The lovely wife is doing a wedding today, which means that I spent the day with the kiddos. We went apple picking this afternoon (more on that in another blog post), and tried to have a fun day.
Usually on these days, I try to let the kids pick what we have for dinner (within reason). Mostly, it gives them something fun to look forward to, and it helps me ensure that there won’t be complaining about dinner in the evening…WHICH I DESPISE.
So, my wonderful son immediately announced he wanted macaroni for dinner. The easy going daughter had voted chili, but she’s flexible and agreed to macaroni.
Now, when I want macaroni, I want HOMEMADE macaroni. I did not grow up on Kraft Mac and Cheese, and only grew to appreciate it’s special powdery goodness as a college student using a hotpot illegally within my dorm.
By now you might be saying “Well look at Mr. Fancypants, scorning Kraft Powdered Cheese Product. Who do you think you are with your obvious preference for European cheeses! You’re a Muenster!”
Actually, I prefer another Kraft Cheese Based Product for my mac and cheese. No fancy cheeses here thank you.
To me, homemade mac and cheese will always mean Velveeta*. As a kid, that’s what my mom added to our cheese sauce when making homemade mac and cheese. Sure I’ve made mac and cheese with a variety of cheeses before, but there is something to be said for Velveeta’s creamy processed goodness when making a silky smooth cheese sauce.
You may be asking, “What is Velveeta?” Your good friends at the Food and Drug Administration say Velveeta is pasteurized processed cheese food, not cheese. It’s actually a step below American cheese. Cheese foods add chemicals and salts to bind the fats and proteins together to give it that nice and even melt we all crave. Also, for tonight’s recipe, we used Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand EASY-MELT. Nothing says classy like imitation Velveeta.
All joking aside, I love the stuff in mac and cheese and Ro-Tel dip. However, in its unmelted state, I find it to be a menacing yellow log.
Growing up, Mom’s mac and cheese was a favorite dish at our house, and the knowledge of how to make it helped me capture the heart of a certain young photographer.
Back in 1998, I was SHOCKED to learn that Sarah had never had real mac and cheese. So, I offered to make mac and cheese for her one night at her apartment. Little did I know, that same DAY she would break up with her boyfriend. That day, I bought a block of Velveeta and some macaroni, and went to her apartment that night and crafted that most romantic meal, Macaroni. A little over two years later, we were married. I figuratively melted her heart with easy melting cheese product.
So, how do you make this lovely dish? Follow the directions and pictures below!*
*By the way, you’ll notice organic Colby Jack cheese lingering in the back of this picture. I was undecided as to whether I would go healthy or go original at the time of taking this pic. I made the correct choice…what a boring blog organic Colby Jack would be.
Boil the macaroni for 11 minutes.
In the same pot, make a roux. Put about a third of a stick of butter in the pot, and then stir in one good sized tablespoon of flour. Stir vigorously to combine and brown a bit.
Then I added a cup and a half of milk and put it back on high heat, and continued to stir vigorously.
Once you see the milk start to thicken, remove from the high heat.
Add 10 slices of Velveeta one at a time, until all are melted. (Once the stove cools down a bit, I return the pot to the heat to melt the cheese)
(Did I mention how scary and disturbing Velveeta is in its unnatural natural state?)
Once all the cheese is melted, add the macaroni back into the pot and stir to combine.
Tonight, Katie was my assistant and did a great job stirring in the cheese and mixing the mac and cheese sauce together. You could even say she would not even be here today if it were not for this wonderful Italian American dish enhanced by that oh so romantic ingredient, Velveeta.
How do you feel about Velveeta? Any other uses out there I’m not aware of? Let me know.