Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ceci's 2nd Birthday Mac and Cheese

Gluten Free Shells, with Cheese sauce

My sweet baby turned 2 this year and we decided to celebrate at home with friends.  We decided since it was Ceci's birthday we would make food that she loves, the menu consisted of Hebrew National Hot Dogs, Mac and Cheese, cookies, and cupcakes.  All Gluten free without question!  There were of course chips, and veggies, but Ceci wasn't too worried about those.  If I haven't mentioned it before I should, Ceci Dislikes all vegetables, she loves fruit, but will not touch any kind of veggie, if I get her to put it into her mouth, she takes it out and hands it back to me, Thanks!  So we kept it simple, so that children and adults could enjoy the cuisine together.

For dinner we served Hebrew National Hot Dogs, and Chicken Apple Sausage, and my husband marinated two different concoctions of chicken drumsticks.  All of which were devoured by kids and adults.  For a side dish I made a huge batch of cheese sauce for Mac and Cheese, because we had such a large population of gluten eaters we made two pots of noodles and just dispersed the sauce accordingly.  My husband was able to warm the mac and cheese on the side burner of his massive grill so it was wonderfully cheesy warm for all to enjoy.  I love making my own roux for cheese sauce, since I have mastered this, we can't stand the thought of eating mac and cheese from a box.  Don't get me wrong I still have a box in the house for a rainy day, but if I can plan ahead I prefer to have home made roux and cheese sauce.  I think I have figured it out sort of, the biggest ingredient that I have to include is patience, which is unreasonably difficult for me to remember, but I'm getting better at it.  Here are the other physical ingredients you will need to make yummy Mac and Cheese.

Mac and Cheese Sauce

1  Tbsp butter
1  Tbsp Cornstarch
1  Cup Milk (warmed)
2  Cups Shredded cheese  (we prefer 1/2 Monterey Jack, 1/2 Sharp Cheddar)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt Butter in a medium sauce pan, add in Cornstarch and stir until cornstarch blends into butter, now wait for cornstarch to start to brown within the melted butter.  I find this gives it a bit of a nutty taste and allows the cornstarch to develop to it's proper ability.  While waiting for the cornstarch, place the milk into the microwave and warm for 1-1.5 min, adding cold milk to the roux will take longer for the cornstarch to reach the point where it "works", by warming the milk you do not shock the warm mixture, you coax it to work together.  The milk does not need to be hot, just no longer cold.  Add the warm milk to the mixture and stir frequently, once the sauce begins to thicken, add all the shredded cheese.  Allow the cheese to melt and mix into the sauce, add salt and pepper to taste, I prefer to add these at the end because some cheeses are saltier than others.  Serve over warm noodles and try not to eat the entire pot yourself!

Melted butter and cornstarch

Finished cheese sauce