Not much is as good as homemade mac and cheese on a cold night. Last night, I got home late and needed to throw something together quickly with what I had on hand. My friend Lauren came over, and I was going to make Katie's miso chicken bowls, but I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw, and I really just didn't have the time to let it marinate and cook before Grey's came on. So, I scoured my pantry (well, cabinet) and decided to try my hand at mac and cheese. And, I actually did a "healthier" version, but it was still decadent.
Homemade Mac and Cheese
8 oz elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
4 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups milk (I used skim because it was all I had on hand)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used 2%)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I didn't have bread crumbs on hand, so I just toasted a few slices of whole wheat bread and pulsed them in the food processor to create crumbs)
extra shredded cheddar (about 1/2 cup or so)
Preheat the oven to 350. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat and add enough flour to make a roux, stirring constantly. Add the milk slowly while stirring. Add the cheese and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally until cheese melts. Drain the pasta and add to a casserole dish. Once the cheese is melted, add the sauce to the pasta and stir so that all of the pasta is evenly coated. Melt the remaining butter in a small saute pan and add the bread crumbs and toss. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the casserole and top with shredded cheese. (Cook's note: I didn't have any tomatoes on hand, but if I did, I would have topped the mac and cheese with sliced tomatoes and then bread crumbs and cheese... yum.) Bake for 30 minutes and serve. I served this with a salad of greens, red onion, craisins, and simple red wine vinaigrette (equal parts red wine vinegar and EVOO, Dijon mustard, and fresh black pepper).