MmmmMac & Cheese

by kimgerber on 12/05/2010

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What kid (or adult for that matter) doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?  It’s warm, gooey deliciousness screams “comfort food” –  especially on a cold winter day.  But a boxed product we’ve come to know as macaroni and cheese doesn’t even contain “cheese” in the pure sense of the word.  In fact, the word “cheese” is only found on the last line of a long list of ingredients.  So what do we do when our kids only want “the orange macaroni and cheese”?  And what if your kids cringe at the site of…ready…gasp…bread crumbs on top of baked macaroni and cheese?  Is this sounding familiar?

I’ve scoured the internet and cookbooks in the past, looking for a good macaroni and cheese recipe to make for my kids.  I’ve tried baked recipes (yes, some with bread crumbs) and stove-top versions, but I never found the right one.  The cheese always ended up being stringy instead of creamy, the taste not quite right, and the baked ones were just too dry for my kids tastes.  But since I wasn’t willing to go back to the boxed Mac and Cheese, I knew I had to create a good stove-top recipe that my kids would like and I would be comfortable serving them.

Mission accomplished.


THE COMPARISON: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese vs. Out of the Box Stove-top Mac & Cheese

(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at by clicking on the ingredient)


Kraft Macaroni and Cheese


  • enriched macaroni product
    • wheat flour
    • niacin
    • ferrous sulfate [iron]
    • thiamin mononitrate [viatmin B1],
    • riboflavin [vitamin B2]
    • folic acid

Contains less that 2 % of:

**All listed product ingredients are taken from product’s package label.  Though Out of the Box Food makes every effort to provide complete ingredient information, please check the package for the most current information.


Out of the Box Stove-top Mac & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

Special Equipment: Cheese grater, saucepan, large pot

Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/8 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 C half and half
  • 1/2 C (packed) Havarti cheese, grated
  • 1/2 C (packed) Gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 C (packed) Mild Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 lb. macaroni noodles (or any small noodles:  Henry’s Market has fun holiday shaped macaroni)


  • Set a pot of water to a boil.
  • Grate cheeses and set aside.
  • When water is boiling, add macaroni and cook according to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan over low heat.
  • Add flour and stir until combined.  Cook flour mixture for 2 minutes.
  • Slowly add milk and whisk until smooth.
  • Add half and half and bring just to a simmer.
  • Add cheeses and cook until melted.
  • When macaroni is cooked, drain and return to pot.
  • Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and gently stir to combine.
  • Serve.


Look at that.  Your kids can have mac & cheese without carcinogens or chemicals believed to cause hyperactivity in children.  Who knew?  I’d love to know what you and your kids think about this recipe.  If you try it, please come back and comment.  There is always room for improvement in any recipe so if you have suggestions I’d love to hear them!  Next week we’re going to delve into the world of marshmallows.  There are so many ways to use these little puffs of corn syrup during the holiday season that I figured it’s time to take ’em on.  Until next week…

© 2010 – 2012, kimgerber. All rights reserved.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

damien July 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Thank you for the recipe.
I am unsure what “1 C half and half” in the recipe. Is it a typo or am I just not getting it?



kimgerber July 13, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Hi Damien,
This is 1 cup of 1/2 & 1/2 (not heavy whipping cream, and not milk – it’s called half and half on the package). Hope this helps!


Mary Solis December 6, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Another great post, Kim!

What are your thoughts on the Annie’s brand? Hopefully more towards the “OOTBF” recipe than the Kraft (though must admit I grew up on the latter — think that was a staple at my house and all my friends too!).

Tks much!


kimgerber December 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Hi Mary,
In my un-expert opinion, Annie’s is better than Kraft. Here is the list of ingredients in the Annie’s product so you can be the judge:
Organic Wheat Macaroni, cheddar cheese (culture pasteurized milk, salt, non-animal enzymes), whey, buttermilk, salt, cream, natural flavor, natural sodium phosphate, annatto extract for natural color.
Thanks for the comment!!


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