Ditch the boxed mac and cheese, you can make your own tastier and better version at home. Use this Stovetop Mac and Cheese and free yourself from mixes!
Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Mini Meatloaves
I grew up on mac and cheese from a box. And quite frankly, I still love it. Whether’s it’s a fun Italian take like my Alfredo Mac and Cheese or made in the Instant Pot like this Easy Mac & Cheese in the Instant Pot recipe. About once a year I will buy a box and eat the whole thing myself. Not because I’m such a glutton, but because my family doesn’t care for boxed mac and cheese.
When my kids were little, we couldn’t afford to buy convenience foods. I made things from scratch, not because I was trying to be like Martha, but because it was cheaper.
Turns out it was better, too.
When you think about it, boxed mac and cheese basically walks you through the process of making a cheese sauce and tossing in cooked macaroni, albeit with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives in powder form.
Fun fact: Making a homemade white sauce, whisking in some shredded cheese and tossing in cooked macaroni — with the artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives doesn’t take much longer than doing it the boxed way.
You just have to measure. Which isn’t hard. It’s part of my 3rd grader’s math curriculum, so it’s totally doable. I promise.
And you can serve it in the pot if you want, and save yourself an extra dish!
While I absolutely ADORE this sour-cream based mac and cheese, my kids do prefer this Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe. You’ll have to make both and see which YOU prefer.
How to make this good and cheap:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on noodles, cheese, or butter, I snatch them up and plan my meals around them. Or stock up so that I have it when I want it.
- Compare prices. This year I’m trying my hand at keeping a price book so that I can know a good deal (for sure) when I see it. Costco has the best price for butter.
How I make this recipe easy:
Having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- stainless steel pot
- colander for rinsing noodles
- whisk with sealed barrel – the sealed barrel is important so dish water doesn’t seep in.
Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz elbow macaroni
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup milk
- 8 oz cheddar cheese (shredded) (2 cups)
- black pepper
- In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the macaroni, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and stir until well mixed, hot, and bubbly.
- Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth.
- Add the cheese a handful at a time, whisking until smooth.
- Stir in the cooked and drained macaroni and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.