This is real comfort food in our house. Anytime Amanda Lily is having a bad day, I go to this Mac N Cheese and a warm bubble bath. It works wonders on a seven year old's dramatic day. (My BF told so and so she could sing the song I wrote, but Mom, I wrote it!!!!) Or, when she started a new school, and needed a healthy send off. Recently, I used Alphabet pasta to make it for dinner the night before the kids went back to school.
I found this recipe a few years back when I went looking for a way to make it a bit more healthy, so I could serve it without feeling it was nutritionally void. It's from the book "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld. I've substituted several cheeses over the years, and it always turns out delish, so feel free to use whatever block cheese you have on hand.
MACARONI AND CHEESE
1 1/2 CUPS MACARONI
NONSTICK COOKING SPRAY
1 TBSP OLIVE OIL
1 TBSP ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
1/2 CUP MILK
1/2 CUP BUTTERNUT SQUASH OR CAULIFLOWER PUREE
8 OUNCES SHREDDED CHEDDAR CHEESE (here is where you can get creative, i've even used 4oz of one cheese and 4oz of another....pepper jack really spices things up)
2 OUNCES CREAM CHEESE
1/2 TSP SALT
1/8 TSP PEPPER
1/8 TSP PAPRIKA OR NORTHWOODS PENZEYS (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook according to package directions. Drain in colander.
While macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1 to 2 mins.
Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 mins. Add the vegetable puree, cheddar, cream cheese, and seasonings, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.
back to school mac n cheese ingredients