Mac ‘n’ Cheese with a Twist

There aren’t many kids around who don’t like macaroni and cheese. It doesn’t matter how picky they are, kids just love this dish.

maccheeseWhether it’s the kind that comes out of a box like the one from Kraft or your own homemade version, mac ‘n’ cheese is classic comfort food.

And it’s not just kids who love it. Take my friend and former co-worker, Ryan Bakken. He had an insatiable taste for macaroni and cheese.

When we lived together as students and Moorhead State University (now Minnesota State Moorhead) and later in Grand Forks as young sportswriters at the Herald, Ryan probably ate mac ‘n’ cheese at least three or four times a week. The reason? It was easy to make and tasted great.

While I didn’t quite share his penchant for mac ‘n’ cheese, it is a favorite of mine. Therese makes it ever so often, and on the rare occasion, so do I.

Recently, I made a variation of mac ‘n’ cheese using the following recipe, which was shared with my grandson. He absolutely loved it, as did I. It’s almost as easy to make as the boxed variety, and it tastes even better. Give it a try. I’m sure that you will agree.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese with a Twist
3 cups uncooked macaroni
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
2 cups milk
1 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup croutons
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly.
Stir in milk, and heat to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute.
Add cheese and tomatoes. Stir until cheese is melted, then remove from heat.
Stir macaroni into cheese sauce and then transfer to an ungreased 9-by-12-inch baking dish. Cover with croutons.
Bake uncovered 30 minutes or until heated through.
Yield: Serves 8.

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