Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Conveniently Homemade

Boxed macaroni and cheese was, to me, a magical thing as a child. All that cheesy creamy goodness was so absolutely irresistible. Mom made it for me almost every day and it was probably my favorite food until, at the age of 11, a terrible thing happened. I decided to make it all by myself. When I opened the box and realized that its creamy goodness came from an envelope full of unnaturally orange cheese powder, well, it never quite tasted the same after that. Nowadays, my kids are more accustomed to the homemade versions of convenience foods rather than their boxed counterpart. Come to find out, it doesn’t take much more time to make macaroni and cheese from fresh ingredients than it does to make it from a box. And the taste is so much better. So here are a few of our favorite recipes for those pantry staples that come pre-packaged. Once you try the “made from scratch” version you’ll never go back.

 Homemade Rice-a-Roni (Paula Deen) 

• 1 tablespoon oil
• 1/2 pound pasta, spaghetti or angel hair
• 1 cup long grain rice
• 1 small onion, chopped 
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley 
• 2 cups chicken or beef broth 

Begin by placing the oil in a pot and breaking the dried noodles into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces. Turn on the heat and stir the noodles in the oil until they begin to brown slightly. Add the rice, onion, parsley, and broth. Stir mixture, cover tightly, and cook as you would regular rice, approximately 20 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve. 

 Jiffy Cornbread ( 

• 1/2 cup cornmeal 
• 1 1/2 cups flour 
• 2/3 cup sugar 
• 1 tablespoon baking powder 
• 1/2 teaspoon salt 
• 1/3 cup oil 
• 3 tablespoons melted butter 
• 1 tablespoon honey 
• 2 eggs, beaten 
• 1 1/4 cups milk 

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, melted butter, honey, eggs, and milk. Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan. Bake for 35 minutes.

Pancakes from Scratch (makes 9 small) 

• 1 egg 
• 3/4 cup milk 
• 2 tablespoons butter 
• 1 cup flour 
• 1 tablespoon sugar 
• 3 teaspoons baking powder 
• 1/2 teaspoon salt 

Beat egg until fluffy. Add milk and melted margarine. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Let batter sit 15 minutes for fluffier pancakes. Heat a heavy griddle or fry pan greased with a little butter. The pan is hot enough when a drop of water sizzles. Pour a small amount of batter (approx 1/4 cup) into pan and tip to spread out or spread with spoon. When bubbles appear on surface and begin to break, turn over and cook the other side. 

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese 
(Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook, 1946) 

• 1 (8 ounce) package macaroni
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 4 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup cream
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside. In a large saucepan melt butter. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended. Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly). Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) 10 minutes. Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Turn off flame. Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.


Rustown Mom said...

Wow - all of these look great, so I am printing them NOW. Happy rest of your week (:

Mama Squirrel said...

We make an even easier (as in no-white-sauce) version of macaroni and cheese, that a friend posted years ago on her blog, that she says she cut off a package of pasta but she can't remember what brand it was. Here's the link to her recipe: . I've made it with regular, wholegrain, and gluten-free macaroni, and it works well with any of them.

Peggy said...

Thanks Gayle!! really pleased to have the rice-a-roni recipe!