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Learn to Cook: Mac and Cheese (with Mix Ins!)

We’ve got great recipes for mac and cheese online, but when it came to one super simple method for making everybody's favorite comfort food this recipe elbowed its way to the top.

Nothing says “childhood” like a big bowl of creamy mac and cheese. Come to think of it, as one of the ultimate comfort foods, mac and cheese also says, “long day at the office”, “cold blistery night” and “heartbreak recovery”.

We’ve got great recipes for mac and cheese online, but when it came to one super simple method for making everybody's favorite comfort food this recipe elbowed its way to the top. What’s really comforting about this recipe is that although it may taste rich, you don’t have to be to make it. Using just four basic ingredients – milk, flour, cheese and macaroni – you can create macaroni magic in mere minutes. Here’s how:

Learn to Cook: Mac & Cheese

Learn to Cook: Mac and CheeseIngredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat or regular elbow macaroni

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 3 cups milk

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese, about 2 cups

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta well.
While macaroni cooks, whisk together milk and flour in a medium pot. Bring milk mixture just to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. It should be about the consistency of heavy whipping cream, so reduce the heat and gently simmer for a minute or so, stirring often, if it needs more time to thicken.
Remove pot from the heat and gently stir in grated cheddar, one handful at a time, until the sauce is smooth. Stir in salt and black pepper.
Add pasta, stir well and serve.
Transform this creamy dish into a baked favorite by transferring finished mac and cheese to an oiled baking dish, top with breadcrumbs and more grated cheese, and bake at 350°F until melted and golden.

Serves 6.

Tip and Tricks
The mac and cheese can stand alone but it’s also a dish that gets even better when you add things in. Consider stirring in different veggies, cheeses or meats to oomph up the nutrition and make this dish grand. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Thinly sliced kale, spinach or Swiss chard

  • Steamed broccoli florets

  • Diced heirloom tomatoes

  • Small pieces of goat milk Brie (a Sure Deal! at only $3.99)

  • Blue cheese crumbles

  • Chopped smoked salmon

  • Cooked crab cakes, broken into pieces

  • Diced cooked meatballs (download a coupon in the fall issue of The Whole Deal)

  • Shredded barbeque or rotisserie chicken

  • Frozen vegetable blends

Hungry for more meals that comfort both your taste buds and your budget? Turn to The Whole Deal value guide for money-saving tips, recipes, weekly menu ideas, Sure Deals and more than $50 in coupons.Have you mastered homemade mac and cheese with mix-ins? How do you serve it?

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