Ok, so this recipe is kind of out of character for me. I realize that this blog is supposed to be ~healthyish~ or whatever but this is real life. And sometimes, when you’re deep in the throes of real, real life, you need mac and cheese. And there’s just no way around that. And that’s fine, so just embrace it.
However, when that mac craving hits you like a burlap sack full of bricks, I highly recommend taking the extra few minutes to make this guy instead of reaching for the processed garbage. They can tell you it’s real cheese all they want, but it’s still just weird dust in a packet. Dust ain’t cheese. Sorry. Kraft execs are a bunch of liars and they’re feeding you garbage. (I feel very strongly about this. More on that later.)
Don’t let homemade mac and cheese scare you! It’s really not hard once you get a handle on making a bechamel. If, at this point, you’re googling the word bechamel and thinking there’s literally no way you’re getting into advanced cooking just to make some damn mac and cheese, calm down. A bechamel is a simple sauce made with flour, butter, and milk, and it’s the basis of every creamy, delicious pasta sauce you’ve ever eaten. So you should learn to make it, so you can have the joy of creamy, delicious pasta in your very own home. With a breadcrumb topping. You deserve this.
I’d be willing to bet you already have most, if not all, of the ingredients for this in your cupboard and fridge. Except for maybe ground mustard, but you need that to make any mac and cheese, so you should probably consider making it a pantry staple anyway. You’re literally minutes away from real, actual mac and cheese, in a personal bowl, all to yourself. Get on it.
Baked Mac and Cheese For One
- 1/2 cup dry pasta (with nooks and crannies—elbows, cavatappi, something that can hold a lot of SAWCE)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- Pinch black pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup shredded cheese (a mix of cheddar and gruyere is best, but regular cheddar by itself will work just fine)
- 1/8 tsp ground mustard
- Cracker crumbs + more cheese, for topping
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a small baking dish or oven-safe bowl and set aside.
- Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Working quickly, whisk in flour and cook for about a minute, or until golden-brown.
- Whisk in salt and pepper, onion powder, and milk. Continue whisking for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese, ground mustard, and cooked pasta.
- Pour mixture into greased dish, top with cracker crumbs and more cheese, and bake about 10 minutes or until cheese on top is melted, golden, and bubbling.