Super easy mac-n-cheesey

I have long been a devotee of Irma S. Rombauer. When I was single, I used to flip through the pages of her 1997 edition while eating breakfast or after cleaning up from dinner and get all sorts of handy tips, like how to cook the perfect hardboiled egg, the proper way to brew coffee, or where various cuts of meat come from on each animal and how to prepare them. Now that I have less self-indulgent time on my hands, I only get to flip through Joy for random inspiration or last-minute references.

This past weekend, feeling too lazy to retrieve a box of mac & cheese from our cellar, I decided to see what Irma had to say about whipping something up stove-top. I read her entry, surveyed my cupboard and came up with this pathetically easy and surprisingly tasty concoction:

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/2 can evaporated milk (per Irma’s suggestion; it really was creamier than my whole milk option and what the hell else do you do with evaporated milk anyway?)
  • handful of shredded cheddar cheese (or more to taste) + grated Parmesan for zing
  • 2 cups cooked elbow noodles,
  1. prepare a roux with first two ingredients,
  2. turn it into a bechamel by adding the third gradually
  3. add cheeses to desired taste
  4. stir in any additional items you might have around (in the hopes of diversifying young pallets, I added some crumbled Italian sausage and chopped broccoli florets but my kids would have been perfectly happy without)
  5. pour over (or spoon in to) cooked noodles

Really, that was it.  To think I’ve been cooking mac & cheese from a box all my life…Who knew it was so easy?! Happy cooking.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. elizabeth
    Oct 31, 2010 @ 23:33:46

    Love Irma and love you!


    • growingmuses
      Nov 01, 2010 @ 11:02:02

      not at all surprised (though tickled pink about the latter). I wish I could say I had the gifts of Julia but practically speaking, you and I are just more Irma sort of folk!


  2. Linda
    Nov 01, 2010 @ 08:19:42

    I was almost 21 years old before I ate a boxed macaroni & cheese meal. I never thought of using evaporated milk (evap. milk is used in many low-fat recipes).


    • growingmuses
      Nov 01, 2010 @ 10:59:25

      the converse is somewhat true for me, although in my mother’s defense, I recently asked her to help me get dinner ready for the kids by handing her a box of mac & cheese and she added both the noodles and the cheese packet when the water came to a boil (having only ever made it from scratch).


  3. Dolly
    Nov 01, 2010 @ 12:04:19

    I have made this before and added gruyere or emmentaler. Super yummy, but neither of my kids like Mac n Cheese, go figure. If you want to know what else you can do w/ evaporated milk….oh my. Creamy soups and the most delicious and decadent brownies EVER. Go blog!!!


    • growingmuses
      Nov 01, 2010 @ 12:14:12

      Oh yum! I should have thought to seek input from gourmands first. Thanks for the suggestions…guess I’ll be buying more evaporated milk now. To think, that last can had been in my cupboard for nearly 4 years.


  4. slightlywonky
    Nov 01, 2010 @ 15:22:35

    MMMM…yummy! That sounds so good, especially on a cool, fall day! The recipe really is easy, isn’t it? Meanwhile, I have several boxes of the powdered variety at home. SIGH. Maybe I’ll pick up some evaporated milk today…


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