Macaroni and Cheese

Steve went on an overnight business trip last night, which meant entertaining, feeding, bathing, and putting Super Toddler to sleep fell to me, with a huge assist from Awesome Auntie Erica who was crucial to distraction by letting Thomas eat chocolate chips on her bed and watch Yard Crashers with her.

Yes, my two year old watches Yard Crashers.  Yes, I know that’s weird.  But they have lawnmowers and weed whackers and rototillers and excavators and a guy named Ahmed who will come to your house and redo your yard for free.  I’m more about Ahmed, Thomas is more about all the crap you need to redo your yard.  His obsession with lawnmowers started last spring and never ended.  The best $2o I ever spent was on his bubble mower.  He follows Stephen around the yard when Steve’s using the real lawnmower, just trailing behind him with his little bubble mower, two guys mowing the lawn together.  It’s adorable.  But the Yard Crashers thing is something he does with his auntie.  They sit on her bed and watch Crashers together (that’s what he calls it) and talk about lawnmowers and weed whackers.  It’s hilarious and it’s awesome because some nights that’s the only way I get dinner on the table.

Moving on…

Thomas likes macaroni and cheese.  He would eat it every night if he could (although tonight he asked for spaghetti.  Maybe it’s not so much the macaroni and cheese as it is the pasta).  He would eat it in a box, with a fox, in the dark, on a train, in the rain, on a boat, with a goat – you get the idea.  He would eat it anywhere.  I will confess that he eats a fair amount of Kraft Blue Box.  There is nothing wrong with Blue Box mac n cheese.  We’ve all eaten it.  But I would prefer not to have him eat that.  The sodium, the preservatives, the yuck are all factors against it.  That being said, sometimes I really don’t have the time nor the energy to do more than boil water and throw pasta in a pot.  I refuse to judge other people’s parenting (except for that one lady at the mall that one time that I wanted to SLAP because she let her kid run around like a maniac and he pulled something down on himself and got hurt and she had the nerve to yell at one of my sales associates because the girl wasn’t babysitting her precious jewel while the mother was trying things on in a completely different area of the store.  But that was more about the fact she yelled at one my sales associates than anything else) so don’t judge mine when I tell you I sometimes feed my kid crappy junk food.  We all do it and we probably all feel guilty about it.  This is a recipe you only have to feel a tiny bit guilty about because there are no vegetables in it.  But this is truly an awesome, kid-friendly recipe.

I always double the recipe, but the milk to flour ratio never seems to work when I double the actual measurements, so I usually end up throwing in an extra tablespoon of flour to thicken the sauce.  I am not putting the doubled recipe below, just the original, because some people do eat smaller portions (one portion, according to Cooking Light [which is where I got the basics for this recipe] is only about 3/4 cup.  Which is one of the many irritating things about Cooking Light; there portions are never what actual hungry people eat).

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup 1% low fat milk (I used 2% because Thomas drinks 2% and his expires sooner than my 1%)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste, whatever)

*I used full fat medium yellow cheddar cheese because I think the sharp is too much for Thomas and also reduced fat cheese is gross.

Cook pasta according to directions and drain

In a medium saucepan, combine milk and flour over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until thickened (between 2-4 minutes).

 

Stir in shredded cheese, salt and pepper, whisking until smooth. 

Add pasta and stir to coat with sauce.  Let sit 4 minutes to thicken.

There’s more to the recipe where you can mix in homemade bread crumbs, but I don’t do that part.  It would probably be tasty, but I am more about fast with this because I usually make this when Steve’s not home and it’s just me and Thomas or me, Thomas, and Auntie.

Thomas ate two helpings of this last and practically licked the bowl clean.  He was rewarded with more chocolate chips.  Hey, Steve’s not home and I was tired.

 

Finishing his second helping.

 

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About Kristin

I never thought I would love to cook. I did everything I could to avoid learning to cook. But somewhere along the line, cooking became less of a chore and more of a way to relax and be creative. Not everything I make is a smashing success, but I've had more successes than failures. After months of trading recipes with my friends through Facebook and email, I've decided to collect all my favorites here and also document my attempts at new adventures in cooking, too.
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