In case you haven’t noticed yet, I like to make my recipes detailed. Why? Here’s the best metaphor I can think of. For me, recipes are a lot like driving directions. I need them to be detailed. I need to know what landmarks (stores, gas stations, etc.) I will be passing for me to feel the most comfortable when driving somewhere new. There have been many times where I have gotten lost b/c I missed a turn, exit, or road. If I had had landmarks, I would have been less likely to get lost. How does driving connect to cooking? When it comes to cooking, I need the recipe to be descriptive or else I get lost. Something that is supposed to be runny ends up pasty, something that is supposed to be simmering ends up boiling, something that is supposed to rise ends up flat, and worst of all, the entire thing ends up burnt. I think you get the point. So, please forgive me if you don’t like my wordy recipes. It is my way of preventing you from getting lost.
So, on with the Homemade Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese
I tried making homemade mac and cheese a few months ago. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and I knew it could be better. I spent some time looking at a couple of recipes and created my own homemade whole wheat mac and cheese. It was a hit! We normally don’t eat seconds at our house so that we will have leftovers to eat later on in the week. However, after eating one serving, my husband said, “I know you want to keep some of this for later, but it is going to taste its best right now.” I must admit, I went back for seconds also.
It is a good thing that this recipe makes a lot. However, be prepared. Even if you have seconds, there will still be leftovers.
Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese
1 13.25 oz. box whole wheat macaroni pasta (or something close to that size)
3 T butter
3 T white whole wheat flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese (Feel free to use different types of cheese. I used ½ cheddar ½ mozzarella)
2 oz. cream cheese
1 t salt
½ t black pepper
1/8 t onion powder
1/8 t garlic powder
1/8 t paprika
1. Follow directions on box for boiling the pasta. Once it is ready, strain and then return it to the pot.
Landmark number 1: It is okay if it cools off.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat.
Landmark number 2: Make sure it is small. If the saucepan is too big, it will make it difficult to properly do the next step. Also, keep the temperature on medium. You don’t want the butter to burn or start smoking.
3. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Continue whisking on medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes. It will start to look like a paste and turn brown.
Landmark number 3: It is important that the butter and flour mixture (roux) is not clumpy. * FYI: You have now just created a Roux. That is the technical term for equal amounts of a fat (usually butter) and flour mixed and heated together.
4. Add the milk and whisk until the sauce becomes thick.
Landmark number 4: This step can take a while (5-8 minutes) depending on how hot your pot is. You will need to closely watch and continue stirring the sauce to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it doesn’t seem to be getting thicker, you can add another tablespoon of flour and turn up the heat to help it thicken.
5. Place all the cheese on top of the pasta and pour the sauce over the cheese. Mix thoroughly until all cheese is melted and all pasta is covered.
6. Add the seasonings and mix well
Landmark number 5: You can adjust the seasonings to meet your taste and what you have on hand.
7. Keep warm until ready to serve.
This not only tastes better than store bought mac and cheese; it is better for our bodies than what comes in a box. I’ve always been a little anxious of powdered cheese. Definitely not natural.
Hopefully my landmarks prevented you from getting lost. Feel free to provide feedback and to have seconds (or even thirds).