Anyone who read yesterday’s blog understands how little time I actually spent at home and how little time I had to spend on dinner. On one of our trips from school my littlest just happened to mention that he wanted macaroni and cheese for dinner. I began to envision my lack of time made easier by the convenience of a little blue box...
Many hours later when we finally staggered in from the car and I started seriously thinking, “What’s for dinner,” my mind revisited the idea of that little blue box. But something stopped me and reminded me of my (MUCH OLDER) friend Renée’s story of how her college-aged daughter and her new fiancé (the daughter’s, not Renée’s) just happened to stop in on homemade mac & cheese night. It was the kind of experience that all of us moms dream of ~ one where we feel that our miniscule but repetitive efforts (like attempting to cook dinner [almost] every night) have had some positive impact on one or more of our children. And some part of my weary brain must have wondered what would have a more positive impact on my family ~ little blue box or homemade ~ because next thing I know I had Renée on the phone asking for her non-bake recipe. (I already had her baked mac & cheese recipe, but didn’t want to have to turn the oven on.)
Her answer? White sauce, cheese and noodles. My weary brain went D’OH!
So, here it is, my version of Renée’s white sauce, cheese and noodles.
M’s Version of Renée’s No Cook Mac & Cheese
16 ounces favorite noodles, dry (my husband prefers shells or rotini, but use whatever you like best; you can even go with macaroni!)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour (I used cake flour because there happened to be a container of it on my counter)
1½ cups milk
1½ cups cheese (any kind you like best; I used my usual cheddar jack with about 1 tablespoon of stinky cheese)
Cook noodles in large saucepan according to directions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan. Add flour and stir or whisk to remove lumps. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until sauce becomes thick and bubbly. (Just as it begins to boil. You don’t have to stir constantly, but keep an eye on it. You want to be there to stir as it gets to the bubbling point. It probably won’t ruin your sauce if you aren’t but it seems to help.) Remove from heat or reduce heat to low and stir in cheese just until melted.
Drain noodles and return to large saucepan. Pour cheese sauce over noodles and stir.
I added just a dash of season salt. I wanted to add some garlic and maybe a few other things, but I remembered when I was a kid begging my mom not to put those green things (basil) in my tomato soup and restrained myself. The kids gobbled it up, and even my husband, who said he wasn’t hungry, managed to eat his share.
One pan (ok 2) cooking, and it honestly didn't take any longer than the blue box kind!
With a simple green salad. (Love the butter leaf!) Paper plate? Why no, that’s one of my beautiful yellow and orange porcelain plates, thank you. We never eat off of paper plates.
What’s that? Wow, you’re right, the plate maker’s logo does look a lot like a Dixie symbol...