This is a family favorite, made healthier by using whole wheat pasta and vegetable juice to add some flavor. It also comes from my mother-in-law; she used to make it for my husband, so its one of his comfort foods. As much as a guy can really have a comfort food. That’s usually reserved for us gals, because men would never admit that they tuck themselves under a blanket with a romance novel and eat a bowl of mac n’ cheese to cheer themselves up.
2 cups of uncooked whole wheat macaroni pasta
1 cup of milk
1 cup of tomato or vegetable juice
3 tbs of margarine
3 tbs of flour
2 cups of grated cheese
Kick the tires & light the fires to 350 degrees
Grate your two cups of cheese. I probably had about 2 1/2 here. I just grated until it looked right. Once thing with mac n’ cheese; its really hard to have too much cheese in it. Just not possible. Who has ever uttered the phrase ” This macaroni and cheese is too cheesy!” See what I mean? Doesn’t happen.
Time to make your cheese sauce, which is the base of any white sauce out there, your basic roux. Start with your margarine in a pot, and heat it till its melted.
I hear food purists shrieking that their eyes are bleeding at this moment, I used the word “roux” and “margarine” in the same sentence. Hey, I have NEVER claimed to be a top chef. Fine. You can also use butter.
Add in your flour.
Until it looks like this. Gloppy. And then remove it entirely from the heat source.
Add in a very, VERY small amount of milk. Just enough to mix it in.
Now it starts to get thinner, so keep adding a small bit of milk at a time…
..and keep adding and mixing…and adding and mixing….
…until it looks like this, lump free and ready to go!
Add in your cup of juice and leave it there for a moment.
Remove your pasta from the stove, and drain it. I have to do things in steps like this because I am horrible at kitchen multi-tasking. Horrible. If I had put the sauce on at the same time, the sauce would burn while I was draining the pasta, or the pasta would overcook because I was concentrating on the sauce. One thing at a time or I get stressed.
If you are going to do multiple single servings, like I am, then put the pasta into a bowl. If you are going to bake one large casserole, put it into your casserole dish at this point.
Put the shredded cheese into your sauce, and heat on a medium heat until the sauce has thickened, and the cheese has melted in entirely. The flour will thicken up the sauce at this point.
When its done, pour it over your macaroni noodles.
I used ramekins, which make 6 perfect servings. I use these so I can leave single servings for the kids and my husband when I work in the evenings, and even hubby can manage to nuke these for supper and thrill the kids. And ok, I admit it. If I don’t use them, I swear I could eat half the casserole myself, loaded with salt and pepper. So this forces me to behave. Darn it.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until they are starting to get crispy on top a bit, it took about 20 minutes for these ones to reach perfection. It really is hard to screw up; you can bake them until they are really “set” and the pasta is stuck together with the sauce, or until they are just crisped on top and the macaroni is still loose and saucy below. Both are fantastic to eat and what’s even better, the kids don’t care!