Who doesn’t like those boxes of Annie’s mac and cheeses with the bunny on the front? Quick, easy, stovetop mac and cheese that’s made of natural ingredients. Appealing. But, what if I told you that you could make something as delicious, if not more delicious?
If you’ve got about 15 minutes, you can make a yummy, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese AND skip a step. The best part is, you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
I’ve always wondered if you could just cook the pasta in the milk that you’re using instead of cooking in water, draining, then putting milk in. I saw a post on The Kitchn about just that.
So of course, my impatient self jumped inside at the chance of skipping a step. I had to give it a try. I don’t use recipes to the “T” so I kind of improvised.
The results were AMAZING. The sauce got so creamy from the starch of the pasta and I crushed up a couple of fat-free seasoned croutons and sprinkled them on top before I ate it for added texture and flavor.
Easy Mac ‘N’ Cheese for One
1 c. of your favorite short pasta, I used whole grain medium shells
1 c. milk, whatever is in your fridge – I had skim and it worked fine
¼ c. onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. of whole wheat flour (or regular)
1/3 c. of your favorite shredded cheese
6 croutons, crushed in a plastic bag (optional)
Sprinkle of nutmeg (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional add-ins: frozen peas (really any veggie you like), crispy bacon, shredded chicken, etc.
- Put your milk, pasta, onion, garlic, about 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and a sprinkle of nutmeg into a saucepan. The nutmeg is optional because while it does enhance the flavor of creamy sauces, not a lot of people have it on hand, so it’s really not a big deal. (Note: Yes, I know it looks like a lot of milk once it’s all in the pan, but the pasta soaks it up!)
- Turn the burner on medium high, letting the milk come up to a slight boil. Stir occasionally so the milk doesn’t scald.
- When the milk starts bubbling around the edges, turn the heat down to medium. Cover, and stir occasionally.
- After about 8 minutes of cooking, check on the pasta. Taste it. Does it need more salt or pepper? You’re looking for the pasta to be al dente, not completely cooked, but has a little bit of bite to it. At this point, take the lid off.
- Sprinkle the flour across the pasta. The more you spread it out, the less chance of clumping. Stir.
- Add in your cheese of choice and mix until the cheese has melted and everything is incorporated.
- Pour into a bowl and top with croutons. You’ll probably start off with half of the amount you made, but I guarantee you’ll be finishing off that pot!
FYI: I originally made this about a week ago, and last night I made it again, sans cheese… still yummy. Seriously.