Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jeanie's Mac and Cheese

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch our family of 6 try to eat on $6/day.

Jeanie is also my mother-in-law's name. Tricky, I know. When we got married my mother-in-law made some great macaroni and cheese. I'm sure she thought it was just a simple basic recipe that was easy to whip up for a group. But at the time, I had all of, oh, maybe three solid recipes under my belt and a homemade version of something I'd only eaten from a box for my single years seemed advanced.  

It's nice to know that now it's an easy recipe for me to whip up too. But it's still a great crowd pleaser (as long as your crowd does not involve certain of my kids). And it's infinitely adaptable, if you're the type to like infinite adaptations.

You can add Italian seasonings or a shot of hot sauce. You can throw in some spinach or basil or olives. You can add mashed butternut squash to increase the nutritional punch. You can use whatever exciting cheese you like. Or do Italian sausage or turkey sausage or chopped ham. We keep it simple because some of us are not what you would call 'adventurous.' The great thing about it is that it's still really good.  

Jeanie's Mac and Cheese
Makes enough for 9x13 inch pan
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cost: $3.15
(macaroni: .50, tomatoes: .75, hamburger: 1.00; cheese: .75, milk: .08, butter: .07)

2-3 C cooked macaroni (1-1 1/2 C dry macaroni)
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes (with some juice)
1/2 lb hamburger (we used less)
1 1/2 C cheddar cheese, divided
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 C milk
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Boil macaroni in water until al dente. Do not boil it until it's mush. Remember, you'll be baking it as well. When it's ready (I taste mine), drain it.

While pasta is cooking, cook hamburger in a skillet till it's browned. Drain and discard most of the fat.

Prepare a white sauce: First melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until there's a paste. Add the onion powder and garlic powder. Whisk in the milk until all is smooth. Heat it until it thickens to a saucy consistency (not a pot of paste). 

Combine pasta, tomatoes, white sauce, and 1 C of the cheddar cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Spread in 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on the top.


  1. Glad to find this, just as I was wondering what to make for dinner tomorrow with a bunch of hamburger in my freezer I want to use. :) So, the sweets recipes have solved my bake-sale problem (um, I may or may not have purchased stuff from our local bakery and repackaged it to put in bake sales in the past. . .) but if you take requests for posts, I still have issues with casserole-type dishes. Do you have some good standard freezer dishes that you can whip up when people from work or church need meals? I never know what really freezes well that's easy to just pop in the oven out of the freezer (other than lasagna and I get sick of making that).

  2. Good question. Until recently, we only had a small freezer, so I didn't freeze things unless I had to. Recently, however, we purchased a big one. So...I should be getting some good freezer dishes going soon. The thing I most like to take to people is homemade pizza (usually with a sourdough crust, which I might get posted this week). I either make ranch pizza or I make a pepperoni one using my basic marinara sauce. I'm betting either of those would freeze up nicely, though you might have to defrost before popping in the oven (but maybe not; I'll have to experiment with the next one). Also, I think that pretty much any basic casserole with a white sauce, some cheese, veggies, meat, and rice or noodles will probably freeze well. That gives me some inspiration, though, for some things to try. Thanks!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...