Monday, August 22, 2011

creamy mac and cheese with sour cream

Since I was a kid, we always ate broccoli and cauliflower. Not exactly favorites as I remember, but if you add a little cheese sauce, wow how quickly the frown gets turned upside down. My mom taught me as a kid to make a very basic sauce, actually a roux (base of all great sauces. Butter and flour mixture) with cheese added. As our kids have gotten older, mac and cheese has become a frequent lunch time request. Its easy, and its affordable, but when its time to dump in that powder cheese Alix and I both have a hard time. So, we took my childhood cheese sauce, added noodles and got our selves mac and cheese. It does take a few minutes longer, but it keeps better, its healthier, and tastier. Don't be surprised if you find this base in many more dishes to come. I am trying it out on everything. I have found lots of tasty choices.

Basic Cheese Sauce
  • 2 TB Butter
  • 2 TB Flour
  • Milk - Add until it smoothes out
  • 1-2 TB Olive Oil
  • Cheddar Cheese - 1 Cup or more depending on cheesiness and budget.
  • 2 TB Sour Cream - Optional
  • Heavy Whipping Cream - Optional (Add small amounts instead of some of the milk)
  • Paprika - For Color - Makes sauce more orange without having to add a ton of cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional - Garlic Salt, Johny's Seasoning Salt, Onion Powder, Chili Powder

Melt butter in sauce pan and then add flour. Mixture will be clumpy. Immediately start to add in milk, pouring in a little at a time. Each time, sauce will thicken and you add more stirring constantly(I like to use a whisk). Continue to add milk until sauce smoothes out. If you are using the sour cream and heavy whipping cream, add it now. Normally, I add sour scream before it is bubbly because it can separate if too hot. Heavy whipping cream can be added instead of the milk one of the times you are thinning out the sauce, but not necessary; just a way to gourmet it up a bit. As it smoothes out it is time to add cheese. Slowly add in cheese while stirring. Now, start to add seasoning. Taste as you go. I do not use measurements, only to taste. Paprika does not carry a lot of taste, but it does have the unique quality of adding color, which means you save money on cheese and honestly, most of the time, you don't need a ton of cheese. But, if you like a lot of cheese, gourmet it up!

The cheese sauce I made this time was much more gourmet then normal. My brother in law came up to give us a break and go out to eat, so I thought I would thank him by making him some special mac and cheese. I added in sour cream, heavy whipping cream, a small amount of cream cheese, parmesan, Australian Sharp Cheddar, medium cheddar, and mozzarella cheese. I have to say out of all the mac and cheese I have made, this was the best. I used garlic salt, johny's seasoning salt, onion powder, paprika, and pepper. I was stoked to go out to eat with Alix, but before we left I think we both ate about 10 bites straight out of the pot. Alix is not a huge fan of mac and cheese so to have her do that, I must have done something right!
Let us know how you like your mac and cheese!

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Shabby, Chic, & Cheap said...

Yum! Found this recipe on pinterest and tried it tonight! LOVE IT!!


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