I’m not an alarmist, but the recent(ish) New York Times article about how many chemicals are in boxed macaroni and cheese freaked me the eff out. It doesn’t have anything to do with the product itself; it’s the way the food is packaged, and that process causes harmful (hormone disrupting) chemicals to seep into the food. Since it’s the process and not the food, buying organic or all-natural or the Cristal of mac and cheese won’t matter. The chemicals have been found in all of it.
Boxed mac is a staple in our house. Or, shall I say, was a staple. So I rushed to find a recipe that was as instant as it could be. The one I landed on is pretty good: It only takes about 15 minutes; doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, measuring or hard prep; and the kids liked it. My only criticism is that it loses creaminess when it’s reheated, so I usually just toss in a splash of milk and a little more cheese before I nuke it. Note: This makes a pretty big batch, enough for family dinner or plenty to reheat throughout the week. Feel free to half it.
Quicky Stove-Top Mac and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
2 cups milk (the higher the fat content, the creamer it will be)
8 ounces cheddar cheese
1/2 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: Cook pasta according to instructions. Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until nutty brown. Whisk in the milk, a little bit at a time, so lumps don’t form. Continue until all the milk is mixed in. Then melt in the cheese (you can cube up a brick or use shredded). Mix mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside until pasta is done, toss pasta in the cheese sauce, top with some crushed up potato chips and serve.