Sabotaging Your Bchamel For Your Mac And Cheese
One of the trickiest parts of the mac and cheese-making process is making the béchamel sauce. Considered one of the five classic mother sauces of French cooking, this thick white sauce was named after Louis de Béchamel, a steward of French king Louis XIV, who was also a noted gourmet. However, the sauce’s origins can be traced to Tuscany, where it was evocatively known as salsa colla, or “glue sauce.”
Béchamel sauce relies on a simple trio of ingredients: milk, butter, and flour. The combination of butter and flour cooked slowly over low heat is known as a roux. Despite the simplicity of the ingredients involved, béchamels are disaster-prone. For instance, the roux has a nasty habit of sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning while the béchamel is simmering. Chef’s Notes recommends using a pot with a heavy bottom and stirring as if your life depends upon it .
Ina Garten’s technique of warming the milk before adding it to the roux not only thickens the sauce in half the time but also reduces splattering that inevitably occurs when cold milk meets hot butter. Make sure you add the milk slowly, little by little. If you undercook your béchamel , you risk giving it a gritty texture and raw-flour taste.
Tips For Trying This Hack At Home
Sara Tane is a food writer and private chef based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education and has written for Cooking Light, MyRecipes.com, and The Feedfeed. She also has a serious thing for oysters.
How Long To Bake Mac And Cheese
There is only one rule that you need to remember when baking mac and cheese: dont bake it too long otherwise youll bake away the sauce leaving you with a dry mixture.
Baking it at around 20 minutes at 375 degrees F guarantees you that same stretchy cheesy baked mac and cheese with all the heart-melting sauce. Or you can also bake it at 30 minutes at 350 F
Although weve tried a couple of Mac and Cheese recipes, nothing compares to this one which has a smooth silky sauce that permeates every inch of elbow macaroni there is.
Youd fall head over heels with the brimming Southern flavors of what this baked mac and cheese has to offer. Its got a note of heat and smokiness. Youd need a bigger a spoon, for sure!
This would be delightful at any time. Oh, especially during these cold winter months. So dont wait for special occasions to whip up a pan of this.
Heck, you could even make this on the daily. You can also explore different southern comfort food ideas to prepare every day! Go ahead, take a bite, nobodys looking.
Read Also: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
Make Magic Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time
Like with homemade pita, there are a few ways to make this recipe in advance. It depends mainly how far in advance you need it!
- Option 1: Fully bake and refrigerate your mac n cheese. It will keep and still reheat nicely for up to two days.
- Option 2: Fully bake your mac and then freeze it. If properly stored, your portions can last several months.
- Option 3: Bake for 30 minutes, top with breadcrumbs, and refrigerate before finishing.
There are, however, two big no-nos:
- Avoid assembling and refrigerating your mac n cheese before baking. Because the pasta is not cooked, it will absorb all of that liquid before baking. By the time youre ready to make it, its almost guaranteed to overcook!
- Do I even have to say it? Just because you can microwave something doesnt mean that you should. Let your panko live its best life by popping that baby in the oven.
Why Make Mac And Cheese From Scratch
If you are waffling on making your own homemade mac and cheese versus a box, let me share why I think homemade is better:
What Can I Add To Mac And Cheese For Flavor
I love adding seasonings to the roux to amp up my mac and cheese. This one has smoked paprika for yep a smoky note. And I love how dry mustard powder helps emphasize the cheesy flavor. Some readers like to add a hefty pinch of onion powder, others love a bit of nutmeg. If you like heat, adding jalapeños is delicious .
You can also tweak the flavor by varying the cheeses. Readers report using smoked cheese for tons of sultry goodness Other readers have added mozzarella or jack for some stretchy goodness, creamy havarti, parmesan , or prefer to go with extra-sharp cheddar.
The Super Basic Mac And Cheese Recipe
So, the MOST basic of basic mac and cheese is usually made from a box. There are a zillion variations, but the boxed variety will get you started down the path of mac and cheese success.
Read Also: Original Babybel Cheese Flavor
Set Up Your Flavor Profile
Weve got everything you need to up your kitchen game – plus, special offers and discounts just for you!
Are you out of McCormick ?
Set up your Flavor Profile or to:
- Add this spice to “My Spices”
- Create a more personalized experience
- Manage your spices in Flavor Profile
Sign up to save your favorite flavors.
