Thursday, January 23, 2014

Genevieve's Macaroni and Cheese

One snow day, Genevieve clamored to eat macaroni and cheese for lunch.  Usually, leftovers in the fridge that need to be eaten take precedence over such requests.  This is good thrifty training.  

However, Genevieve ran and got her dolly kettle and put it on the stove and kept begging to make mac and cheese until I recalled Leila's easy stovetop recipe.  And I typed up the recipe for her and she made mac and cheese for us! She has happily repeated the process several times since then.

Genevieve likes to have help pouring out the hot pasta water and yesterday she complained that her arm hurt from stirring the double batch she insisted on making, but otherwise, she does this recipe herself.  

I stay nearby, though, because she is still learning to read her recipe over and over to stay on track and make sure she is prepared for the next step in the recipe. She is 8 years old, as a point of reference for cook training.

I made my serving into chili-mac.  So delicious.

Here is the recipe as I typed it up for my apprentice cook.

Genevieve's Macaroni  and Cheese (tweaked just a little from Leila)
2 cups small, dry pasta
½ cup milk, preferably at least 2%
¼ cup hot pasta water from boiling pasta
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. dry mustard
few grinds black pepper and maybe more to taste
1/2 tsp. salt plus more for the pasta water
1 Tbsp. butter
1 1/3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese or maybe a mix of 2 cheeses

 1.  Fill pan with water half full.  Add 2 small spoons  of salt.  Put lid on and bring to boil.  Put pasta in.  Cook with lid off on high heat for 5-7 minutes until pasta is al dente.
2.  Scoop or pour out ¼ cup pasta water.
3.  Drain rest of pasta in colander in sink.  Return it to hot pan. 
4.  Over low heat, add 1 Tbsp. butter and stir until melted. 
5.  Mix pasta water with ½ cup milk, 1 Tbsp. cornstarch,  ¼ tsp. dry mustard, salt, and pepper.  Pour over pasta and butter in pan, stirring.
6.  Cook and stir until sauce is thick.

7.  Add cheese, stirring until melted.  Taste.  Adjust seasoning if needed.  Serve with a smile!


Jennifer Jo said...

Chili mac---what a great idea.

Unknown said...

I love to make this on occaision too, I use the extra large shells...

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

I love mac n cheese too.
Genevie is adorable..She is really learning a lot. How wonderful that she has a mom , who is spending the time ,to teach her..

jenny_o said...

I am so glad to see this! I love mac and cheese but always sigh inside at the extra pot to wash.

Did you know that if you use a half-decently heavy pot to cook the pasta that you can bring it to a boil, turn off the heat, wait until the bubbling stops, put on the lid and it will cook in the same amount of time as usual? Just don't peek until the time is up.

Apologies if I've already told you this. I was so thrilled to figure it out, I'm afraid I can't resist telling it EVERY TIME I read a recipe for pasta :)

Margo said...

jenny_o, whaaaaat?! No, I didn't know that! I am definitely going to try that next time! Thanks for the tip (and how on earth did you figure that out?).

MDiskin said...

I am jumping on that no-boil pasta method! I always have a preschooler screaming at me that "IT'S BOILING OVER, MOMMY!!!!"-- nervewracking!

Beth said...

This looks wonderful.

The training is going beautifully! :-)

Anonymous said...

A thought for helping Genevieve know she's done each step - put each recipe inside a plastic sleeve or laminate each page. Then as you go along you use a dry-erase marker to "check" each ingredient or step. When you're done, you wipe it off.

I've done this for myself when doing large batches of something or making a lot of Christmas cookies in one day - sometimes the amount of things in each recipe gets confusing.

My granddaughter loves to cook and bake at our house, because we can have fun without the stress that sometimes happens with mums and dads. Enjoy the time with your daughter!

Chris S

jenny_o said...

Margo, I've been racking my brain about how I learned the pasta cooking trick, but I truly can't remember. I've been doing it that way since the '90's, that's all I know! Hope it works for you. I should mention that I don't use many different types of pasta, just elbow, rotini, shell and spaghetti, and it does not work well with spaghetti but it does with the rest. Not sure why.

jenny_o said...

And by racking of course I meant wracking ... :)

Margo said...

Chris S, thank you for the excellent idea with the recipe in laminate!

BLD in MT said...

I adore hearing about G's progress cooking. And I am so glad she such an enthusiastic budding chef! And I cannot wait to try that pasta cooking tip from Jenny myself!

Jeanetta said...

In reference to the no-boil method, you can also make hard boiled eggs using the same principle- cover eggs with cold water, bring to a boil, then remove pot from heat and cover. Let stand for 10-12 minutes. I love easy shortcuts! I also found on how to make hard boiled eggs in the crock pot.

Margo said...

Jeanetta, thanks for the egg tips. I've been steaming eggs to hardboil them because it makes them so easy to peel. Here's the method:

Thanks for the crockpot website - I will check it out!