Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Individual Sized Mac n’ Cheese
Who doesn’t love Mac n’ cheese? It’s cheesy. It’s delicious. It’s a southern comfort food. Something about it makes you think of home and also of your childhood. I mean, it is after all one of the first solid foods you were probably introduced to as a kid. One word: Kraft. Haha I know I ate my fair share of it.
Once I met my husband, I was introduced to what he calls “the real stuff”. He grew up eating only the homemade variety of my beloved Kraft Mac n’ cheese. His grandma is a Georgia farm gal and makes everything from scratch! I started making homemade Mac and realized it’s actually quite simple (and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand!).
Now, I will always have a special place in my heart for the boxed mac n’ cheese, but this “real” stuff is flippin’ delicious! Don’t be intimidated, it’s super quick and easy! Try it out!
Individual Sized Mac n' Cheese
8 oz (weight) dry pasta
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
8.5 oz cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
4 tablespoons of Panko bread crumbs, divided
In a medium saucepan, cook pasta according to box instructions. I like to add a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of canola or olive oil to the water (totally optional). Drain pasta and set-aside until ready to use.
In a medium-large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour to create a roux. Whisk for about 1 minute to allow it to heat through. Whisking constantly, add in the milk and half & half and bring to a boil (it will begin to thicken).
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add in the cheese, 2 ounces at a time, mixing well. Season sauce with the salt, pepper, and dry mustard. Add cooked pasta into cheese sauce and toss to combine well.
Preheat oven to 350º. Spray 4 oven-safe ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly distribute the Mac n’ cheese among the four ramekins. Place ramekins onto a baking sheet before baking (in case any of the cheese spills over).
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Panko bread crumbs on top of each of the individual Mac n’ cheeses. Spray tops with non-stick cooking spray to help encourage browning. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350º. Turn oven to broil and broil just until tops brown (only 3-5 minutes). Keep a close eye so that they do not burn!
Remove from oven and serve hot! These babies are cheesy and delicious!