First of all, I’d like to welcome all the new folks who found me over the weekend from Lizzie’s Tips For Everyday Living! So glad you’ve found all the deliciousness on Bakerlady. Thank you for your many kind comments and for sharing your memories of Banana Pudding with me. You made my weekend full of joy. I love new friends. You guys helped push my little blog over a million all time hits on Saturday. I’m amazed by all of your willingness to put up with my ramblings. I have the best readers ever! Ok, enough sappy love fest-ness. On to some deliciousness.
Not gonna lie. I’m a pushover for the Kraft mac n’ cheese. I’m a total foodie, so it’s a little embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. I get a hankerin’ for it now and then and nothing else will do. Devastating fact of the week: my kids won’t eat it. I know. They are the most bizarre children ever. Madison had a severe dairy allergy from the time she was 1 until she turned three and blessedly grew out of it, so macaroni and cheese was not something she ever ate. I tried making a dairy free, soy cheese version once. Yeah. Just once. A single gag inducing bite later and the whole pot was in the trash. When she suddenly was fine with dairy again, I celebrated by doing a happy dance, then melting butter into powdery orange cheese from the blue box. Alas, she wouldn’t eat it. I was heartbroken.
I thought surely my son would be on my side of the mac n’ cheese fence, but he too refuses to consume it. Why God? Why would you do this to me?? I finally decided last week to make some from scratch. They are too aware of what’s going on in the kitchen at this point, I can’t trick them into thinking I made Kraft myself because they always see that bright packaging and just won’t touch it. Also, I would never intentionally lie to my children so they’ll eat something. Ha! Yeah, that’s not a truthful statement. I’m just not smart enough to fool them. So, I had to find a recipe that would come close to the cheesy deliciousness I yearn for, that I could tell my kids was “NOT” from the blue box. This is it. Gooey creamy cheesy with rich flavor and perfect balance, it is ah-mazing. I was a little unsure about the recipe because it had eggs and evaporated milk in it, but Alton Brown has never failed me, so I gave it a whirl. I’m so glad I did.
My husband said it was incredible. That it was “better the next day reheated than fresh from the blue box.” And he’s got lots of love for that blue box. Many evenings early in our marriage we’d take down a couple of boxes together. Ah, the good old days. Anyway, this recipe will give you all the rich cheesy goodness you want. I’m glad I made a double batch because I couldn’t stop stuffing my face with it. The ultimate test was my kids and the jury is still out on them. We had this with some steamed cauliflower, which was devoured (seriously, I have the strangest kids in the world). The mac n’ cheese was tried only after the veggies were gone and they didn’t eat a whole lot of it. They did both say it was yummy though. And that’s a vast improvement over the “Yuck! I don’t like it!” that Kraft gets. If you have normal children, they will love this stuff. Look at all that glorious cheese. Mmmmmmm.
Alton Brown’s Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese
Source: Alton Brown, Food Network
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tbsp. butter
6 oz. evaporated milk
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for boiling
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. stone ground mustard
10 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I only had medium in the house, so that’s what I used)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a sprinkling of salt, then boil your noodles according to package directions. Once al dente, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the butter and stir until butter has melted.
Meanwhile, in a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk, cayenne, 1 tsp. salt, pepper and mustard. Once the noodles are cooked, drained and the butter has melted, stir the milk mixture into the noodles until incorporated. Add in the cheese and stir over low heat until cheese has melted, approximately 3 minutes. Serve immediately.