When I’m in the mood for comfort food, macaroni ‘n’ cheese is where it’s at. I like pretty much all kinds of this carb-loaded, gooey, savory favorite among children and adults alike.
It took me years to make it from scratch, though. I think it was because I actually liked the cheap boxed mixes. There’s something strange about that orange powder mix. I know it’s probably bad for me (and certainly doesn’t count as “cheese”), but I ate a TON of it growing up, and in college it’s pretty much what I survived on. For $0.25 a box, you really couldn’t go wrong as a poor college kid.
However, a few years ago I bought the Taste of Home Cookbook: Cooks Who Care Edition, and it had a recipe for Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese for Two. I thought it would be a good thing to try out, since it includes actual cheese, and only makes enough for two people. I’m not big on leftovers, so this seemed perfect.
Let me tell you – if you ever want to try out a super easy and very tasty macaroni ‘n’ cheese from scratch…give this one a shot! I will admit that it doesn’t look great at first, but once it’s cooked and stirred up, it looks and tastes pretty awesome. You don’t have to make a roue, you don’t have to stir endlessly, you just put it in the oven.
Sure, it’s not exactly the same as the orange powder mix version…but it’s still pretty damn good.
The ingredients couldn’t be any simpler. I used whole wheat rotini pasta instead of elbow pasta, but you can really use whatever you want. I’ve made this with orzo, bowties, linguine…it really works with whatever you’ve got. Then you just need cheese, and I went with the traditional sharp cheddar. You can really use any good melting cheese you want – I’ve used fontina, colby, and even once added blue cheese (I didn’t like it, but my husband sure did!). I also swapped out the skim milk for soy milk because it’s what we had in the house. Honestly…doesn’t affect the flavor at all, so use what you want! The sour cream is a non-negotiable for me, but I guess if you wanted to get fancy, you could swap it out for creme fraiche.
The other cool thing about this recipe is that it makes a tiny bit too much sauce, which means you can easily add other things to this to “beef it up.” I usually add broccoli, but you could also add things like cauliflower, ham, peas, tuna, or whatever else you can think of!
(I learned this trick on another blog this week to keep the water from boiling over. I can’t remember which blog I saw this on…but it worked!)
I will warn you that when it comes out of the oven, it doesn’t look like macaroni ‘n’ cheese just yet. But stir it up, and trust me, it’ll all come together magically!
The only trouble I’ve run into with this recipe is reheating it the next day (which rarely happens…we usually polish this off every time I make it). If microwaving it, I found that adding a tablespoon of milk to it seems to help keep it creamy.
There you go – another recipe done! I have made this one so many times that I can pretty much remember it by heart, and it has become quite a staple in our house. My husband loves it, and actually prefers it to the store-bought versions.
I really like it, but I also know that sometimes, only the orange powder mix will do. 🙂