Stovetop Mac n Cheese

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on January 6, 2012

Jenna emailed this recipe to me from White on Rice Couple. And I was so skeptical that I had to try it…even though I rarely make Mac n Cheese because of the boy’s dairy allergies. I made it anyways, and it worked out perfectly…

Right before Christmas, Ryan woke up one morning with a fully body rash. After grilling him about what he ate at school the day before, thinking it was a delayed food allergy reaction, I made an appointment that morning with the pediatrician. She diagnosed him with Fifth disease, a virus that causes fully body rash in kids…and can cause rash, fatigue, joint pain and swelling in adults.

I commented to our pediatrician how I’d been feeling fatigue like I’d never felt before, along with some malaise but no other symtpoms. She told me to watch out for the symptoms above. And lo and behold I broke out into the rash the following week, and also ended up super swollen hands, very sore ankles and knees for about 5 days. I felt very much like a leper with the rash…and very much like an 80 year old woman with severe arthritis. But I welcomed the time I got to spend resting on the couch, and I enjoyed the time I got to spend reading with the boys as well!

According to my family practice physician sister, I got hit pretty hard with it, as it doesn’t usually hit adults as it did hit me. Most adults don’t get Fifth disease because they had been exposed to the virus as a child, built the necessary immunity and don’t have to worry about it as adults. Obviously I was never exposed to it as a child. And neither was my dear friend, Steph. Her son had it over Christmas…and he shared it with her. *sigh

Yesterday morning I get into a text conversation with her about all this Fifth disease madness. It took all of 3 milliseconds for me to figure out that I’d be taking her this mac n cheese, cookies, and other goodies for dinner last night. She is in the “worst of the worst” phase…and I wasn’t taking no for an answer! We are now in an exclusive “Moms with Fifth disease club” now…and we Fifth diseasers have to look out for each other ;)

I gave her about 15 warnings about this being a new cooking method, that I hadn’t tried before….and apologized 22 times in advance…in case it bombed.

Well, apparently it didn’t bomb. This is part of the text exchange we had this morning.

Apparently, it was the best ever…even after being reheated!

I only modified the recipe to make more to feed her hungry boys…and to use what I had on hand….

Also…this is a very hands on cooking method…the results are totally worth it though. Read the directions carefully :)

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Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted from One Pot Macaroni and Cheese from White on Rice Couple

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups elbow or other small shell pasta ($.40)
  • 3 cups whole milk (I wouldn’t use skim, but 2% would probably give similar creaminess) ($.30)
  • 1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard ($.05)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder ($.05)
  • Couple dashes of nutmeg ($.03)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese ($1.49)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese ($.35)
  • Parsley or basil for garnish ($.05)
  • Side of fresh fruit or veggies ($1)

 

Directions

  • In a medium saucepan, add the pasta, milk, mustard, garlic powder and nutmeg and turn on the heat on medium-high. Bring the milk to a simmer (just as you start seeing little bubbles form).
  • Quickly turn it down to LOW. You don’t want the milk to heat too fast and boil over into a mess!
  • Let the macaroni cook in the milk mixture over the low heat…stirring often. And by often, I mean often…every 30 seconds. It will take 6-8 minutes from this point for the pasta to soak up all the milk. You need to stir because the pasta on the bottom will absorb the liquid, and you don’t want the pasta on the top to be chewy. So it needs to be turned over. You’ll see what I mean when you try it! If you think it needs a little more liquid, add water 1/4 cup at a time. I didn’t need any…but you can if you need it. (This is cool to watch…and would be a great little “experiement” or cooking science lesson for kids.)
  • Once the pasta is al dente, remove it from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese and Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately with favorite side dishes…fresh veggies or fruit!

Cost $3.72

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

silver January 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I tried making this a month ago and I must have done something wrong. The noodles were cooked, the taste was good, but the cheese didn’t melt well and was kind of grainy/gritty.

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Marianne G. January 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

Wondering if maybe the cheese you used was low/no fat – that could have caused both issues you had.

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Kelly January 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm

We had Fifths Disease in our family last year. We call it Slapped Face Disease here in Texas because of the rosy cheeks! I thought our daughter’s teacher was joking when she said that…never heard of it! But my husband thought he has severe arthritis and it turned out to be this.

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Amy January 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I had Fifths Disease when I was pregnant. Luckily it didn’t affect the baby but I can So relate. The crippled hands were awful! You can’t open a door handle even. Glad you are over it and feeling better.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom January 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Wow Amy! So glad to hear it didn’t affect your baby!

Erin

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Stephany January 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

The spicy mustard, nutmeg and garlic give it the perfect ‘smoky’ taste! It was delicious! Thanks for sharing!!!!

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Rebekah @ Making Miracles January 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm

This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing! :)

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Kate @ Venison For Dinner January 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Oh dear. I think I need to make this for lunch tomorrow!!

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Claire January 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm

It seems so simple. I must try this soon. Only 1 of my 6 does’nt like mac.ncheese. He can have a
Pbj. Lol

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Marianne G. January 7, 2012 at 7:38 am

Sounds delish! p.s. I know now since you tell use how to cook it, that the pasta listed in the ingredients starts out as uncooked.

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noreen January 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Hi you mentioned dairy free margarine . I have been trying margarine brands and my oat meal cookies have turned out like flat pancakes. With your dairy sensitivities any suggestions on good brands or what do you use for cookies? I appreciate your site very much. God bless Noreen

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Shawna January 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Made this for dinner tonight and turned out great. So easy and my 18 month old love it. I added in about 3/4 frozen peas towards the end of cooking and 1 tsp. tumeric. I wanted it more yellow so added in turmeric, did not affect the taste. Yummy and easy.

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Christine January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Sounds great! Do you think this might work with gluten-free pasta as well? Say a small shell type variety?

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