When we list macaroni and cheese on the menu at our house, there is a family understanding that it will always be homemade. We prefer homemade to Kraft. And for one of our girls, homemade is the only variety she will eat without complaint.
My mission to find a quick, easy, and inexpensive homemade mac & cheese recipe began back in the days when I was doing childcare out of our home. USDA guidelines for daycare kiddos only allowed the traditional boxed variety to count as a grain option on the list of nutrition guidelines. If I wanted to fulfill my protein requirement at meals, I had to serve something suitable alongside the boxed mac & cheese. Homemade was a different story, though. I could serve it and get my grain and protein requirements checked off at once.
With seven children under the age of twelve crawling and running around my feet as I prepared lunch every day, it seemed ludicrous to make any more food than was necessary. So, I searched. And altered. And eventually came up with the recipe you see below.
Sometimes, I shake things up and add a can of Campbell’s cheddar or nacho cheese soup. Occasionally I do not have enough cheddar cheese on hand and I make substitutions. Pretty much any short pasta (shells, spirals, bowties) could be substituted for the macaroni. The sauce can also be made with milk, instead of water. It’s a pretty flexible recipe.
- 1 lb. dried macaroni noodles
- 1 T. butter
- 1 1/2 T. flour
- 1 cup water
- 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
- Cook macaroni noodles according to manufacturer instructions.
- While pasta cooks, melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add flour and whisk together. Gradually add 1 cup water, whisking constantly to avoid clumping, until completely combined. Increase heat to medium high, while continuing to stir. Cook until sauce is thick and bubbly.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to pan. Stir in sauce. Add cheddar cheese and stir well.
What is your favorite macaroni & cheese recipe? Send me an email or comment below!