I picked up some nice Michigan made cheese the other day from Plum Market. It's Farm Country Cheese House sharp cheddar, and man is it good (WARNING - if you click on that link they have house music on their site. No joke, the Amish are cool like that.) It makes the mac & cheese very smooth and adds a hint of sweetness. (The dish was about to be extremely sweet when I grabbed the wrong canister and almost made my roux with powdered sugar!) Any cheddar would work though, so use whatever you have, even sub lowfat if you're watching calories and fat.
I adapted this recipe from Martha. I only added the half & half because I ran short on milk, you can use all milk if you like. She makes it in individual serving dishes, but I divided it between two larger dishes (one to eat right away and one to freeze.)
1 pound elbows6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup AP flour
3 3/4 cups skim milk
1/4 cup half & half
pinch coarse Kosher salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
3 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
1.5 cups Panko breadcrumbs
Cook elbow macaroni 1-2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, rinse with cool water and return to pot.
Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk 1 minute. Add milk and half & half, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt, and bring to a simmer. Whisk until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted. Pour over macaroni and stir well. Spoon into baking dish(es).
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and toss with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over mac & cheese.
Cover tightly and freeze up to 3 months, or bake uncovered at 375 degrees 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbley. If frozen, bake covered with foil in a 375 degree oven on a baking sheet, until bubbley (about 50-60 minutes.) Remove foil and bake 5 to 10 minues longer to brown breadcrumbs.
Makes about 12 (adult) servings.
Nutrition Facts(Amount Per Serving)
Total Fat 16.5 g
Saturated Fat 10.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.4 g
Cholesterol 48.3 mg
Sodium 328.1 mg
Potassium 228.5 mgTotal Carbohydrate 43.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 16.3 g
He likes it!