I started making this years ago when I discovered how much my first born loved mac ‘n cheese. In fact, she loved it over ALL OTHER FOODS. And having it on her plate made ALL OTHER FOODS tolerable. Broccoli on the plate with mac ‘n cheese? Good to go. Broccoli on the plate by itself? No way. In fact, I’m convinced she learned to love most fruits and veggies because they sat on the plate with the almighty mac ‘n cheese.
I’d started her on the Annie’s organic shells boxed mac, but since she loved it so much, I started doing a homemade version. Even though the Annie’s stuff isn’t terrible for you, I figured that as much as she consumed, homemade might be better sometimes. So Jeff and I learned to whip this up in less than 15 minutes — with all the work being done while the noodles are boiling.
Now, I feed this to all three of my kids. I will be totally honest with you and tell you they prefer the boxed mac ‘n cheese — all three of them. Something about the fact it comes in a box makes it magic. But they will inhale this too, and I feel better about relying on the box a little less. After all, this takes about the same amount of time!
This mac has a thicker consistency; it’s not as runny as Kraft or Annie’s. If your kiddos don’t like that, you can add a little more milk and reduce the roux (flour and butter) to 2 tbsp. each.
p.s. You can also make this ahead of time, place in a greased casserole and refrigerate. Then heat at 300 degrees until warm. You can also sprinkle breadcrumbs on top before baking.