I’m sure there are other parents out there that understand those challenging eaters we call toddlers. The things my Little Cupcake will eat and will not eat surprises me everytime. She’ll eat green olives stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese, or pickled asparagus but won’t eat box macaroni & cheese. I’m not one to buy the Kraft M&C ill buy the organic brands and she still won’t eat them, and those aren’t cheap! So the best way her to eat M&C is from scratch. I thought it would take forever but I came across an idea for stove top M&C and I corrected some of the errors and I found this to be a perfect recipe. It’s so creamy and takes less then 20 mins from prep to the plate.
I have another recipe for M&C that follows the same directions, however this has a twist plus I use cheddar cheese. I always have Monterrey Jack cheese as a staple in my fridge because its a great melting cheese and my Little Cupcake likes the mild flavor compared to cheddar, which confuses me because the girl loves Gorgonzola. But this time I did not have any MJ cheese only mild cheddar because its been the best price for the past month at my local grocery store, $5 for 2lb cheese brick from a local farmer. My price point is never to spend more then $5 for a 2lb brick of cheese so I need to be flexible.
I made a big batch this time so I wouldn’t need to make more for a couple days. I also thought of freezing a portion of M&C in a small container. Then ill just microwave on 5 min (checking at the 3 min mark).
I had mini penne pasta from trader joes I can buy a bag for $1.00. But after testing out my recipes with various size noddles I haven’t run into any problems. I still prefer a smaller pasta then regular size penne pasta.
I use water and add a chunk of my chicken fat/grease I freeze anytime I make a chicken or buy a whole chicken from Costco. Don’t get rid of that liquid it’s liquid gold to me and a cheap way to add a little flavor without using chicken stock. If you don’t have the chicken base just use chicken stock or just water.
4 cups of water or chicken stock
3 & 1/2 cups of pasta
1tBp of chicken base
4oz of cream cheese which equals 1/2 brick of cream cheese
1tSp mustard powder (or use yellow prepared mustard if you have no powder)
1/2 tSp Salt
2 & 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
I use a dash or to your taste the following: Garlic powder, onion powder & dried thyme.
In a pot add water & chicken base and let come to a boil.
Once at a boil add cream cheese and spices plus salt to water. Try to dissolve cream cheese, break it up if u need to. Then add pasta, turn temperature of burner down to a medium simmer, stir then cover with lid and set timer for 3 min. Then stir pasta after 3 min and cover pot with lid and set timer for another 3 min. My pasta direction on back of package states it takes 8 min to cook pasta. So I did 3 min and a stir 3 times. If its not done I cover for another 2 min.
You’ll have a nice creamy liquid, DO NOT DRAIN!! Remove from heat and add half the cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Then add rest of the cheese. Sometimes you might want more cheese because its not thick enough, I added another 1/2 cup of cheese.
Add pasta to boiling water mixture
Stir, cover and wait 3 minutes. After 3 minutes this is what pasta and water looks like
Then stir, cover with lid and wait another 3 min. This is what water & pasta look like
Then stir around there should be a thick creamy liquid, when you stir pasta the liquid should have a coating to pan and not dispense back out quickly. If it needs more time, cover for 2 min, the. It should be ready.
Add half the chess at a time, stir and once melted add rest of cheese
Second batch of cheese added.
If needed like me add another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese to make sure nice and creamy