Wednesday, March 17, 2010

40 Meatless Meals: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 c butter (or margarine)
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 c milk
2 c shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook and drain macaroni as directed on package.
Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour, salt, pepper, mustard, and Worchestershire sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Whisk in milk and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
Mix with the macaroni and bake in an uncovered casserole dish 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 4 generous servings

There is LOTS of room for variation in this recipe. You can add vegetables, tuna, or meat or change the seasonings. You can vary the pasta shape or the type of cheese. (I think a sharp cheddar gives the nicest flavor.)

You don't have to bake it; just serve it directly from the stovetop. It doesn't get that nice, crunchy top, but it's fully cooked and fast to make. If you don't bake it, you might want to cook the macaroni slightly longer. Cook it to al dente if you plan to bake it.

I teach a junior high food prep class and they love this recipe. It takes about the same amount of time as that nasty, orange, boxed stuff but it's rich and creamy and doesn't taste like salt.

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