I didn’t set out to ruin your New Year’s intentions, honestly I didn’t. I actually have a few resolutions myself, one of which is filing all the notes, clippings and recipes I’ve amassed over the past year. Which is how I stumbled upon this little jewel of a recipe.
To sweeten the deal, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: this is the easiest mac and cheese you’ll ever make. And as if that weren’t enough, my picky eater gave it thumbs up. For the kids, it has the color and consistency of a boxed macaroni and cheese, but the taste is sophisticated enough to please adults. Oh, and it’s ridiculously easy and fast to pull together, even on a weeknight. In fact, you’ll barely have enough time to finish that first glass of wine.
I used good old-fashioned sharp cheddar cheese for this, the kind my daughter eats day in and day out. I didn’t want to stray too far from her taste palette. Elbow macaroni proved easier to find than shells, although I’ve got shells on my permanent Pepperplate shopping list as that’s what Little GG expects to see in her mac and cheese. We’re a family of three so I halved the original recipe, from Amanda of Amanda’s Cooking; I also skipped the paprika and dry mustard so as not to alarm Little GG (although I can imagine the spices would only further improve the flavor).
Gluten-free update: Use your favorite gluten-free shells in this recipe. If you haven’t had luck with gluten-free pasta, see this post at Gluten-Free Girl for making a perfect pot of gluten-free pasta.
Fast, easy, kid-friendly…almost worth blowing your diet, don’t you think?!
Kid-Friendly Stove-Top Mac & Cheese
½ pound gluten-free pasta, shells or elbows preferred
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 cup milk (low-fat works fine)
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground pepper, optional
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (use regular, not reduced fat)
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle in the flour and, using a whisk, stir contantly for one minute.
- Gently warm the milk in the microwave, 25 seconds or so on high. Slowly whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture. Continuing whisking to thicken the sauce. Once the sauce is bubbling, it should be thick enough; just don’t allow the sauce to boil.
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and add the salt, pepper and shredded cheese. Stir gently until the cheese has melted and the sauce is thick.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the cheese sauce and gently combine.
- Serve hot.
Adapted from a recipe by Amanda’s Cookin’.