Better than Boxed: Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

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I wanted to share with you how I make mac and cheese at our house.  At first, I used The Sneaky Chef’s technique to add pureed carrots to boxed mac and cheese, but as I grew more comfortable with substituting and my son ONLY wanted to eat mac and cheese 3 days of the week… I had to get creative.  He is very slim and every calorie counts!  I love ricotta cheese because it packs on the calcium and protein he needs to grow (he’s not a big milk drinker either). After much experimenting, I began creating larger batches to freeze ahead.   I love knowing I can just go to the freezer and pull out a serving to make an entire dinner!
I am going to share how to make a quick 1 dinner serving or a freeze ahead of 12!

Better than Boxed: MOMables Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
 
Author:
Cuisine: Dinner
Ingredients
For batch cooking:
  • 5lb bag organic carrots, peeled and washed
  • 32oz (2lb) container part skim ricotta cheese
  • 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup milk
For a single serving:
  • 1 cup steamed carrots
  • ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2TB milk
Instructions
  1. Peel and wash carrots. Cut in a few pieces. Steam until tender (12-15min for that size load) or break up into batches.
  2. In a blender/food processor add half of all the ingredients above and blend/puree well.
  3. Repeat process for remaining carrots.
  4. In a large pot, heat carrots, ricotta cheese, shredded cheddar, and milk until everything is melted and dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. After cooling, pour 1 cup of pureed carrots into individual zip bags or freezer containers.
To make mac and cheese dinner:
  1. Cook 1 lb box macaroni (or pasta of choice), drain.
  2. In pot add pasta, 1 cup carrot cheese sauce and 2 tablespoons of milk. Warm, stir and serve!

 

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Comments

  1. fanny says

    My kids love mac and cheese too, but I’ve never succeeded in making a “good” one. The sauce that I made previously always seem thick and not smooth like those in the restaurants. How do they make it that way anyway?
    I definitely will try this recipe and hopefully this is will be THE recipe that I’m keeping in my “favorite recipe”. Question though: so after you blend all the ingredients, you don’t need to cook them? if you don’t need to cook them why it needs cooling?
    Thx.

  2. says

    Loved this recipe! I made a few modifications in the end, but started off with your recipe above and my kids (and I) loved the sauce! I served it with some brown rice pasta. I really liked the consistency of the sauce…great way to sneak in those veggies!

  3. Crystal says

    I tried to make this with baby carrots. Not sure if I didn’t cook them long enough or if my food processor doesn’t do the job. It was kinda gritty and not smooth at all?! It had the consistency of the ricotta. My husband and 4 yr old ate it but said it needed more flavor and needed to be smoother. What can I do different besides cook regular carrots longer and get a better food processor? :)

    • says

      We had this for dinner tonight Crystal! I just pulled my little baggie out the freezer and… tada! I was ready. Sharp blades in your food processor are a must. If you need to sharpen them, fill with ice cubes and process away until you have “snow”. it makes a huge difference. I’ve had it “textured” before… and the kids seem to notice it.

      • Ruth P says

        Am planning on trying this for my mac-n-cheese addicted 6-yr old, but was hesitant b/c I have an old, cheap food processor and as he likes to tell me – “You know I’m a sensitive guy, Mom – I don’t like chunky stuff”. I had NO idea you could sharpen the blades with ice cubes. WOW! Now I can make the homemade icee recipe and the mac-n-cheese. Win-Win! Thank you for that wonderful piece of advice.

  4. Danell says

    I have a lot of frozen pumpkin purée that I’d like to use in this recipe. Do you have any idea how much of that would be equivalent to the 5 lbs of carrots? I’m really enjoying you site!! Thank you!!

  5. Monica says

    I’ve been anticipating making this for a while and it was surely tasty. My consistency was a bit thick and wasn’t pureed as well i would have liked. In hindsight (and when not being rushed) I’ll add more milk next time to allow for the food processor to do its job. I’ll be keeping this recipe; thanks.

    • says

      thank you for the feedback! yes, depending on the food processor… you might need a bit more milk. mine is pretty strong and will liquify anything! Thank you!

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