Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Homemade Mac and Cheese

One of the kids' favorite recipes, mine and my husband's too, is homemade mac and cheese.  I mean, pasta and cheese, how can you go wrong? As much as I love me some Velveeta Shells and Cheese, it's not something I want to be giving H and B on a regular basis.  Too much sodium and processed food, not enough real cheese,.

If you search the internet for Mac and Cheese recipes you'll find hundreds of different variations. Bread crumbs, sour cream, Gruyere and other fancy cheeses. The list of add ins and special ways to make it are endless.  

We prefer a really simple recipe that has 3 ingredients. Pasta, cottage cheese and shredded cheese.  It is simple, delicious, and if you want to add in other items or change up the flavor with different cheeses, you easily can.  

A few nights ago I tried to turn my trusty side dish into a main course by adding mixed veggies and chopped chicken.  The results were good, but I'll probably stick to keeping it as a side dish. 

When I used to make this for just Rob and I, I would use elbow macaroni.  Now I usually use cavatappi.  It's easy for the kids to grab onto and I like the flavor. Rotini is another option that's really great for little hands.  

I usually use a combination of sharp cheddar and colby jack cheese.  Use whatever type of shredded cheese you have on hand.  I also usually use 4% milk fat small curd cottage cheese since fat it important for the kids.  I have used 1% large curd, and it works just as well.  

1 box cavatappi or other pasta
1 16 oz package cottage cheese
1 16 oz package shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Fill large, Dutch oven size, saucepan 2/3 full with water. Generously salt your pasta water and bring to a boil.

2. Add pasta to water and cook over med-hi heat until pasta is fully cooked. Drain pasta.  

3. Mix cottage cheese, cooked pasta and 8 oz shredded cheese.  Spread in a greased 13x9 baking dish. 

4. Sprinkle remaining 8oz of cheese on top of pasta mixture.  Bake at 350* for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. 

Notes: Make sure you salt your pasta water.  It makes a huge difference in the flavor of the pasta.  If you want to add in chicken, veggies, beef, do so after mixing the pasta and cheeses.  Adding milk or heavy cream to the mixture if needed still yields a good result.  I have not frozen the max and cheese before, but I can say it does keep well in the fridge for up to a week and reheats well in the microwave. I have never added breadcrumbs, but I'm sure they would add a good textural element and nice flavor.    

Happy cooking!

1 comment:

  1. This looks delish!