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Monday, December 31, 2012

Mac and Cheese - Quick, Easy and not from a Box

Comfort food on cold snowy days has to include Macaroni and Cheese. It's so easy to make from scratch.  Here's what you need to keep on hand:
Milk
Kraft Cracker Barrel® Sharp Cheddar Cheese (you can use other sharp cheese)
Creamette® Macaroni
Flour
Salt
Pepper
Butter
Now for the two secret ingrediants
McCormick® Dry Mustard and McCormick® Cayenne Pepper

I must take a minute here to comment on the Cheese. This is important because it is the taste of the dish. Cracker Barrel Cheddar is made down the street in Wisconsin. So what, you say. I know the cheese makers and in conversations I have learned that milk for central Wisconsin produces the finest Cheddar Cheese in the world. We have two Cheese plants in my little town and both, year after year win international cheese competitions. These plants sell their cheese to Kraft. That's why, for the best flavor I recommend Kraft Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

The way I make macaroni and cheese breaks all the rules but it will always be perfect and so easy to make. Notice there are no measurements.  That's how incredibly easy this is.

Here we go.

In a Sauce pan of rapidly boiling water add 1 tablespoon of salt and  2 cups of macaroni noodles.  (see instructions below on cooking macaroni)
While the macaroni is cooking grate about 1 1/2 cup of cheese (or you can buy the pre shredded cheese and then just use one 8 oz package)
When the pasta is cooked, drain and place back in the pan. Turn the heat down just a little.
Now plop in 2 tablespoons or there about of butter followed by 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir to melt the butter and mix the flour with the butter.
Add enough milk to bee seen but not cover the pasta (this is about 2 cups) I just pour it in until I can see the milk. If you don't add enough, you can always add more later. This is a very forgiving process.
Add 1 tsp of Dry Mustard, 1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper, 1tsp of salt, and a sprinkle of black pepper.
Stir until the milk thickens to the consistency of gravy. It should pour off the spoon (again if it is too thick add more milk). When the milk mixture has thickened and is bubbling add the cheese and stir to mix. That's it, you're done.

If you want to dress up your Mac and Cheese with a Tex-Mex flair, serve with  a dollop of Ro-Tel® Tomato and Green Chili and a side of Tostitos® Corn Chips. Comfort food at it's best.


If you are new to cooking pasta here's the skinny.
Add 1 tablespoon salt to 3 quarts rapidly boiling water in deep kettle. Drop 2 cups macaroni into the boiling water gradually so water keeps boiling. Cook, uncovered, at fast boil, stirring occasionally with long fork to prevent sticking. Cook just until tender ( see time on package). Test by fishing out on noodle and eating it, if not done cook 1 minute longer.

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