Mac & Cheese: Kid Style
4 cups dry macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup half & half or cream
1 cup American cheese (the real stuff, not the singles wrapped in plastic- that won't work)
3/4 cup cheddar
1 tsp salt (plus maybe some more to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes (until it's barely soft). You want it to have some firmness because it will cook more in the oven. Rinse throughly in cold water & set aside.
Warm up your milk & half & half in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes or until milk is luke warm.
In medium pot melt butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in flour & whisk together constantly for 5 minutes. This is your rue & the important thing about rue is to let it cook enough that the flour taste gets out, but not let it burn. So keep your eye on it & stir. The rue will get bubbly & frothy & turn brown- perfect. Slowly pour in mild & whisk it together. Whisk often until it becomes thick.
Reduce heat to low. At a 1/2 cup at a time add in the cheeses. Whisk until incorporated between each addition. Add in the salt. Now taste it, if it's a little blah add a pinch of salt & taste. Keep doing this until it taste good & you want to drink up the cheese sauce.
Mix the macaroni & cheese sauce together until every noodle is coated. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan or any other baking dish. If desired sprinkle the top with a little bit of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly (but not too long, you don't want it to dry out). Serve to little ones in big bowls.
*If you're in a hurry cook macaroni for the full time (about 8 minutes) until it is tender. Mix the cheese sauce & macaroni together & serve immediately.