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Homemade Mac n Cheese | Cooking Challenge with Darbi

Darbi Townsend


Oct 30th, 2014

Cooking Challenge

Macaroni and Cheese.  Need I say more?  A household favorite for my family since the moment my children could voice their opinions about what they put in their mouths.  They love the stuff.  And I love the fact that I have the directions on the side of the box memorized and it can go from box to tummies in less than 15 minutes.  No fuss, no whining, no hassle.  Just plain simple.

The thought of attempting to recreate this family favorite is a humorous idea to me.  The only other homemade macaroni and cheese I remember consisted of a casserole dish full of elbow macaroni noodles, a few slices of cheese placed nicely in the center topped off with a cup or so of milk.  I still remember the joy I got when I realized that one of my noodles had a glob of cheese attached to it…the other 30 did not.    

Alas, this was the challenge.  Re-create a boxed favorite to see if it could pass the time test, difficulty test, my taste test and most importantly the kid test! 

I started this recipe the same way I do all recipes…with a deep breath!  If you can’t tell, I’m not a great cook.  In fact, if the kids don’t complain too much and none of us get sick, I think I won!  (Poor kids)

I pour the macaroni and the milk in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, I reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer remembering to stir often. 

Milk in pot

Noodles in pot


After about 10 minutes almost all of the milk had been absorbed and the noodles passed the done test…my ten year old daughter trying one and giving the thumbs up.

Stirring noodles


I typically do not use salt and pepper (I don’t like the taste so I figure anyone else who is brave enough to eat my food wouldn’t want it either).  However, I am learning some recipes add them for a reason.  And to be perfectly honest, who am I to tell someone who knows what they’re doing that they shouldn’t use the stuff?!?  So, I add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and Dijon mustard to the noodles.  I do believe these ingredients could be the strangest ones I’ve ever heard of being added to macaroni and cheese (please see above previous experience).  In fact, I had to ask the nice gentleman at Albertsons if smoked paprika was a real or made up thing.  It is real. 


Once mixed thoroughly, I add one cup of shredded cheese.  This is the part I love!  This is the time I start thinking this recipe may not be as crazy as I thought. 

Cheese in pot

Just in case though and to make it a little more appealing to my kidlets, I served it with chicken nuggets.  Come on, everything is better with chicken nuggets!

Dinner is served

But, could it pass all of my tests

  • Time test: Approximately 16 minutes – PASS
  • Difficulty test: Once I realized the ingredients were real – PASS
  • My Taste test: I admit it, before I fed the kids I took a little bit myself and OH MAN!  Talk about yummy! – PASS
  • Kid test: Well, we had mixed feelings in my home that night.  My ten year old daughter thought it was way better than any other macaroni and cheese she’s ever had!  She believes this is because of her “more mature taste buds”.   My eight year old son likes it, but still loves his boxed macaroni and cheese just a little more.  He may be a tough one to crack. 

In my opinion, this macaroni and cheese was incredible!  I hear it was quite a bit healthier AND it was so easy to make.  It didn’t require any extra steps or any extra time.  We will definitely be having it in my home again soon!


Happy Kids


Try this recipe out at home with your kids!  Get the recipe here

One Response to Homemade Mac n Cheese | Cooking Challenge with Darbi

  1. Sylvia 11/11/2014 at 12:38 pm

    I was a little disappointed that the “dinner is served” picture didn’t show up.

    I might try this today.

    I would have loved to have seen your kids have a bit more color on those plates. White mac n cheese and almost white nuggets, made me wonder at the nutrition they are getting.

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