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Copycat Blue Box Macaroni and Cheese

Who knows how many gourmet macaroni recipes, complete with rich, velvety sauces and crispy baked panko-crust toppings, have been turned down in favor of the infamous blue box? Countless kids across the country (and plenty of adults) are inescapably drawn to boxed macaroni. Maybe it’s the happy, vibrant, neon orange color. Perhaps it’s just familiarity: a taste of childhood that’s comforting and cozy and nigh universal. It’s a frustration to parents, spouses, and discerning diners  everywhere that their best, creamiest macaronis are met with furrowed brows and disappointment.

Blue Box Macaroni

The Original

Here’s a “homemade” macaroni and cheese that’s a perfect starter recipe for weaning your reluctant eater off of his or her blue box blues!

Boxed macaroni gets its taste from powdered cheese, so to mimic the particular tang of it, you’ll have to use a lower-quality cheese than you may be accustomed to. However, the method used for this cheese sauce is similar to making any kind of homemade macaroni, so you can start adding more of the cheeses you like as you go!

The Copycat

The Copycat

Copycat Blue Box Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 box elbow macaroni
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, (and more as needed)
  • 1/2 cup velveeta cheese (or Kraft singles)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt, to taste
  • food coloring, (optional)

Directions

  • Cook your elbow macaroni as you normally would. (Note: To mimic the soft texture of boxed macaroni, overcook the pasta for a minute past al dente)
  • Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Gradually and slowly add in the flour, whisking constantly. After a few minutes, a thick, smooth mixture about the texture of frosting should form (this is called a roux).
  • Drizzle in your milk and continue whisking as you pour. Once the sauce comes together and is fully smooth, remove it from the heat. (Note: The longer the sauce cooks over the heat, the thicker it gets. You want a thinner sauce to properly mimic boxed macaroni, so you might need to add more milk now or later).
  • While the pot is still hot, add in your cheeses and stir until it's all melted together. It should take about 3-4 minutes. If the cheeses aren't melting well, put the pot back over low heat and mix. If your sauce is too thick, whisk in more milk. At this point, if you want a macaroni that tastes and looks like boxed macaroni, add in 4 or 5 drops of yellow food coloring. (You might need a drop of red too). If you don't want food coloring, don't add it.
  • Add a touch of salt to your sauce, to taste. (I encourage you to taste the sauce and tweak the levels of cheese as you need to!)
  • Pour the sauce over your prepared pasta and mix!
 Copycat Blue Box Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

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