I love Mac & Cheese! My Mr.Tasteful is dairy sensitive and one day I decided to use Chicken Stock/broth and just a little milk and I found this made an amazing creamy texture, PLUS you dont feel as heavy. I came across a inspirational post blog for One Pot Stove Top Mac & Cheese here I thought that was a good idea….however I needed to adjust some of the ideas. This is my version!
Here are a couple tips/ideas for some of the ingredients I use.
Chicken Base: When I make whole roasted chicken I reserve the chicken fat/juices that collect at the bottom, I put in a ziplock bag then freeze it. When I want to use a little I run bag under water then just cut off a chunk for use in rice or to add chicken flavor to water. You can buy it at the grocery store where they sell chicken boullion. There are different brands just looks for “chicken base”. However you dont even need to do this, you can just use chicken stock!
Mustard: I use brown spicy mustard. You dont need to. You can use 1/2 tSp of mustard powder OR instead of brown mustard just use yellow mustard. I have used dijon mustard , it just gives a unique flavor.
Milk: It doesn’t matter what milk you use, just use what you have on hand…you could even just use evaporated milk. Each milk is going to give different results, the only milk that may be different is Skim Milk because of the lack of fat.
Cheese: I always stock Monterrey Jack Cheese because it is a great melting cheese and its cost effect. If you would like a more cheddar flavor, add 1/2 cup of cheddar. If you use all cheddar and can not guarantee the results…I find that cheddar is more oil based and not as creamy in texture, but I do love the flavor.
Pasta: I used elbow pasta, if you use a different type your cooking time may vary and liquid may very.
2 cups of water (OR just use Chicken Stock)
1 tBs of chicken base or your own reserved chicken fat (no need to use if using chicken stock)
1/2 tSp olive oil
1 & 3/4 cup of elbow pasta
1/4 tSp of salt
1/4 tSp of ground thyme
1/2 tSp mustard powder
(I also added a dash of onion powder & garlic powder)
1/2 tSp of butter (if you are not using chicken base use 1 tSp of butter)
1/4 cup of milk
1 & 1/2 cup of Monterrey Jack Cheese
Boil water, then once water reaches a boil TURN DOWN HEAT TO LOW (DO NOT BOIL. U WANT A LOW, LOW SIMMER) then add chicken base (if using water), salt, mustard, thyme, onion & garlic powder, pasta, & olive oil. Stir all together and keep siring (to keep from clumping together) . Put lid on and let pasta cook for 3 min, then stir again, place lid back on for another 3 min. After 6 min has passed take a bite of pasta and see if its at the tenderness you like, I like al-denta which it may be at by 6 min, but usually it takes about 8 min for a soft texture (but not mushy). So if pasta is not to your texture let cook for another 2 min covered. It should be done by now. Remove from heat and add butter and stir all together. Just in-case you are confused, DO NOT DRAIN LIQUID. Phew!!! Now you will add in the milk, put back on the burner (keeping temp at low) and let the mixture heat through for 1 min or so. Then take small hand fulls of cheese and add and stir a together, once cheese has melted, add more cheese. I think I added cheese in 5 stages at a time once all the cheese was added. Once all the cheese is melted you are done!
I had left the Mac & Cheese out (burner turned off) in the pot and after 15 mins it was still very creamy, 30 mins still creamy! By 45 mins it had cooled and was thick. However if you want you can add a dash of water and heat in microwave and its great and creamy again!
Total time was about 10 min. 8 servings.
Letting pasta simmer on low
My chicken base I freeze
This is what the pasta looks like after 3/5 mins of low cooking
This is what it looks like after 8 mins of cooking, then you add the milk
mixing in the cheese
Look how creamy that is
do you see the string to that cheese?
30 min later and it still looks super creamy sitting on the stove after burner is off