My kids love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Who doesn't?!?! The stuff has to be laced with crack or something, it's delicious! But with an ingredient list like this (taken directly from Kraft's website)...
ENRICHED MACARONI PRODUCT (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE [IRON], THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID); CHEESE SAUCE MIX (WHEY, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, GRANULAR CHEESE [MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES], CHEDDAR CHEESE [MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES], SALT, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE, CREAM CITRIC ACID, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, CELLULOSE GEL, CELLULOSE GUM, BETA CAROTENE [COLOR]).
...I don't exactly feel great about feeding it to my kids.
We are trying our best to eat only real, whole food. Things that were once alive- fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and eggs. It's a gradual process, and while pasta isn't on the list of approved foods, I can at least find a way to make mac and cheese using all ingredients I can pronounce and know what they are. I mean, seriously, what is cellulose gum?! No thanks.
On my quest for tasty real food recipes I found this one on Pinterest and it looked great. Basically, it's pasta, evaporated milk, a can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup, and shredded cheese. I set out to buy the ingredients and give it a try, but came across one road block. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup? There are 59 of them!
water, cheddar cheese, wheat flour, food starch modified, margarine (soybean oil partially hydrogenated, soybean oil, water, salt, soy lecithin, natural flavor, mono and diglycerides, beta carotene added for color, vitamin a palmitate) contains less than 22% of salt, sugar, cheese enzyme modified (milk, water, milk fat, sodium phosphate, cheese culture, salt, acetic acid), apocarotenal added for color, butter, butter flavor (butter oil, cheddar cheese (milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, calcium chloride), corn oil, cottonseed oil, cream powder, disodium phosphate), butter enzyme modified, cheese cheddar enzyme modified (enzymes, flavors, guar gum, lactic acid, butter oil lipolyzed, milk non-far dry, oleic acid, soybean oil partially hydrogenated), sodium citrate, sodium phosphate, vegetable oil (water, xanthan gum, vitamin a palmitate)
So obviously that is out! I figured I'd leave that out and just wing it. Here's what I ended up doing-
1 16 ounce box of small shell pasta (indredients- duram semolina, niacin, ferrous sulfate (iron), thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
4 Tablespoons butter (pasteurized cream, natural flavors)
1/2ish of a 12 ounce can evaporated milk (milk, less than 0.5% dipotassium phosphate, carrageenan, vitamin d)
8 ounces, more or less, freshly shredded cheddar cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes, annatto (color))
seasoning to taste
Boil the pasta, drain it and leave it in the colander. Return pot to burner and turn heat down to medium. Melt butter. Add evaporated milk and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta, combine. Season to taste.
I've tried making homemade mac and cheese using a rue before (melted butter and flour) and never was happy with the way it turned out. This was SO much easier! It came out nice and creamy without the flour taste or waiting forever for the sauce to thicken. Just as easy as box macaroni, but half of the ingredients!
Here's Josh giving it a sniff. Naturally, he's wary of anything posing as macaroni that hasn't come out of the blue box-
After a few bites though, he gives it the thumbs up! Success!!!
Here's Bug's attempt to give it a thumbs up, he hasn't quite figured that one out yet.
His smile and messy face show his approval though!
This time around I used sharp cheddar cheese (because I love it and that's what we had), so the sauce had that sharp cheddar bite to it. Eventually the kids caught on to it and started giving their bowls the stink eye. Next time I think I'll use a mild cheddar. Josh suggested colby, his favorite, and I think that would work really well too. For grown-ups something like a smoked Gouda would probably be delish! There are so many possibilities! Enjoy!