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Homemade Macaroni and Cheese: The Topic


Florida Jim
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Mine's similar to the dead-simple, and much better than the blue box:

 

1/2 pound elbow macaroni noodles

water

salt

 

4 oz grated cheddar

4 oz cubed American cheese

4 tbsp butter

1/2 cup half and half

 

Cook the noodles until al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add butter, cheeses, milk to pot. Stir over low heat until cheese is all melted. Dig in.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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Although I remember my own Mother's Macaroni and Cheese recipe with great fondness, I have no idea how she made it.  Not like any other I've ever tasted.

 

And the very first thing I ever learned to cook at age 7, taught by my long-time friend, Rosie, was Kraft Dinner.  That was 1948.

 

Ed is the Macaroni and Cheese maker in our family and here's his Mother's recipe:

 

Mom's Macaroni

2 1/2 cups elbow macaroni

2 large onions

1 large can of tomatoes (he likes diced)

2 1/2 cups shredded cheese (26 oz)  Ed usually uses sharp Cheddar (Canadian) 

crushed saltines (I don't know the amount)

salt & peppers

Saute onion to clear.  Cook macaroni.  

 

Good heavens that's the end of the recipe.  I know he bakes it in the oven, but there are no instructions here.  I'll get back with the rest when I can wrest it from him.  Talk about like Mother like son.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

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I remember my brother going on a Boy Scout outing in the 50's when the boys had to provide their own food within a certain dollar amount.  One item he took was Kraft mac 'n cheese at $0.07 cents a box.

How times have changed.

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I'd recommend cavatapi rigati instead of traditional macaroni.  A little bigger...more forkable...still looks like macaroni. 

 

I make it with a cheese bechamel, a shot of sriracha, and diced canned tomatoes that have had the water squeezed out.  Still not fine dining, but way better than the Kraft/mondelez stuff. 

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4 hours ago, Darienne said:

Although I remember my own Mother's Macaroni and Cheese recipe with great fondness, I have no idea how she made it.  Not like any other I've ever tasted.

 

And the very first thing I ever learned to cook at age 7, taught by my long-time friend, Rosie, was Kraft Dinner.  That was 1948.

 

The year I popped.  I don't recall ever cooking macaroni and cheese or having been served it.  Kraft or otherwise.  Maybe someday I shall try it.

 

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16 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

The year I popped.  I don't recall ever cooking macaroni and cheese or having been served it.  Kraft or otherwise.  Maybe someday I shall try it.

 

Mac and cheese never impresses me, even my own. I make it when it's presence is needed by guests who like salads with jello and marshmallows.

But  Kraft is vile, made with powdered cheese product, and seems like what one would find in an MRE eaten during a lull in combat. 

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Yes, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, or Kraft Dinner, as our Canadian friends call it has become vile. It used to have actual cheese in the powder, but now the main ingredient is whey, a waste product. Some boxed mac and cheese products still contain actual cheese, but not Kraft for many years. Here is a link to the ingredients of Kraft, and you will have to scroll down a bit.

 

I love baked mac and cheese with a light bechamel sauce and good cheese, but a good stovetop one that the kids will like can be made by boiling elbows, returning to the pot, adding butter, milk and torn up American cheese, either white or "yellow" (actually orange). I kinda like it myself, and my husband loved it.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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5 hours ago, gfweb said:

I'd recommend cavatapi rigati instead of traditional macaroni.  A little bigger...more forkable...still looks like macaroni. 

 

I make it with a cheese bechamel, a shot of sriracha, and diced canned tomatoes that have had the water squeezed out.  Still not fine dining, but way better than the Kraft/mondelez stuff. 

Ah, but the kids don’t want better.   They want the blue box.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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3 hours ago, Anna N said:

Ah, but the kids don’t want better.   They want the blue box.

 

That's exactly what happened to me, many years ago. Niece and nephew were coming to visit for the first time, with their 5 - and 8-year-old children. I made macaroni and cheese in advance for their arrival, knowing they'd be hungry. I'd never made mac and cheese before, so I was careful to use a reliable cookbook, and I used cheddar. My niece had assured me that the kids "would eat anything" but they especially liked mac and cheese. 

 

They arrived, hungry and blown-out from a late departure and heavy traffic. 8-year-old great-niece looked at the lovely, perfectly-normal-to-my-eyes macaroni and cheese casserole, asked what it was. When I said it was macaroni and cheese her face crumpled. "I don't LIKE it!" she wailed, before it was even on her plate. Parents were mortified - first because of her behavior, but also because it became clear that Mama only cooked from boxes. :wink: They got her to try some. She still didn't like it, and she still wailed. The great-nephew was quieter but just as disapproving.

 

I think the kids ate buttered noodles that night. Without ketchup, because I didn't have any. More wailing. But that's another story. (Incidentally, the children have grown up to be lovely, interesting people despite what might have seemed an inauspicious beginning.)

 

 

 

Edited by Smithy
Corrected typo. Darned dog. (log)
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@Smithy

 

Yep I once made it for my granddaughter and got pretty much the same reaction.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

(Incidentally, the children have grown up to be lovely, interesting people despite what might have seemed an inauspicious beginning.)

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is hope for my nephews...

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Amazing the traps parents set for themselves. They feed the kids junk food, cater to their whims, and then are trapped by them.

 

We were mean parents, made them eat what we ate, never an option not to, and they never minded it.

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My ex-wife's parents and mine fell into the old-school "you'll sit there until it's gone" camp. My ex and I had the milder rule that they had to have at least two bites (real bites, not hold the fork to the mouth and make guppy-lips in the general direction of the food) before they decided whether or not they liked it. If they didn't, that was fine...but there was nothing else to come in its place. "Leave it" was a valid option, but "trade for something you like better" was not.

