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Homemade mac-n-cheese for microwave or range

New column will teach college students how to cook tasty food without their mother.

By: Kendra Swearingen

Macaroni and Cheese is a classic dish that is very easy to make. Homemade Mac-n-cheese is almost as simple as the boxed stuff and tastes twice as good. This recipe from Megan and Jill Carle’s “College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends.” There’s also an adapted version you can make completely in your microwave.

What you need:
1 pound uncooked macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 pound sliced American cheese
1/2pound lean ham
Colander (a.k.a. strainer)
Large Saucepan
Large baking dish
Large microwavable bowl

On the Range

Bring large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until al dente (firm). Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the baking dish lightly with grease.

Melt butter in same saucepan you cooked the pasta in and add flour. Stir constantly until mixture begins to bubble (do not let brown). Add about 1/2 cup milk and stir until smooth. Add the remaining 1 and 1/2 cups milk and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, until it comes to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add cheese; stir until cheese is completely melted.

Dice the ham and add to cheese sauce. Add pasta and stir until completely coated with cheese.

Place mixture in a large baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Remove from the over and serve immediately.

In the Microwave

Put pasta in large microwavable bowl and add water until past is covered (leave a good inch from the top of the dish). Microwave the pasta 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until al dente (firm). Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.

Microwave butter in large bowl for 45 seconds or until melted. Add flour, stir until smooth and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add about 1/2 cup milk, stir very well, until smooth. Add remaining 1 and 1/2 cups milk and stir well. Microwave 10 minutes, taking it out to stir every 2 to 3 minutes. Mixture should be boiling. Add cheese to mixture and stir until cheese is completely melted.

Dice ham and stir into cheese sauce. Stir pasta into mix. Microwave about 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.

Tips and Substitutions
• This recipe makes about 9 cups of macaroni, so you can either have leftovers, feed some friends, or cut the recipe in half.
• You can substitute any pasta for macaroni, but pastas that are hollow tend to hold the most cheese.
• You can also substitute any soft cheese for American cheese. I personally think cheddar cheese the best. 
• Spam is a cheap and tasty substitute for ham, or you can make it plain or with chicken and broccoli.
• If you are very careful, you can drain the pasta with a large plate instead of using a colander.
• If you are having trouble with the water boiling over when cooking, add some butter or oil.

•  Kendra Swearingen’s column “College Eats” will appear in the Whalesong throughout the semester, to provide some good ideas for food student’s can make in their dorm, apartment or anywhere. It will present simple recipes for the average college students. Some recipes call for flour or other basic ingredients which will make it seem expensive at first because they will come in larger quantities than necessary for a single recipe, but once the kitchen/kitchenette is stocked, it will be a lot cheaper than most other food options.

Content maintained by Whalesong staff.