Instant Nostalgia with Mac & Cheese

There aren’t many things that I really, really loved as a child that I still enjoy as a 26 year-old grown up woman. For example: I used to really love putting on gratuitous amounts of make-up and getting dressed up for no occasion other than standing by an open window and pretending I was a princess… and now it’s like a war-zone in my closet every morning trying to pick out a shirt for work. I loved my cat, Tiger, but now if I’m in a cat-friendly home for more than 30 minutes my allergies attack like Attila the Hun. Lastly,  much like the rest of my generation, I used to love those delicious Easter-y things we call “Peeps” but as adulthood set in, the illusion that they were actually anything more than stale marshmallows coating in more sugar wore off.

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On the other hand, the few things that have withstood the test of time (albeit 20 years or so) are dinosaurs, animated movies, and “veggie mac & cheese”.

My dad will still tell you that “veggie mac & cheese” is my favorite food. While that’s not entirely accurate, it is still one of my go-to meals when I just want something simple that I know I’ll love. My parents would make this all the time when I was a kid because it was easy. The mac & cheese part varied between Ramen with melted cheese, Kraft Blue Box, and Annie’s Organic, but the veggies always came out of a bag in the freezer. As I’ve started to eliminate packaged food from my pantry, the instant mac & cheese was one of the hardest to let go.

I thought for sure there had to be a way to take cheese powder and make your own instant mix. After doing some digging, I found that Crystal of Store This, Not That! had already figured it out! So I ordered some cheese powder and got to work.

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Immediately upon receiving my key ingredient in the mail, I made veggie mac & cheese for dinner. It was awesome! My husband liked it, my picky sister liked it… everyone was happy. I was especially happy because it was a great alternative to what you buy in the stores. I looked up the ingredients for the Blue Box (even after the ingredients change) and Annie’s Organic just to compare the competition:

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contains salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium phosphate and calcium phosphate. According to the International Food Additives Council, sodium phosphates help cheese retain its melting properties and calcium phosphate improves nutritional value. Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are added to the sauce mix as colorings. Final ingredients in the sauce mix are citric acid, lactic acid and enzymes. (per Livestrong because Kraft doesn’t have them posted)

Annie’s Organic: Cheddar Cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, non-animal enzymes), Why, Nonfat Milk, Butter, Salt, Cultured Whole Milk,  Sodium Phosphate, Annatto Extract for Color.

Seems a lot longer than three ingredients, am I right? Your kids (or inner child, in my case) may thank you one day for breaking up with the Blue Box. Are there any other childhood favorites you’ve been tempted to break up with?

instant mac & cheese mix

Making instant mac & cheese is easier than you think with Homemade Escapades!
Instant Mac & Cheese
Yum
Print Recipe
Making instant mac & cheese doesn't have to be difficult. Make it ahead of time for when you need it and it's just as convenient at Kraft! Thanks to Crystal at Store This, Not That! for creating this amazing recipe!
Servings
6 mixes
Servings
6 mixes
Making instant mac & cheese is easier than you think with Homemade Escapades!
Instant Mac & Cheese
Yum
Print Recipe
Making instant mac & cheese doesn't have to be difficult. Make it ahead of time for when you need it and it's just as convenient at Kraft! Thanks to Crystal at Store This, Not That! for creating this amazing recipe!
Servings
6 mixes
Servings
6 mixes
Ingredients
Instant Mac & Cheese Mix
To Make Mac & Cheese
Servings: mixes
Instructions
Making the Mix
  1. Combine all three ingredients and mix very well. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
Making Mac & Cheese
  1. Boil noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside. Return the sauce pan to the stove on medium-low heat.
  2. Melt butter in the sauce pan and add milk (or water). Whisk in the cheese powder and continue to stir about 30 seconds.
  3. Return drained noodles to the pot and stir to combine. It may take an additional minute for the sauce to thicken, but it will! Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

If you want to make "veggie mac & cheese" like I mentioned, add in 1 cup of frozen veggies for every 1 cup of dry pasta you added (I like a lot of veggies). Add them into the boiling pasta with about 2-3 minutes left of cook time. Drain with the pasta as usual.

If you want to make your mac & cheese a little more decadent, mix in 1/2c grated cheese (Cheddar or Colby Jack, for example) during the last step.

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2 thoughts on “Instant Nostalgia with Mac & Cheese

  1. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.|

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