I’ve been racking my brain trying to recall if I’ve ever eaten any homemade mac ‘n cheese, but all I’ve come up with is a big fat goose egg. Any time this comfort food appeared on our kitchen table, there was an accompanying blue box in the trashcan under the sink. Even though Kraft sells an amusing array of pasta shapes like Scooby Doo and Spongebob, I knew homemade just had to be more satisfying.
With all of the Christmas shopping and wrapping to do, I didn’t find my way into the kitchen to make “M” until Christmas Eve. My family dressed up in beautiful dresses and crisp slacks to go to the traditional church service, which finally ended just before dinnertime. We raced home, but since people complained about being hungry even as we drove back, I unlocked the door, threw aside my keys, and immediately began pulling out ingredients without changing out of my Sunday (err, Friday night) best. I click-clacked around the kitchen in tall silver heels, trying to avoid both spilling cheesy sauce on my nice dress and tripping over our dog, who parked himself in the middle of the kitchen floor. After lots of stirring, grating, and stirring some more, I had a pot full of comforting, cheddary mac and a very unorthodox Christmas Eve dinner.
Macaroni & Cheese
taken from The Best Light Recipe
The authors say not to use pre-shredded cheese because it has lost some of its moisture, and I definitely agree. It’s worth grating your own for this delicious dish, and the best part is that you can’t even tell that it’s “light”!
2 c. dry elbow macaroni
¾ c. 2% milk, divided
1 (12 oz) can reduced-fat evaporated milk
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp dry mustard
2 tsp cornstarch
8 oz reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
- Fill a large pot half full with water and bring to a boil. Add 1-2 tsp salt (opt.) and pasta, and cook according to package directions, until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Return the large pot to the stove. Pour in the evaporated milk, ½ c. of the 2% milk, salt, and mustard. Heat it to boiling, stirring frequently. Let boil for 1 minute.
- Whisk the cornstarch into the remaining ¼ c. of 2% milk and add to the hot milk mixture. Reduce to a simmer, still stirring, and let simmer for about 2 minutes or until it begins to thicken.
- Remove pot from heat and whisk in cheddar, about ¼ c. at a time. Once cheese sauce is smooth, pour in macaroni pasta and stir until it’s all coated. Let sit for 2-5 minutes while the sauce thickens, then serve immediately.
Our Studio Kitchen says...
I’m giving you a Liebster award to go with your other 2. 🙂 I enjoy your blog and love the idea of cooking through the alphabet. http://ourstudiokitchen.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/liebster-award/
foods for the soul says...
Wow, thank you so much! I’m really touched and honored that you’d select me.
Stacy Crnkovich says...
Thank you so much for this healthy version on one of my favorite comfort foods! Made this 2night for my hubby and I, and said it was the best part of his day 🙂 I added a large fresh cut jalapeno to mine, we like to have spice in everything we eat. The cheese sauce was amazing! And we used whole grain macaroni.
I’m so glad you and your husband liked it, Stacy! The whole grain pasta and jalapeño sound like great modifications. I’ll have to remember that!
Can you use something else to replace the evaporated milk i would to make this tonight but dont have the evaporated milk
I haven’t tried any substitutions before Nina. However, evaporated milk is basically milk that has had lots of its water content removed, so MyRecipes suggests simmering 2 + 1/4 cups regular milk until it reduces down to 1 cup.
I don’t know what I did wrong!! After bringing the evaporated milk mixture to a boil, my sauce didn’t thicken like you said it would. Any suggestions on how I may have messed up? Thanks!
Did you add the cornstarch slurry Caitlyn? The cornstarch is what actually thickens the sauce. If 2 teaspoons of cornstarch didn’t work for you, try increasing by an additional ½ to 1 teaspoon. I hope the next batch turns out perfectly for you!