Do you know any kids who don’t like macaroni and cheese? I’ve met maybe two in my life. For me, there is nothing better than the homemade version. Although this is easy to make and great for feeding a crowd, it takes a little more time to prepare and bake than I have on a weeknight, so I save it for the weekend. If your kids are open to trying other things in their mac, mix in some peas, chopped broccoli, diced chicken or ham. Serve with a salad and a glass of wine for the grown-ups.
9 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb macaroni shells or fusilli
6 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups 2% or whole milk, heated
2 1/2 cups mild or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup bread crumbs, unseasoned (plain or Panko)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a 2 ½-quart baking dish or 9 X 13” glass dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add two generous pinches of salt. When the water returns to a boil, add the macaroni. Cook until barely tender, about 10 minutes or according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. When the foam begins to subside, whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Do not let the flour brown! Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and boils, about 5 minutes. Add the Cheddar cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. (By the way, this cheese sauce is awesome on broccoli or other veggies by itself! It’s how my mom got us eating broccoli when we were little.) When the macaroni is ready, drain well and place in a large bowl. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and stir gently to mix. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into bits and use to dot the surface. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve at once.
Recipe adapted by Amanda Haas from Halloween Treats by Donata Maggipinto
Amanda Haas is a cookbook author and founder of the website One Family One Meal, which provides free recipes, menu plans, and shopping lists to parents who want to cook healthy meals their entire family will love. Her most recent book project is Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Roasting, Revised Edition.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.