feeding the family · finances · food · recipes

Piano Payment #3: Macaroni & Cheese Casserole

Well. We missed three weeks of piano lessons in a row due to illness. Our teacher’s family had strep and the flu, then we had strep, then they had strep again. Finally, last week, we got to return to our normal schedule. Yay!

Miss A said her kids are really enjoying my cooking, which is fabulous, because when I made this last time at home, Little Man said, “Yuck!”. He proceeded to eat two bowls of it, though, and the next day, he said, “I don’t know what my problem was.” It was during our red-dye-amoxicillin fiasco week, though, so…and, he is currently a six year old boy who claims to hate vegetables.

Whatever.

piano 3

Miss A’s kids loved it, and it’s been a hit at our house every other time. I usually serve this with garlic bread or blueberry muffins, and some sort of fruit (homemade applesauce, more often than not).

Macaroni & Cheese Casserole

  • Macaroni (or whatever smallish pasta you have on hand) – enough for your family
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2-3 cups of milk
  • 2-3 cups of extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • dijon mustard (a squirt or two, or a tablespooon)
  • salt & pepper
  • cooked shredded chicken OR browned ground beef (I like to cook a bucnh of meat at once and freeze it in meal-sized portions for meals like this)
  • 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables

Cook the pasta in a large pot of water, following the directions on the box. When there is about a minute left, add the frozen vegetables. Once the water comes to a simmer again, drain. Then you will add the sauce you have prepared:

Melt the butter* in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and whisk. Let it cook for a minute. Add about half of your milk, and whisk continuously, getting rid of lumps, and making sure that the flour & butter doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once it begins to thicken, add the rest of your milk, and whisk until it thickens. Once this mixture has thickened to your likeness**, add in the cheese. Stir to melt. Add the mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Add in your cooked meat to heat through.

Add the cheese/meat sauce to your pasta and veggies, and stir to coat. I serve this in bowls, sprinkling it with extra cheese.

*This is a basic roux, and the main thing to remember is the ratio 1:1:1:1. You want 1 tbsp of fat (butter) to 1 tbsp thickener (flour) to 1 cup of milk to 1 cup of cheese. You can make 1 cup of cheese sauce or 12, as long as your maintain that ratio.

**Sometimes I don’t wait for the milk to thicken much; I just add the cheese. It tends to thicken as it sits in the pasta pot. But I’ve been making this for years, so…try it and see what you like!

Enjoy!

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