Chances are that your children appreciate macaroni and cheese, and you should, too. It's an inexpensive source of protein that's easy to make and sure to please. Whether you stick with the packaged varieties, use processed cheese and dried pasta, or want to go gourmet with five cheese creations that are spiced with leeks and sprinkled with pancetta, mac and cheese has something for everyone. In fact, it's so popular that it made the 10 Foods of the Century list compiled in the 1990s by The Sacramento Bee from the opinions of food professionals evaluating dishes that most clearly represented American cooking [source: The Nibbler].
If you plan on cooking some mac and cheese at your house, remember:
- Elbow macaroni is a great accompaniment to this cheese dish. It holds the thick gooey sauce perfectly, and will even let some dribble into the hole in the center.
- The most popular cheeses for macaroni and cheese are American and cheddar. Cheese food preparations, like Velveeta, are also popular.
- If you're having problems with your cheddar cheese separating, try mixing it with another cheese, like American, or with a cheese food. If you're a cheddar purist, melt your cheese over low heat.
- Want to add to the nutritional value of your kids' favorite meal? Try using whole-wheat pasta. Under all that cheese, who'll know?
- Spice up your cheese with some . . .spices. Freshly ground nutmeg, red pepper or a little thyme will add some pep to your recipe. Need even more flavor? Try adding grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Coming up next, a ladleful of soup.