Everyday Mac-N-Cheese

I love homemade macaroni and cheese. I’ve made it countless ways as I try to find my favorite. I hate yet to find the right recipe that my kids and I go WOW over. There are a lot of good ones but none have blown our socks off. I will admit that the kids and I are mac-n-cheese snobs so it’s going to take a lot to impress us. If you notice I have not mentioned my husband, he likes mac-n-cheese, but it’s not one of his favorite dishes. The kids and I always stare at him funny when he says that.

I have always made baked mac-n-cheese so when I saw this recipe in the ATK Healthy Family Cookbook, I knew it was something I had to try. It was a lightened up version of macaroni and cheese but yet sounded like it was something we could like. Instead of making a Béchamel sauce consisting of flour, milk and butter; this is made with evaporated milk, lowfat milk and cornstarch to help thicken. They recommend using Cabot 50% light Vermont Cheddar Cheese but I was unable to find it. So I used regular Cabot Cheddar Cheese and it worked out fine, it just added a little more to the calories. My favorite part of this whole dish is that it didn’t need to be baked and it was fast and easy! The kids and I really liked it and so did my husband. I was hesitant on how the leftovers would taste, and was amazed they tasted just as good as it did the day before, maybe even better!

Everyday Mac-N-Cheese

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat macaroni (I used a little more)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 (12oz) can reduced-fat evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup 2% lowfat milk
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard (I could not locate mine so I did a squirt of regular)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups shredded 50% light cheddar cheese
  1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the pasta and 2 tsp of salt and cook, stirring often, until completely tender. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and leave it in the colander.
  2. Combine the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the lowfat milk, mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, cayenne and garlic powder in the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 milk together, then whisk it into the simmering sauce. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened slightly and is smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cheddar until melted and smooth. Stir in the cooked pasta and let it sit until the sauce is thickened and the pasta is heated through, 2 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce before serving. (I did not have to add any)

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook


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