Macaroni and cheese is a beloved comfort food that never goes out of style. While the convenience of boxed mac and cheese is undeniable, there’s something incredibly satisfying about making it from scratch.
In this blog post, we’ll take you through the steps to create a creamy homemade mac and cheese that’s not only delicious but also healthier than the processed alternatives. We’ll also provide you with the nutrition facts so you can enjoy this classic dish without any guilt.
Ingredients of Homemade Mac and Cheese
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for our homemade mac and cheese:
- 2 cups of elbow macaroni (whole wheat for added fiber)
- 2 cups of low-fat milk (you can use non-dairy milk for a vegan version)
- 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (reduced fat for a lighter option)
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (or a dairy-free substitute)
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of paprika (optional for added flavor)
- 1/4 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs (for a crunchy topping)
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Instructions for Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Cook the Macaroni: Boil the elbow macaroni in a large pot of salted water until al dente, following the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Make the Cheese Sauce: In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously until it forms a smooth paste (roux). This usually takes about 1-2 minutes.
- Add Milk and Cheese: Gradually pour in the milk while continuing to whisk. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it thickens. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until it melts and the sauce becomes creamy. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Combine with Macaroni: Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until all the macaroni is well coated with the creamy cheese sauce.
- Top with Breadcrumbs: Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle with whole wheat breadcrumbs for a crunchy topping.
- Bake: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake the mac and cheese for about 20-25 minutes or until it’s bubbling and the top is golden brown.
- Garnish and Serve: Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh parsley for a burst of color and flavor.
Nutrition Facts of Homemade Mac and Cheese
Here’s the approximate nutrition information for a serving of our homemade mac and cheese (assuming 6 servings):
- Calories: 350
- Total Fat: 15g
- Saturated Fat: 9g
- Cholesterol: 45mg
- Sodium: 500mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 35g
- Dietary Fiber: 3g
- Sugars: 5g
- Protein: 18g
Remember that these values can vary based on the specific brands and ingredients you use. Additionally, making smart ingredient choices, like whole wheat pasta and reduced-fat cheese, can further improve the nutritional profile of your homemade mac and cheese.
Homemade mac and cheese can be a nutritious and delicious option for both kids and adults alike. By following this recipe and making a few healthier ingredient choices, you can enjoy the creamy goodness of mac and cheese without sacrificing your health-conscious goals.
So go ahead and indulge in this comforting classic with a nutritious twist!