Do you remember that point in your life when you imagined what it would be like to live on your own? Maybe you were a teenager and imagined having your own apartment? For me, I usually imagined what kind of food I would cook for myself. Those imagined foods always were ones that I deemed cheap and easy to cook, like ramen noodles, frozen chicken nuggets, hot dogs, cup-a-soup, and macaroni and cheese. (Though since I grew up in Canada the macaroni and cheese was called Kraft Dinner.) This was all before I set out on my own in the real world (aka university) and I literally ate more ramen noodles than I care to admit. Is that the whole point of being strapped for cash as a college student? Learning that you shouldn’t eat ramen noodles every day?
Fast forward to now and I’ve definitely learned the value of quality food and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is, literally. This recipe doesn’t require fancy cooking skills or expensive ingredients and it was close enough to a boxed version of macaroni and cheese to give you the nostalgia factor from when you were a kid.
Easy Macaroni and Cheese
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)
- 2/3 pound dried elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- dash pepper
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- chopped chives for garnish (optional)
Cook elbow macaroni in boiling water until tender but firm, approximately 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside. In the same pot that you cooked the pasta in, melt the butter over medium heat then whisk in the flour and pepper. Add the milk all at once and whisk to fully combined the flour mixture into the milk. Cook until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add the cheese stirring until the cheese is fully melted. Stir in the cooked macaroni and return to heat until heated throughout. Serve immediately. Garnish with chopped chives if desired.
This meal was a lifesaver on a very hot evening when I was pressed for time. My previously posted recipe for baked macaroni and cheese just wouldn’t have been pleasant that night. My son said that he prefered the baked version because he likes the crunchy cheese better.