It's beginning to feel more and more like the holidays around here with each passing day. A few homes in our neighborhood even have Christmas lights up...I can't believe it's November already! Christmas music is playing in most stores and on the radio, the department store aisles are decorated, and I'm getting in the mood for the yummy, comfort food that this time of year brings.
I can't quite decide how I feel about the rush to put up the Christmas decor. On one hand, I'm super excited, and on the other I keep thinking about that saying - "Respect the turkey!" Now, don't get me wrong - I still get excited about Christmas just like when I was a little girl. My tree goes up every year promptly the day after Thanksgiving. Hopefully everyone will still take a moment to remember all the things they are thankful for during the coming weeks.
With that, let's celebrate the approaching holiday season with some yumminess - How about a quick, simple and delicious Macaroni & Cheese recipe?!? Sounds good, right?
This particular recipe is worlds away from the neon yellow variety that comes out of a blue box. This is the real thing...A creamy, cheesy bechamel sauce envelopes each little piece of elbow pasta. I used whole wheat pasta to make it a teeny bit healthier. I also added a dash of nutmeg to the sauce. Yum!
Try this dish soon - You'll love it.
Quick Macaroni & Cheese
Source: Simply Recipes
- 2 quarts water
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 lb cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups, packed)
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup ham, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes (I left this out)
- Freshly grated black pepper
- A dash of nutmeg (my addition)
Method1 In a medium sized bowl, mix corn starch into the grated cheese, so that the cheese is coated, set aside. This will help the cheese from getting too stringy.
2 Bring 2 quarts of water with the tablespoon of salt to a boil in thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the elbow macaroni and follow the cooking time instructions on the package, minus about 2 minutes. (If your macaroni doesn't come with instructions, start checking at 7 minutes). Cook until al dente - cooked through, but still slightly firm. Drain the water from the cooking pan.
3 While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Slowly dribble in the milk, while whisking (to avoid clumping) until the sauce is smooth. Slowly add the grated cheese, while whisking, until smooth. Stir in the nutmeg and lemon juice. Add the cooked, drained macaroni and ham. Do not over-mix. Sprinkle in some freshly grated black pepper.
Yield: Serves 3-4 adults or 4-6 kids.