04 February 2007

Macaroni and Cheese

Over on Megnut last week, there was a post that got me going. She was talking about an article on Salon that compares Annie's Macaroni and Cheese to Kraft's. The Salon piece kind of dissed both Kraft and Annie's (though the author confessed to keeping Annie's in the pantry), while Megnut felt that the Salon author was being overly harsh on harried parents trying to do the best for their kids, and thereby came squarely down on Annie's as better than Kraft's. Sure it is - no unpronounceable ingredients for one thing. But that completely misses the point - that Annie's stuff TASTES TERRIBLE. I bought some one day, thinking it wasn't such a horrible thing to feed my toddler, but it's gross. Besides, a proper macaroni and cheese needs to be baked. Don't want to mess with a white sauce? Try this recipe from the New York Times that uses raw pasta and a lot of milk - sure, it takes longer, but it tastes way better than anything from a box. Don't have enough time for that? If you have time to boil water for pasta, you have time to defrost some homemade red sauce and a couple of homemade meatballs. Eat real food, people. Like Michael Pollan said the other day - eat food your great grandmother would recognize.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 pound elbow pasta, uncooked
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.
  2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.


Awesome Mom said...

We have some Annie's that we got from Costco when they had a coupon for it and I don't think it tastes all that bad. I do add some of my own ingredients to any boxed mac and cheese so maybe I am masking the awful taste. We mostly have it around for emergency dinners and I do much prefer the taste of homemade backed mac and cheese.