My Very Own Mac ‘n’ Cheese

So, for some members of my family this may border on sacrilege. My beloved aunt is known as *the* cook in the family; my mom has a cookbook full of family recipes from my aunt, and I have a recipe box full of them as well. A long time family favorite is her Macaroni and Cheese. Baked in the oven, deliciously cheesy with that crunchy goodness on top. In spite of this delicious recipe at my finger tips, I’ve created my own version of mac ‘n’ cheese.

Getting home around 6 and not having dinner started yet sort of puts my aunt’s mac ‘n’ cheese out of my weeknight reach. It would be at least 7:30 before dinner was done, which is just too late to eat. But the boxed Kraft-style-stuff is so gross and full of chemicals and such. I needed a stove-top recipe but the ones I could find used ingredients I don’t like to use – evaporated milk, for one. When I came home from the store with cheese and noodles, I was a bit on my own. The results, however, were delicious.

I got a little excited about cooking it and cooked up a 2 lb box of noodles, so the results were delicious for about a week. I can say that my mac ‘n’ cheese needs have been sufficiently met for the foreseeable future.

Here’s my recipe for stove-top mac ‘n’ cheese. Hope you find it as enjoyable as I did.

Amanda’s Stove-Top Mac ‘n’ Cheese

  • 2 lb box of elbow noodles of your choice: regular, whole wheat, sprouted grain, rice, etc…
  •  oz block of cheddar cheese, shredded – you can buy it pre-shredded, but its cheaper this way and doesn’t have cellulose added
  • 8 oz block of colby-jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz neufchatel cream cheese (you can also use regular cream cheese if you prefer)
  • 6 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • paprika to taste (I used about 1 TBSP)
  • Worchestershire sauce to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t add much, and then seasoned to taste at the table)

Cook noodles according to directions on the package in a large pot. Drain the noodles and set them aside. Return the pan to the heat, adjust temperature to medium-low, and melt your butter. When the butter is melted, add all three kinds of cheese and milk. Stir continuously until the cheese is all melted and creamy, about 10 minutes. If it looks a little dry, add more milk. Season to taste. Once the sauce is all creamy and melty and delicious, add in the noodles and stir until combined.

I know this isn’t exactly a healthy recipe. Here are some ways to make it look like a completely meal. Try tossing in some frozen green peas and canned tuna, and serve with a nice side salad. Add frozen broccoli and cooked ground beef. Toss in left over stir fry, or taco left overs (salsa, ground beef, black olives, etc…). If you’d prefer to eat it straight up (like me), it reheats well in the oven or microwave. To keep yourself from over-indulging you can cut the recipe in half, make it for a large family gathering, take it to a potluck, or offer to take dinner to another family.

What are you cooking today?

~Amanda

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