Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flat-Broke Food: Michigan Mac and Cheese

Be it ever so humble, there's always a place for macaroni and cheese.

Sure, you can make it fast and easy from a box. (I still prefer Kraft, after all these years.) But there's something extra homey -- not to mention tender, gooey and delicious -- about forking up mac & cheese you did yourself. Our girlies see it as the ultimate comfort food. Try this simple recipe when it's raining or dreary, and you'll see why.


1 pound macaroni
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4-1/3 cup flour
milk to taste (about 1 1/2 cups -- instant dry milk plus water will work. So will milk that's 'going.')
1 teaspoon powdered or jarred mustard
dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper
1- 1 1/2 cups cheese, at least 2 different kinds - grated or chopped
     (here's the chance to use up that dried stuff in the back of the fridge)

Extras you can add with impunity (and clean out the fridge): a teaspoon or so of yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, dried or chopped onion, or any veggies. A cup of  chopped ham, hamburger, chicken, turkey etc. elevate this to casserole status, and stretches it to serve more people.


Boil the macaroni as directed on the package; drain.

While the macaroni's cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan; as soon as it's bubbling, quickly stir in the flour until it's thoroughly mixed. Add about a cup of milk and stir again. (This is a white sauce, in case you're wondering.) Turn the heat down to simmer, add the spices and slowly stir in the cheese. Keep stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and the sauce has thickened nicely. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick.

Dump the macaroni into the sauce. (Or spray a casserole dish, and dump all in there.) Stir until mixed. Eat right then or there...or bake at 350 degrees for 30 min., if you like your mac & cheese crusty. Serves 4, with enough leftovers to scrape out of the dish late at night.

(more mac & cheese recipes here, courtesy of the Food Network)

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