Kids in the Kitchen -- Stovetop Mac-n-Cheese

Summer is here and today was our annual kids cooking class offered through Abilene Parks and Recreation. Stovetop Mac-n-Cheese was definitely a success. This is the same recipe that we made with Erin when she was a little girl!

Stovetop Mac-n-Cheese      6 to 8 servings
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound elbow macaroni  (1/2 lb. = 2 cups dry pasta)
  1. About 1 cup cheese sauce  (recipe follows)
  2. Fill a medium to large saucepan with about 6 cups of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. 
  3. Place pot a range top set on medium high temperature and bring to a rolling boil.  
  4. Add the pasta gradually (so water keeps boiling) and give it a good stir to separate the pieces.
  5. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally. Check the pasta package for specific cooking time. After about 5 minutes, test a piece of the pasta for doneness.  It should be tender but firm to the bite. This is called “al dente” (ahl DEHN-tay).
  6. Use a colander to drain the pasta.
  7. Put the pasta back in the saucepan; add the cheese sauce and stir to combine. 
Variation:Tuna or Chicken Mac-n-Cheese:  Add 1 (6 oz.) can water-packed light tuna or chicken, drained, to Mac-n-Cheese; stir to combine and heat until tuna or chicken is hot. Serve over toast..

Cheese Sauce      Makes about 1 cup sauce
Cheese Sauce is versatile – use it over pasta, baked potatoes, or other vegetables. It could also be used as a dip for bread sticks or tortilla chips. You can substitute different kinds of cheese or even leave out the cheese to make a basic white sauce. Add fried, crumbled bacon, diced ham or cooked ground beef to cheese or white sauce and serve it over toast or a baked potato for a tasty main dish. Chicken or beef broth may also be used with or in place of all the milk called for in the recipe.
Difficulty:  Medium
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 cups cheese (grated Cheddar, cubed Velvetta®, etc.)
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Blend in flour with the melted better to make a smooth paste.
  3. Add the milk, stirring constantly.
  4. Cook until smooth and thickened (the sauce will coat a spoon when thickened)
  5. Add salt and cheese.  Continue cooking 2 or 3 minutes longer to improve flavor, or until cheese is melted. 

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