DON’T HAVE AN ACCOUNT?
Already have an account?
Already have an account?
Because we are constantly improving our products, we encourage you to read the ingredient statement on our packages at the time of your purchase.
Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries and regions. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC.
Don’t Forget Your Leafy Greens
Fiber, folate, iron, calcium, and vitamins C and K do your mind and body good, and they are all found in dark, leafy greens. If you have some time, try sauteing kale, spinach, collard greens, or swiss chard, and adding them to your mac bowl. Spinach and red peppers is a great mac and cheese combination.
You May Like: Does String Cheese Go Bad If Not Refrigerated
Switch Out The Cheese
Instead of using the powdered cheese packet that comes with a box of mac and cheese, take an extra five minutes to make a homemade cheese sauce. You can use any type of cheese, but we prefer sharp Cheddar. For full instructions on how to make homemade cheese sauce, refer to this recipe. Alternatively, stick with the standard powdered cheese-butter-milk combination, but bolster the sauce with a few slices of American cheese or a handful of shredded Cheddar to make it extra cheesy.
To Bake Or Not To Bake:
You dont have to bake the mac and cheese in this recipe. Everything gets fully cooked and is essentially ready to eat after the cheese and noodles are added. However, I love the extra gooeyness that comes when the cheese is baked and I think baking it adds a level of sophistication you just dont get without.
Also Check: Does Laughing Cow Need Refrigeration
Easy Ways To Make Boxed Mac And Cheese Better
Think outside the box.
While we almost always prefer the homemade stuff, there’s something undeniably nostalgic about boxed mac and cheese. Those boxes of elbow-shaped noodles, complete with their packet of powdered cheese, carried us through our childhoods. Now, they make for a quick meal that the whole family will love we like to keep our pantry stocked with a couple boxes of mac at all times for dinnertime emergencies.
Lately, when it comes to mac and cheese, we’ve been thinking outside the box. Boxed mac and cheese is great all on its own, but we’ve devised a few creative twists that completely reinvent the tried-and-true dish. These easy, unique, and whimsical ways to upgrade a box of mac and cheese can turn any boring dinner into a real event. Whether you’re ditching the powdered cheese packet or adding a few secret ingredients, these boxed mac and cheese hacks will completely change the game. Is it suppertime yet?
Think Outside The Box: 17 Macaroni And Cheese Recipes
While I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Kraft mac and cheese, I’m more likely to make it from scratch these dayshomemade stovetop mac is almost as easy as the boxed stuff, anyway, and way tastier. I’m perfectly happy with plain mac and cheese, but we’ve got variations packed with flavorful mix-ins like bacon, chicken, black beans, and spinach. If you’re more into baked mac and cheese, we’ve got you covered, too. We’ve even got a few surprises!
Don’t Miss: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
Simple Ways To Take Your Mac To The Next Level
If you want to prepare next level mac and cheese, its easiest to start with the box and doctor it up from there. Create your own cheese sauce or buy a jarred cheese sauce such as Ragu Classic Alfredo sauce.
Macaroni refers to the shape of the noodle, so if youd like to mix it up, you can use shells, elbow macaroni or even penne. The macaroni shape holds the cheese sauce well, which is why its a classic paring, but feel free to mix it up as you see fit!
You can also bake mac and cheese. The simplest method is to prepare a box variety, add pre-seasoned breadcrumbs, extra cheese and simply broil for a few minutes until melted. If you DIY your own cheese sauce, then pre-boil the noodles until theyre nearly done, before adding to a casserole dish and baking. While real baked mac and cheese is awesome and yummy, it does take longer to prepare .
The best way to take your basic mac and cheese recipe to the next level is simply add-in additional ingredients to make it even better. Its simple, fast and will take your meal from basic and boring to delicious.
Cheeseburger Macaroni And Cheese
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with cheeseburger dip, it’s no stretch of the imagination to toss in some noodles. That’s basically what we do here, making mac and cheese with ground beef, scallions, and Ro-Tel tomatoes. If, for some reason, Ro-Tel isn’t available where you live, you can substitute one can each of diced tomatoes and diced chilies .
You May Like: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
Best Cheese For Baked Mac And Cheese
Dont be scared when using cheese for this recipe. I used three types of cheeses to grace every noodle of this dish. For the best flavor, I highly recommend adding a sharp cheddar to your baked mac and cheese. Just a warning though, dont use the pre-shredded bagged cheese as it has preservatives that make it drier compared to fresh-grated cheese.
Sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella, jack cheese, are my top fave. Or you can also use pepper jack cheese, gouda, fontina, and Gruyere.
Hack #: Sausage + Baby Spinach
As your pasta is cooking, heat up precooked sausages, such as chicken-basil, until warmed, according to package directions. Drain pasta, but dont rinse it. Add pasta back to the pot, and stir in a few handfuls of baby spinach. The residual heat from the pasta will wilt the spinach. Then add in the cheese sauce, according to package directions. Serve sausages on the side, or slice them and mix into the pasta.
Don’t Miss: Can You Put Sour Cream In Mac And Cheese
Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese
If you’ve been looking for the perfect game-day dish, then look no further! Toss together some macaroni and cheese, shredded chicken, and buffalo sauce for a fan favorite. Serve alongside veggies and dip to round out the feast!
Use this buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe from Sugar Spun Run as your guide, with just a few modifications. Sub in the boxed mix mac and to make things even easier, use instant pot shredded chicken.
Alright, one more recipe to go! Who’s hungry?!
Go From Savory To Sweet
They say life is short, so eat dessert first. To that, we say, what about mac and cheese? Well, we have a solution that will tackle both at once: S’mores Mac and Cheese, a recipe attempted by Sandra Garth on her blog Sweet Sensations. With pasta, goat cheese, and cream cheese, along with graham crackers and chocolate chips, this is one inventive recipe. You’ll have to forgo the classic cheddar-based recipe, but just take a look at the recipe and try to find one reason why it’s not worth a shot.
Also Check: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
How To Store Leftovers
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, add mac and cheese to a saucepan and heat over medium-low, until warmed, stirring often to prevent burning. Make sure to add a little bit of milk or water to thin out the sauce and prevent the noodles from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. You can also heat leftovers in the microwave if youre in a rush!
tip!After being stored in the fridge the mac and cheese sauce will thicken up, so when reheating make sure to add a splash of milk or water to thin the sauce and prevent the noodles from burning.
Shred Your Own Cheese
I recommend using blocks of cheese that you shred yourself. I know, I know, but it makes a big difference. Pre-shredded cheese has starch on it to keep it from clumping and is dryer than actual blocks of whole cheese.
If you do end up using pre-shredded cheese in this recipe, you may need to add a little splash of whole milk. The added starch from pre-shredded cheese will thicken the recipe, so you may need something else to loosen it again. You will know at the end if you want to add a little milk to yours or not!
Don’t Miss: Is Kraft Mozzarella Cheese Vegetarian
Cook Your Noodles In Milk Instead Of Water
Cooking your noodles in milk instead of water makes your resulting mac and cheese creamier. According to The Kitchn, cooking your noodles in milk instead of water makes the sauce creamy before you even add the cheese sauce. The starches in the noodles get released as you cook them, helping to thicken the mixture from the start. That will ultimately help with the resulting creaminess.
Spice Up Your Plain Mac
Throwing in spices to your macaroni and cheese might be the easiest and most affordable way to add in additional flavor. Basic spices that you may already have in your pantry that would work well include red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, chili, onion, and garlic powder. If you’re willing to take a trip to the store, spices like cumin, curry powder, dry mustard, and paprika are all wonderful additions. But whether you choose to season or not, black pepper is always a must.
Don’t Miss: Does Babybel Cheese Need To Be Refrigerated
Modern Baked Mac And Cheese With Cheddar And Gruyre
Our stovetop macaroni recipes use American cheese for its supremely gooey texture. American’s meltability comes from sodium citrate. These days you can order food-grade sodium citrate online, meaning that any cheese can be made into a super-gooey sauce. That’s the key to this creamy macaroni and cheese, which walks the line perfectly between baked and stovetop mac.
How To Make The Creamiest Macaroni And Cheese
Youre only looking at six ingredients . Itcan even be made in under 30 minutes .
I love that you can keep this as a quick stovetop mac and cheese or slide it into the oven to get bubbly and browned. I love it both ways.
Were going to call this our basic mac and cheese not because it isnt incredibly delicious, but because its the perfect base for other variations. Take a look below for some suggestions.
To make our go-to macaroni and cheese, you will need the following:
Don’t Miss: Where Can I Buy Brick Cheese