I LOVE homemade mac and cheese. I don’t think there is anyone out there that doesn’t. If you don’t, then you are definitely strange, and maybe not of this planet. Just kidding!
I’ve tried a lot of homemade mac and cheese recipes, as well as boxed kinds. Usually the homemade ones featured on blogs or in cookbooks are fancified versions. (Is that a word? If it wasn’t before, it is now.) When I say fancified, I mean that the recipe usually calls for three cheeses, exotic cheeses even, like gruyere, swiss, and cheddar, with additions of broccoli, bacon, and even lobster. I just wanted to make a basic, simple, easy homemade mac and cheese recipe that was yummy. So I did.
How did I come up with this one exactly? Well, it’s actually inspired by Brio Tuscan Grille’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Oh my gosh – have you been? You must go, and try this dip!! You will not be disappointed. It’s delicious!!
Any-hoo, Alexandra and I ordered this dip and were amazed, like o-m-g-this-is-to-die-for amazed. When we asked about the dip’s ingredients, we expected this fancy explanation of hard to find Italian cheeses, but she said… American cheese. Say wwhhhat? Yep. Just American cheese. Apparently a lot of it. But plain and simple, nothing fancy, American cheese. So it got me thinking, why do we always want to complicate or “fancify” mac and cheese?
I went to my local grocery store and asked for a chunk of American cheese. The guy behind the deli counter gave me a funny look but then enthusiastically cut a chunk that I could have made enough mac and cheese to feed a small army with. I asked for about an inch in width… he gave me three. Apparently he’s not good at eye balling. Maybe he’s an overachiever like me. 🙂
I rushed home with my oversized chunk of American cheese, got to shredding, put a pot of pasta to boiling, melted butter, stirred in flour, milk, added the cheese and voila, had an amazing homemade mac and cheese in 20 minutes. Yep, no lie, 20 minutes. It’s so easy, you can throw it together for the kids for lunch or for a quick supper for the whole family. Add some grilled chicken (or chicken nuggets), toss a salad in a bowl, and done. It just doesn’t get easier than this. Did I mention it was amazing? And creamy? So creamy. YUM!!
P.S. The pasta I used (that’s pictured in the recipe above) was Gluten Free Quinoa pasta. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. We like the brand Andean Dream that we picked up at Whole Foods.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk (I used non-fat)
- *If you would like a creamier texture, add a quarter cup of either half and half or heavy cream.
- 4 cups of American cheese, shredded (I used 2 cups Yellow and 2 cups White)
- 8 ounces of pasta - your choice but I prefer elbows
- ½ cup toasted bread crumbs
- Cook your favorite pasta according to package directions.
- Shred your chunks of American cheeses to measure 4 cups.
- While pasta is cooking, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a separate pan.
- Once melted, slowly sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour into butter, stirring constantly until blended.
- Slowly pour 1 cup of milk into the butter and flour mixture, whisking until smooth and creamy.
- Next, add the shredded cheeses and keep stirring until blended.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain, and return to the pot.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the drained pasta and mix until combined.
- Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs and serve.
Take bread crumbs and place in a dry pan set at medium heat.
Slowly toast the crumbs, stirring and tossing as they crisp up.
Watch carefully so they don't burn.