Monday, April 19, 2010

Mac and cheese for big kids!

I am a big fan of casseroles. One dish, all the meal elements, nice and easy! One of my favorites is macaroni and cheese. I did not grow up with home-made mac and cheese. I grew up with the stuff in the blue box. I even like the stuff in the blue box! But once I learned how easy the "real" stuff is, I make that more than the boxed stuff. In the same amount of time it takes to boil the noodles, I make a cheese sauce to go over it. So the idea that the home made version takes longer, is harder, whatever, is just silly.

A standard cheese sauce starts with a roux. Butter and flour. Well, margarine for me, since that's what I have! I started my pan with olive oil, onion, broccoli, zucchini and garlic. Then I put in the margarine and flour. Once the roux was ready I added the milk. I used half skim and half soy. Then came the good part: the cheese! I used close to a pound of cheese in this sauce. There is no point to mac and cheese if it isn't going to be cheesy! I used a combination of cheddar and Edam cheeses. Mostly cheddar, though. The sauce took on a beautiful color, and was thick, creamy and gooey - I was really looking forward to this dinner!

One of the most fun aspects of making your own mac and cheese is choosing your own shape of pasta. Sure, I could have used the standard elbow macaroni. I even had some and thought about it. Instead I chose to use pipette. These were about the same size as macaroni, but a little heartier and, in my silly opinion, cuter. Once the sauce was mixed in I layered some extra slices of cheddar on top (again, it's gotta be cheesy!) and popped it into the oven.

While dinner was baking I made Little Girl her own version. I am holding off on giving Little Girl dairy because of my own lactose issues, so I had to give her something different. But I like for her food to be as similar as possible to ours. So what could I use to make her pasta have the same kind of color and texture as ours? Squash! Little Girl seemed to enjoy her pasta, and it really did look remarkably similar to ours!
And how was ours? It was gooey, it was cheesy, it was just what I was hoping it would be!

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