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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Quick Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Well, we have officially hit the halfway mark of 2011 and I can't believe it's July 4th weekend already. It's a time to celebrate our independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and is our national holiday. In the U.S., we celebrate with fireworks, picnics, parades, political speeches, concerts, BBQ's and family gatherings. Last night, we started off the weekend at our local township fireworks and had a blast with great friends. They had a band playing, food vendors and local businesses, rides for the kids including rock climbing, bouncy houses and even a small version of a mechanical bull (and no, I didn't go on it, but I was tempted). It was so refreshing to see my kids gathering with their friends, experiencing these times together and creating memories that will last a lifetime. The best part for me was looking around to see all of the children watching in awe as the sky turned brilliant colors of white, red and blue. 

As a kid myself, I used to love the pre-packaged boxed Macaroni and Cheese. Until one day, when I purchased it as an adult, I realized how salty it was. (And orange?!). So I made up a healthier version for my own kids and they actually prefer it. This is typically not a picnic food (unless you were in my home and that was the only thing my child would eat when she was 2) but it does make a great addition and is quick to make if you happen to have a picky eater in your family.

You can use whatever shaped pasta you wish. For this recipe in particular, I happened to have shells. I've even browned some ground beef and onions, mixed them with this macaroni and cheese and you get a quick and easy Beef-A-Roni dinner that's perfect for those nights when you just don't have the time. And for all my little friends who can't eat the standard Macaroni and Cheese and feel like you're missing something...make this with Gluten-Free Pasta!

Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb. Pasta
5 Slices American Cheese
1/2 Cup Fat Free or 2% Milk
1 Tbsp. Butter
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and put back into the pot. Add the cheese, milk and butter. Stir until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4-6.


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