. You cannot cook if #1 You do not know how to measure and # 2 Your timing is awful!! His failure was judging the pasta. It was really a la dente!
In doing some research before writing this I found some interesting information from Martha Stewart. I found it quite interesting. She starts with some history of macaroni and cheese then goes into the types of cheeses to use. I pretty much have to stick with cheddar at school. I do not have a boat load of money so many of the cheeses that melt smoothly are much more expensive. I talking about Gruyère or Provolone or White Cheddar. These are all good choices. Mixing these cheeses also produces a good product. But I have to tell you that the recipe that I am sharing with you today is my favorite. I am using a mix from Mueller’s and the recipe that came from the cookbook that came with my microwave. It is nothing fancy just plain good macaroni and cheese!
Here is what you will need:
2-4 Tablespoons of butter ( the recipe calls for 4 T I usually use 2 I have found no difference)
3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour (Please read here for measuring. Most mistakes occur from too much flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper ( you can use black pepper)
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar
To prepare the white sauce use a microwaveable safe dish. Melt butter and add flour, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Whisk together. Add 2 cups of milk. Whisk. Microwave for six minutes. Stop the cooking process every 2 minutes and whisk ingredients. By the time you get to minute 5 the sauce should start to thicken. Depending on the wattage of your microwave you may or may not have to cook the sauce longer. The sauce should be the consistency of buttermilk. My students did not know what that was so I had to try another comparison. Ensure, Chocolate syrup, instant pudding before it set up. Here is a photograph to give you a good indicator.
It should hold on to the back of the spoon. Now add about 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. Cheese will melt easier if it is at room temperature. I like to shred a large amount of cheese and freeze it. It just saves a lot of time. If you do this make sure to let the cheese get to room temperature. Frozen cheese reduces the temperature of the white sauce considerably and the sauce will not be creamy.
Why do I use the microwave to make the white sauce? It is easier. You do not have to stand over it and stir constantly. You are not as likely to scorch it. For high school students and beginner cooks it is pretty fail proof. I will say that many students have made mortar for bricks instead of a medium white sauce because they did not measure the flour correctly or they cooked the sauce too long. Again this is measuring correctly and timing the two keys to successful cooking.
Before starting the sauce put the water on for cooking 8 ounces of elbow macaroni. Cook according to the directions. Cook for about 9 – 11 minutes. I found about 9 minutes to be good for me. Start the timing process after the pasta come back to a full boil. Now here is something interesting that I learned from Martha. Rinse the elbows in cold water. This will remove the starch which could make the macaroni and cheese mealy in texture. I have had that to happen and never knew what caused. it. It works, though! Place the cooked and rinsed pasta in a 2 quart casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce over it and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until slightly golden brown and bubbly.
Here is the cheese sauce.
Ready to bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Ready to enjoy!
Macaroni and Cheese
8 ounces of elbow macaroni cooked according to package about 9 – 11 minutes rinse in cold water and place in a 2 quart casserole
2- 4 Tablespoons of butter ( 2 works as well as 4 for me I can tell no difference)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups milk ( I always use cold skim milk)
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
Cook elbow macaroni according to directions and rinse with cold water. Place in a 2 quart casserole dish.
Heat butter in a microwaveable dish. Stir in flour and seasonings. Add milk. Whisk. Microwave for 6 minutes. Stop the microwave every 2 minutes and whisk. After 5 minutes of cooking time the sauce should start to thicken. Add about 2 1/2 cups of cheese. Whisk until smooth. Pour sauce over pasta. Top with remaining cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
Would you like to see the results of the cookoff today and vote for your favorite? Some students are trying to earn some extra points . Leave a comment for your favorite group.
The Teacher Cooks