 

My longtime best friend's wife takes a very clever tack with her grandkids, pointing out that they wouldn't know they liked ice cream or bacon if they'd just decided "I don't like it!" without that first taste. Apparently this works well at present, though it's capital she expends very selectively.

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"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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19 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

 

We were mean parents, made them eat what we ate, never an option not to, and they never minded it.

 

Mine were mean (like that)  as well although I've always been appreciative of that.  There's very very few things I don't care to eat and will try most anything new.  I feel sorry for those I know who are picky eaters when I know that they haven't ever tried many of those things they think they don't like.  Some will try something once and never again not realizing that foods prepared differently by different people can taste very different.

 

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46 minutes ago, chromedome said:

My ex-wife's parents and mine fell into the old-school "you'll sit there until it's gone" camp. My ex and I had the milder rule that they had to have at least two bites (real bites, not hold the fork to the mouth and make guppy-lips in the general direction of the food) before they decided whether or not they liked it. If they didn't, that was fine...but there was nothing else to come in its place. "Leave it" was a valid option, but "trade for something you like better" was not.

 

My longtime best friend's wife takes a very clever tack with her grandkids, pointing out that they wouldn't know they liked ice cream or bacon if they'd just decided "I don't like it!" without that first taste. Apparently this works well at present, though it's capital she expends very selectively.

 

My parents too were in the "you'll sit there until it's gone" camp.  To this day I detest most sandwiches.

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My parents never made me eat anything I didn't like but I don't remember disliking anything except for runny eggs (story told on eG elsewhere).  And we never made our own kids eat anything they didn't want to eat and ditto for not recalling them ever refusing foods.

 

Now I love Brussels Sprouts (Ed not so much) and I remember one day thanking my Mother for introducing me to them at a young age, thus setting the scene for adult life.  "You never ate them in my house" said my Mother with some pride and force.  I guess she hated them.  I have no idea.  But I still remember my shock and subsequent laughter (not in front of her).  

 

I've already reported on my childhood diet before...every night either a Porterhouse or a T-bone steak grilled to shoe leather.  My parents were vegetarians but the paediatrician refused to care for me unless my Mother fed me meat.  I haven't eaten a steak since leaving home 58 years ago.  And I can live forever without red meat.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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There's the usual anecdote about how the kids would see mom making mac & cheese with the open blue box near the stove. Except it was an old box that she kept pulling out of the pantry every time she made her own homemade version of mac & cheese. The kids were none the wiser. :rolleyes: :B

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For something very close to the blue box mac & cheese, but with higher quality ingredients, try the King Arthur Flour Cheddar Cheese Powder and the recipe on its container. It's quick and easy and a hit with the 6-7 yr old crowd. Plus the cheese powder is quite nice in bread, savory muffins, and on popcorn.

 

I also second Thanks for the Crepes' suggestion above for the stovetop mac & cheese where you toss the cooked noodles with butter, milk, and torn up American cheese - a midwestern roommate taught me that in grad school, and it's really quite tasty.

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  • 2 years later...

I love pasta and eat it several times a week.

 

I love cheese and eat it when I can find it here. When I was a kid, the local grocer called us the Cheese Family as we ate so much.

 

But I loathe macaroni cheese as it is known where I'm from. Maybe just too many stodgy, bad experiences in the past. Or maybe it's just horrible. My brother loved it though and when he moved to Spain insisted on the family sending him regular packs of his favourite brand of British macaroni.

What I did like was what my mother called 'Macaroni Mish-Mash', which was basically cooked macaroni fried with bacon, onions and tomatoes plus any leftovers, however inappropriate. Never mushrooms.

 

I hadn't thought about that dish in decades until this topic disinterred it from the ravages of my memory. Might have to make it. I will include mushrooms.

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1 hour ago, weinoo said:

 Too often it sucks.

 

And I imagine you're not even referring to the boxed stuff?  Sample any of the Annie's organic line and see new meaning in 'sucks'.   Try to refrain from cutting your tongue off.

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That wasn't chicken

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7 minutes ago, Eatmywords said:

 

And I imagine you're not even referring to the boxed stuff?  Sample any of the Annie's organic line and see new meaning in 'sucks'.   Try to refrain from cutting your tongue off.

 

No, I wasn't, that's for sure. I've had so much bad mac 'n cheese made "from scratch," at bbq places, diners, dives, drive-ins, etc.

 

Annie's was only a gleam in her mother's eye when I was a college kid - it was all (if I'm misremembering correctly) boxed Kraft, which certainly came in handy when very stoned/drunk/whatever - and it was late at night.

 

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4 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

No, I wasn't, that's for sure. I've had so much bad mac 'n cheese made "from scratch," at bbq places, diners, dives, drive-ins, etc.

 

Annie's was only a gleam in her mother's eye when I was a college kid - it was all (if I'm misremembering correctly) boxed Kraft, which certainly came in handy when very stoned/drunk/whatever - and it was late at night.

 

Kraft is actually delicious compared to Annie's.  Whatever they do, guessing the organic components, makes it severely offensive.  (You'd have to be 3x higher than normal and have not eaten in a week to force it down).   My kids love it though.    

That wasn't chicken

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17 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

Annie's was only a gleam in her mother's eye when I was a college kid - it was all (if I'm misremembering correctly) boxed Kraft, which certainly came in handy when very stoned/drunk/whatever - and it was late at night.

 

Until the uber cheap ramen packets took over ;)  Oh that is  pasta - fits right in...

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