Homemade Mac and Cheese
This irresistible and easy homemade mac ‘n’ cheese features a cheesy sauce that your kids are going to love. We then sneak in more nutrition by mix-and-matching add-ins like cooked veggies, cooked chicken, and crumbled bacon—it’s a great way to use up what’s in your fridge! For more garlic flavor, mince the garlic clove and keep it in the sauce. For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free noodles and flour. This is sure to become a new weeknight favorite!
2 Tbsp. Organic Valley Unsalted Butter, plus more for greasing baking dish
8 oz. elbow macaroni
1 ½ cups Organic Valley Thick-Cut Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed (or minced)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups Organic Valley Whole Milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 cups add-ins: cooked broccoli, peas, carrots, spinach; diced or shredded cooked chicken; crumbled bacon
Preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C) and place rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven. Butter a 1-quart baking dish.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until it’s just shy of al dente (it should be a touch chewy—it will finish cooking in the oven). Drain.
While the pasta cooks, in a separate medium pot, heat the butter and garlic over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the garlic smells fragrant, about 3 minutes. Discard the garlic if desired.
Add the flour to the garlic butter and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Very slowly pour in the milk while whisking. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce starts to bubble and thickens, 2 to 4 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and add 1 1/4 cups of the cheese. Stir with a rubber spatula until melted (don’t let it boil). Remove the pot from the heat and season sauce with salt to taste and a pinch of nutmeg. Add the cooked noodles and desired add-ins; fold to combine. Season with more salt to taste. Transfer the mac ‘n’ cheese to the prepared dish and spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
Bake in the upper 1/3 of the oven until the cheese on top is melted and golden brown in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.