Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yummy Mac and Cheese

I'm getting ready to participate in the Frugal Cooking Carnival Owlhaven's hosting on Friday, so I thought I'd put this recipe up ahead of time so I can link to it later. Several people have asked me how to make it lately anyway.

I go back and forth with whether I think it's an especially frugal recipe, because buying 3 boxes of the store brand orangy powder stuff would be a lot cheaper. Certainly not healthier though, and I have to add real cheese to those boxes anyway if I want the meal to be approved by the food program as a protein. This is a great way to sneak lots of veggies in and it tastes a lot better, so this is what we do.

It makes me laugh to take a picture of the ingredients. The Pioneer Woman I am not. Plus I forgot to take a picture of the food when it was done, and the kids have already eaten it all. Let's just make do with what we have, shall we?

Here's the fabulous cast for today's performance. Ignore the Pam, it's not part of this, it just snuck its way in there when I wasn't looking.

Cost breakdown:
  • pasta on clearance for .85- I don't usually buy the cutesy stuff but it gives them a thrill when I do it. It probably still would have been cheaper to use elbow noodles or a store brand of something else, but hey, we splurge around here every now and then.
  • Lawry's- practically free, I'm thinking. I've had that in the cupboard awhile, although thanks to the Pioneer Woman I'm whipping through it now at an alarming rate. I have no idea how much it will cost when I need to replace it.
  • that baggie is 1/2 cup pureed butternut squash. I've had it in the freezer awhile but I think the original squash was about $3 and it made 6 servings, so this would be... 50 cents?
  • 2 T butter- $2 for the box of 4 sticks on sale, I'm estimating then about 15 cents for that much.
  • 1 cup milk- gallon was on sale for $3. I'll cry if I have to do the math to figure out how much one cup cost. I go through 4-5 gallons a week and that includes drinking and recipes. Okay, now I have to... that would make a quart .75, and 1 cup about .19. I think.
  • cheese- I think that big bag was $7.54, and I used 2 big handfuls. Surely not more than $2.
  • Also 2T flour, which I forgot to put in the picture. Again, practically free.
  • Oh, and I added some homemade chicken stock that I had in my freezer because the sauce was too thick. Not sure how to calculate that, but I don't think it adds much.
  • Total: $3.69 by my calculations, which is pretty good considering I ate 2 big bowls and 6 kids each had at least three helpings. It comes out to .53 per person.
1. Cook noodles, drain.

2. In hot pan, melt 2T butter and add 2T flour. Stir to make paste.

3. Add 1 cup milk all at once and stir till thick.

4. Add cheese and squash. Today I also threw in a baby food cube of green peas/ chick peas that I had leftover in the freezer from making it for O'Malley and Eeyore awhile back. I only used one cube because I wasn't sure how green it would make it, but you couldn't tell at all. This dish is awesome for hiding veggies- just puree them into sauce first. It's SO MUCH EASIER than fighting the kids to take one bite; this way I know they got more than that, even if it doesn't turn out to be a whole serving.

5. Stir and it'll probably feel too thick- I usually add between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of chicken stock, or sometimes more milk, depending on what I have handy.

6. Dump all the noodles back in, add Lawry's to taste, and get your shovel. It's that good. Everyone but Ariel eats so fast they forget to use their forks at all.


stacey said...

very interesting! i will check it out!

Loni said...

I know how yo make this since I've seen you do it enough times. I am so glad you posted the recipe, as sometimes at the end of the day I forget. :)

Becky & Ryan said...

I just started reading thanks to the Pay-It-Forward contest, but I'm hooked, and I don't have any kids (unless you count my husband??).

This recipe looks delicious - I've always wanted to try making homemade mac & cheese, but I'm a chicken about inventing recipes, so I'm glad to see a kid-tested and approved one here! ;-)