I’m all for made-from-scratch food. In fact, I buy almost no prepared foods (I draw the line at making my own ketchup – but my friend Judy is working on me to try her recipe). My mother worried out loud recently that she is concerned that I might start making my own soap. I am certain that there are rules against such outlandish behavior in West LA – but it warms my heart that these are the things my mother worries about.
No one in my household has EVER been willing to eat boxed Mac and Cheese. In fact, when my kids were quite young and the thoughtful mothers of their childhood friends tried to feed them boxed Mac for dinner they (my children) rejected it outright (oh please let them have said, “no THANK YOU” rather than “who are you kidding?”) For a long time they claimed that they despised Mac and Cheese (the only American children to do so, of that I’m certain). I finally made them a fancy Mac and Cheese recipe out of a well-worn Martha Stewart cookbook (Martha Stewart’s Favorite Comfort Food – now out-of-print but available at Amazon both new and used for $8). I love Martha’s Mac. It is one of those elegant macaroni recipes that includes three delicious kinds of cheeses melded into a mouthwatering cheese sauce known to bring grown men to their knees (including my husband). Unfortunately, it’s a bit decadent for my kids and certainly shortens a person’s lifespan every time they consume it. I’ve invented a solution. I call it Cheater Mac. It’s made from scratch, has five ingredients (six if you count salt), takes ten minutes to make and is WAY better than boxed Mac, and I mean WAY better. Give it a shot. You won’t go back to the box.
Cheater Mac (4-6 side servings)
- 8 ounces of small pasta (elbow macaroni always works)
- 2 tablespoons best quality butter
- 1 ½ cups grated Mexican cheese blend (how did I live without this?)
- ½ cup 2% milk
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Turn off the burner. Drain and return pasta to cooking pot. Immediately add the butter so that the noodles don’t stick together. Stir until butter melts. Turn burner back on to low. Add the grated Mexican cheese, the milk and Parmesan cheese, and stir well until blended. Taste. I find that we like it better with a teaspoon of salt. You may prefer it without the additional salt. Try it without first and if it needs salt, add it. Serve immediately. See – it’s good, isn’t it? Way, way better than the boxed stuff and so easy to make.