This post includes a recipe for Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese (and how to give it a dreamy crispy top), as well as a link to the recipe for my Mom's homemade baked macaroni and cheese below…
Remember when we were told to avoid mac and cheese because of all those “dangerous” fats? Fear no more! All the fats in this dish are good for us. And thank God they are, because nothing says comfort food like a serving of macaroni and cheese.
Keep in mind that as much as I don't like any boxed foods around here, sometimes I do still buy the organic boxed macaroni and cheese for when Kent and I are going on a date night and the kids want to make that stuff, but that powdery cheese, ugh, it just doesn't seem right somehow. (We tell the kids to use extra butter for more nutrition though.) So this version is super easy AND now that our daughter is in chef school, she usually just makes this homemade version for all of the kids anyway and we say, “See ya!” as we head out the door. It's nice having older kids, and older kids who love to cook is even better!
It's a hit!
This type of meal is a big deal for Moms, because the whole family will chow down what you've made, which is always refreshing. This fast, easy, and healthy creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese was a definite hit, all of the kids had seconds or even thirds, and back in the day, even the pickiest eater in my daycare had two helpings!
NOTE: it's actually a lot creamier than this photo shows. I stink at taking pics of food and this is the best shot I could find!
Creamy Stove-top Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 pound pasta of your choice-- preferably organic. My favorite now is spelt pasta or einkorn pasta! You can try whole grain pasta if your family likes it, but my family doesn't.
- 1/2 cup butter-- pastured butter is best
- 1/2 cup flour-- I use einkorn flour mostly now, or organic all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk sometimes I'll use cream for part of that amount, read about healthy milk choices here
- 8-12 ounces of your favorite cheese-- we use organic cheddar, shredded -- plus a little extra for the top if desired, see the instructions below
- Sea salt and pepper to your taste
- 3/4 cup Organic cracker crumbs-- I like these crackers best for this recipe or seasoned bread crumbs--this is optional but so good! (I save the bread ends that no one wants and every now and then I’ll put them through the food processor and add a little garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, maybe some Italian herbs and keep it all in a baggie in the freezer to use in quick meals like this.)
- 1/3 cup melted butter to mix with the cracker or bread crumbs
- Boil pasta with 1 Tablespoon of sea salt added to pasta water. Now make a basic cheese sauce while the pasta is cooking…
- Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan. When it's hot, add flour and whisk well; keep whisking while it cooks for 2 minutes or so, but keep the heat on low-medium and don't let it burn. Add milk slowly and keep whisking, it'll start to thicken. Once you have it all stirred in (again, keep whisking and don't have your heat too high or it will stick and burn), add the cheese. Keep whisking as it melts and add some pepper and plenty of sea salt to give it a great taste. Do some taste testing to get it right, add more cheese if you’d like. (This cheese sauce is also great on steamed veggies and it's the same sauce I use for my ham & escalloped potatoes.) If it gets too thick, add a little more milk and whisk more. When the pasta is cooked, strain it then stir everything together and you're done!
- If you want it extra tasty, sprinkle on some bread crumbs or cracker crumbs mixed with melted butter. Sometimes I'll double the recipe and put it all into a buttered baking dish, add extra cheese on top and the seasoned bread crumbs/crackers, then bake till it's hot and golden at about 350* or instead of baking, just throw it under the broiler for a few minutes to get the top golden and crispy.
Let me know if your family loves this creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese too!
***NOTE: See the comments below from a reader who shares her Mom's recipe for an easy one-pan stove-top mac & cheese.
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