Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sure to please Mac-N-Cheese

My husband and I were down right addicted to Velveeta Shells and Cheese. I know, I know- shame. I made the mistake one day of reading the ingredients. I had my mission: make creamy, REAL mac-n-cheese. I tried a lot of recipes. Most were Ok and some were just gross. I realized the quality of cheese made a big difference. I only use Kraft pre-shredded cheese, the generics tended to get grainy. This can actually be a diet friendly recipe too if fat free half and half and cheese made from skim milk is used, which is what I do. Add in some broccoli, ham, tuna, peas, etc. and you have a great casserole.
Mac-N-Cheese (for a crowd)
1lb Pipette or shell pasta
1.5 cups fat free half and half
4 cups shredded cheese, I used the Kraft Mexian blend
1 egg, room temp and beaten
salt to taste
In a large pot cook pasta until just al dente, drain and return to pot. Add the 1/2 &1/2 and temper the egg and add to pasta. This will bind the cheese for freezing. If you're not going to freeze this you may omit the egg, but it does add a richness too. Adding a handful of cheese at a time, stir constantly until it desolves before adding more.
Serve, or...
Prepare to freeze by lining a baking dish with foil.
Fill the dish and wrap the foil over the top.
Freeze in the baking dish so it will retain its shape for reheating. Once frozen remove from dish and label a zip-top bag for it.
To reheat: Spray the baking dish with non stick spray, remove the mac-n-cheese from the foil and put in dish. Preheat oven to 350 and bake covered until hot (about 30-45 minutes). I sometimes add breadcrumbs to the top to make it crunchy, for this remove the lid during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
I usually serve this along side some fish sticks and lima beans for what our family lovingly refers to as School Lunch Night.
(My husband actually made fun of me for taking this picture of my son's dinner plate.)