I’m going to admit that I used to LOVE Kraft Macaroni and Cheese…I even preferred it to homemade versions and it has been a lifelong staple of mine. However, as I’ve been learning about what is being put in the foods we eat, I’ve been quite frustrated with a lot of my old favorites. Kraft has been getting a lot of negative attention in the media lately because it uses Yellow 5 & Yellow 6 in most of its varieties of macaroni & cheese and a couple of bloggers (and many consumers, including myself) are pressuring Kraft to reformulate its products. As I’ve mentioned before, these yellow dyes are derived from petroleum and are known to cause hyperactivity in some children. The use of food dyes has been banned in Europe and other developed countries, so Kraft reformulated its products overseas so that it uses paprika (and other natural additives) to give its macaroni that bright yellow color. When the two boxes of prepared macaroni are placed side by side, there is no difference in color and numerous taste tests have proven that there is no difference in taste either. Because the FDA still allows these dyes in the United States, Kraft has left its recipe the same here because it’s cheaper. I could go on and on about how frustrating this is and what is being done to try to change this…but you can just read about it here, if you’re interested.
Two nights ago, I made this version of whole wheat macaroni & cheese (inspired by 100 Days of Real Food) for dinner and I was really happy with the results. I have two other macaroni and cheese recipes that I’m looking to try eventually (creamy and baked), but for now, this is the one that seems most comparable to Kraft’s popular blue box. I was shocked that it really did take the exact same amount of time to whip this up as it does to make the boxed version. 15 minutes from start to finish (this includes the time it took to boil the water). And what did my family think of it? I really liked it, my husband thought it was good (he’s not a big fan of mac & cheese to begin with), two of my three kids devoured their portions (and asked for more) and the other kid didn’t want any of it (which was not really a surprise). We ate the leftovers for lunch the next day and, while it didn’t warm up as well as the first time (what macaroni does?), it was still just as tasty!
Whole Wheat Macaroni & Cheese:
- 16 oz box of whole wheat noodles (I also buy Whole Foods’ Organic shells sometimes)
- 4 T organic butter
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 cups organic whole milk
- 2 cups cheese, freshly shredded (any variety-I used medium cheddar this time)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 T Dijon mustard, optional (I like Annie’s Naturals)
Boil noodles according to box. While noodles are cooking, melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and keep whisking until the mixture starts to darken. Whisk in the milk and keep whisking until the mixture starts to thicken. Stir in salt, mustard, and cheese. Once the cheese melts, add the cooked noodles and stir together. Serve immediately!
Yum! I’m a sucker for macaroni and cheese, though. I love it… Every. single. time! 🙂