When it comes to meal planning, 1Aisle Supermom Jennifer Lynds adheres to the 80/20 rule: 80% healthy and fresh and 20% kids’ choice. Like most, her kids have an incorrigible appetite for macaroni and cheese. For many busy parents, powder-in-a-box versions, like Kraft, are a dinnertime staple: a fast and easy crowd-pleaser. However, Lynds suggests her from-scratch version is really the way to go.
“I did an experiment and discovered that both mac and cheeses take about the same amount of time to prepare: 12-15 minutes,” says Lynds. “The difference is that my homemade version, which my son Jack calls ‘Mom’s Fancy Mac and Cheese,’ has five ingredients (pasta, butter, milk, cheese, and flour) versus Kraft, which has 27 somewhat questionable ingredients.”
Lynds likes to have control over what her kids eat, and while her “fancy” version isn’t necessarily the most healthy lunchtime choice, it’s at least wholesome. “I use high-fiber, calcium-enriched pasta and switch up the shapes,” she says. “I only make it once a week or every other week, and usually pack it in a thermos for school paired with an apple or carrots.”
Lynds admits that from-scratch macaroni and cheese isn’t quite as easy as the box version, but it’s easy enough. “It’s a little more work and an additional pan. But I think going scratch is well worth it,” she says.
Want to know more about what’s in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? Check out this article from What is that Ingredient? See below for the from-scratch macaroni and cheese.
Jennifer Lynds is a mother of three (Jack, 6; Mark, 8; Rachel, 12) from Warren, PA. Her approach to healthy eating includes obtaining the majority of her food locally and minimizing food waste.
Mom’s ‘Fancy’ Mac and Cheese by Jennifer Lynds
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese
8 oz. pasta of choice (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste or Wegmans Super Pasta)
Boil pasta according to package. While pasta is cooking, in another pan, melt butter, add flour and whisk, it will become a lumpy mess but keep stirring, and cook for 30 seconds to a min. It will smell nutty. Then whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth. Keep stirring over medium heat until the milk mixture is hot nearly boiling. Add cheese and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. At this time the pasta should be done. Drain pasta return to pan, add cheese sauce and stir. If using for a main meal or need it to be fancier, you can butter a casserole dish and put the mac and cheese in and top with cheese and breadcrumbs and put under the broiler until brown and bubbly.
For 6-8 servings, use 1/2 c. butter, 1/2 c. flour, 2 c. milk, 2 c. cheese, full box of pasta.