I’m generally not a macaroni and cheese from the box kind of girl. In fact, I’m generally not an any kind of meal from the box kind of girl. But when I get a coupon to try something free, I buy it. That’s why I finally got the sack of Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese out of cupboard to save time on a busy family soccer night.
Opening up the package of Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese, I saw that there was a slightly thicker, ridged pasta inside than the traditional Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and three packages, one of breadcrumbs for the topping, a seasoning packet, and a cheese sauce packet, that once I opened it, had a thick blob of fake-cheese-colored orange goop in it.
One thing that surprised me about Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese was how long it took to make it. In fact it took as long to make as homemade macaroni and cheese. The Kraft executives must have been banking on the fact that the average American does not know how insanely it is to make macaroni and cheese with products most Americans have on hand anyway.
Tastewise, the Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese did not taste homemeade at all. The only thing homestyle about the dish was the thicker noodles and breadcrumbs on top. Otherwise, I started to get a film at the top of my mouth that I never get from the boxed kind of mac-n-cheese, nor from real homemade mac-n-cheese. I blame the orange goop for that effect.
I could go on and point out more reasons why Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese is inferior to real homemade Macaroni and Cheese, or even the traditional blue box kind, but I think it would be far more effective to teach you how quick it is to make the homemade kind. So here’s the method:
1. Boil as much elbow pasta as you think you and your family will eat according to package direction.
2. Meanwhile, shred a pile of cheese or take a few handfuls out of a bag of preshredded cheese. (Feel free to mix cheeses and give your finished product a fancy name based on the kinds of cheeses you use, like mac a la cheddar and parmesean.)
3. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of flour over the cheese and toss the two together (Flour thickens the sauce, and tossing it with the cheese ensures you won’t get lumps in the finished product.)
4. When the pasta is cooked drain it, return it to the pot with a generous pat of butter, and stir until the butter melts and the noodles glisten with butter.
5. Add the cheese mixture and a splash of milk and stir until the cheese is melted and a sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk. If it is too runny, add more cheese. You may need to add salt to taste. (Don’t worry, there won’t be nearly as much sodium as a box of Kraft anything.) You can also get really fancy and add a dash of nutmeg or cayenne pepper.
6. That’s it. Now eat and live life without needing to buy another blue box or sack again.