Thursday, April 5, 2012

Macaroni with Homemade Cheese Sauce

Delicious and creamy, in my opinion home-made cheese sauce tastes way better and is a lot simpler to prepare than you might think. This sauce can be used in mac n cheese, over vegetables, or any other way you like cheese sauce! I like preparing simple convenience foods myself because I can often make them taste better and I know exactly what I'm feeding my family. The nutmeg is my secret ingredient, it really does wonders for savory dishes. My little sister adores my Macaroni and Cheese, and even learned to make it herself, which is a lot for a girl who hates cooking.

1 1/2 cups dry macaroni noodles.
2 TBS butter
2 TBS Flour
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese. I like 1/2 sharp cheddar 1/2 mild cheddar. But customize it by using whatever you like.
Salt and Pepper to taste
Nutmeg, a dash or two

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare macaroni as directed on package.

For Cheese Sauce:

In a sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and whisk until it becomes a tad pasty (you just made a roux) Place milk in microwavable container and heat for 1 minute to take the chill off. This will help the milk blend with the roux and thicken nicely without clumping. Slowly whisk in warmed milk. Continue to whisk until thickened. Remove from heat, add cheese, stir until melted. Add seasonings. If sauce is too thick, add more milk until it is the consistency you like. Lately, I've been adding more milk for a creamier sauce.

If you like baked macaroni and cheese, mix it all together, place in a casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs, dot with butter,  and bake at 350 for 15-20 mins until the top is browned.

Quick Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe came from a friend. Now, I'm all for making the sauce from scratch, using fresh vegetables that I chopped and prepared myself, lovingly preparing my own pie crust, but, this is a quick and delicious way to get a wholesome, homemade meal on the table for your family.

1 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 c. frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
1/8 tsp. pepper (ok, who measures 1/8 tsp.? A dash of pepper, people.)
3/4 c. milk (split into 1/4 and 1/2 cups)
1 egg
1 c. Bisquick Baking Mix

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In 9" pie plate, mix chicken, vegetables, soup, pepper and 1/4 c. milk.
2. Mix remaining milk (1/2 c.), egg and baking mix. Pour over chicken mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until golden.

Serves 4.