Shine Supper Club this month asked us to make our favorite childhood memory recipe. My problem, I could not decide. 1st, I sent in a grilled cheese recipe. What says kid more than a grilled cheese? But I kept getting a nag in the back of my head for Macaroni ‘n Cheese. Now, this may be more from my kids generation but there is nothing that enables an adult to think that he is eating mature food but be eating kid food like Macaroni ‘n Cheese. So I have decided that this should be my post.
My Mac ‘n Cheese is really becoming a big request of family and friends. The night before this recipe and pic, my youngest had his molars removed. No, he could not eat this recipe but his friends could. His friends all came by with ice cream in hand. It is amazing my son did not get sick. After the friends brought the ice cream, his girlfriend came by with a chocolate shake. He continued to hang out with his girlfriend and around 9:30 pm, he walks into the room with a request for Mac ‘n Cheese for his girlfriend – he still could not eat anything solid.
But this is not about that mac ‘n cheese. The next night, my son came home from school and said, dad I am coming home for dinner and can I invite some friends too? I was planning to cook fish for my wife and me. She said you can’t do that for the boys. Plan B, steak and Mac ‘n Cheese.
Making homemade Mac ‘n Cheese is so much better than the stuff in a box and it does not take much longer to make. The key is the roux. No recipe needed. Equal parts of butter and flour. I have tried a number of different liquids to create the bachemel – the white sauce – but my favorite is using coconut milk and chicken stock. Now experience means I do not measure out the stock I add to the one can of coconut milk. I am looking for a certain thickness to the sauce. Then I start adding the cheese and again, I am looking for a certain thickness. Just practice it for yourself, it is so worth it.
Ingredients (as noted above, I am doing some estimating here):
- 2 boxes of your favorite pasta
- 3 tbsp each butter and flour
- 1 – 15 oz can of coconut milk
- 3/4 cup of chicken stock (Estimate)
- 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup of mozzarella
In a pot with salted water, cook the pasta. Be sure to barely cook it enough. It will continue to cook in the cheese sauce.
In a saute pan, start by melting the butter on medium heat. Add the flour and mix until you almost have a paste. Turn your heat up to medium high and pour in 1/2 of the coconut milk and stir until fully absorbed. Your roux will still have some consistency to it. After mixing in the rest of the coconut milk, slowly start to add in the stock. Add the stock slowly because you do not want your bechamel to get runny. Since you are cooking on higher heat, it will continue to thicken up.
When the bechamel is done, begin to add the cheeses one handful at a time. I rotate putting in each cheese. Be sure to let the cheese fully melt before adding in the next batch. When the cheese is incorporate, I add in the drained pasta directly into the pan. Not done yet. I finish by adding some more cheddar on top and baking in a 325 degree oven for maybe 5 minutes. Now you can enjoy!