Mac n cheese is the favorite snack of many people. It is of English origin, made up of cheese sauce of your choice and cooked macaroni. This delicious dish was invented by “Mary Randolph”. She made Mac n cheese by using macaroni and parmesan cheese. Later on, parmesan cheese was replaced by cheddar cheese. Mac n cheese homemade is very simple and easy to make. It is as cheesy as a cheese ball and as soft as a cloud. It can be served as the main course as well as a side dish.
Mac n cheese is very popular just because of its enjoyable and luscious taste. In the United States, Mac n cheese is considered comfort food. Packaged mixes of Mac n cheese are available in the market in a wide variety. It’s your choice to cook them on a stovetop, or in a microwave. It is a fact that by using packaged mixes, Mac n cheese can be cooked for more people in lesser time, but it also has a negative side like the boxed Mac n cheese is full of additives, preservatives, artificial flavors and different chemicals that are not good for health.
If you are craving for Mac and cheese, the best and the healthy way to meet your craving is to make home-made Mac n cheese. The best thing about this homemade Mac n cheese is that you can minus all those ingredients that you don’t like. You also have a choice to make a healthy Mac n cheese by adding protein-rich bacon, chicken or ham. Tex-Mex seasonings or jalapeno peppers can be added to spice up your home-made Mac n cheese. Here you will get the recipe along with tips for making super creamy and delicious gluten-free Mac n cheese at home.
Recipe for homemade mac n cheese gluten free
Tips for making homemade mac n cheese
Salt your water
Always add salt in the boiling water for macaroni or pasta etc. It will develop an awesome taste in the Mac n cheese. It is advised to check the taste of the sauce and add more spices after adding cheese if it needs it.
Choose flavored cheese
If you want to enjoy the yummy flavor of Mac n cheese, you must select the flavored cheese. Sharp cheddar and Swiss cheese work great. Plain cheeses with no flavor punch or subtle cheeses like Colby jack and mozzarella should not be used.
Grate your cheese
Pre-shredded cheese is sometimes coated with cellulose that hinders the melting process of cheese and can also make your sauce lumpy. Bagged or packaged cheese contains preservatives and additives that are not good for health. Buy the block and shred your cheese to avoid the additives.
Carefully control the temperature
Keep the temperature low while making a white sauce and patiently stir the mixture. If cheese gets too hot then there are possibilities that it may split or become a little grainy. Then it will not give the texture you want in your Mac n cheese.
It all depends on your choice. If you want to bake your mac n cheese, microwave it for few minutes otherwise skip this step and simply broil the Mac n cheese for 4-5 minutes to get ultra-creamy Mac n cheese with the brown top.
Make Mac n cheese ahead
If you want to make gluten-free Mac n cheese ahead, and then add the pasta in the sauce in a baking dish, stir it and leave until it comes to the room temperature. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 days. When you want to bake it, remove the plastic wrap, and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes over 400 degrees heat.
Pasta selection to make gluten-free mac n cheese
A variety of macaroni or pasta is available in the market. When you are going to make gluten-free Mac n cheese then you have to be very careful in Pasta selection. Barilla’s gluten-free elbow macaroni is the best for this recipe. It eliminates the sticky, goopy brown rice nastiness. Barilla’s gluten-free elbow macaroni is almost available in every market or grocery store. If you want to bake your mac n cheese then cook macaroni to just al dente because overcooking will ruin your recipe.
Gluten-free thickener for homemade mac n cheese
Usually, in mac n cheese recipes a blend of cheese, eggs, and cream is used and that’s fine. In the case of this gluten-free mac n cheese recipe, you need a thickener because it is made with a roux or a white sauce. It is recommended to use xanthan containing gluten-free flour blend as a thickener.
If a gluten-free flour blend is not available, you don’t need to worry because you can also use cornstarch slurry to thicken your cheese sauce. For this purpose, first of all, mix melted butter and half of the milk. In the remaining cold milk add 1 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch, combine well, and then pour it in the milk and butter mixture in the skillet. Add cheeses in it when the sauce is thickened. The cheese sauce will lose its thickening power when you simmer cornstarch too long. So you should add cheese when the sauce comes to a bubble.
Variations to make healthier mac n cheese
Amp-up cheese sauce with vegetable puree:
Cheese contains a lot of nutrients but cheese over consumption can be harmful. Cut down the cheese and enhance the nutritional value of mac n cheese with vegetable puree like butternut squash puree. It is better to cut the whole cheese by swapping the cheese sauce with pureed carrots.
Make use of whole wheat pasta:
Whole wheat macaroni or noodles are better than the standard elbow macaroni. They will give a lovely taste when enjoyed with diced broccoli, roasted chicken, or smoky cheddar sauce.
Replace some of the cheese with plain yogurt:
If you use yogurt in the mac n cheese it will give some extra tang to mac n cheese recipe. Mix it with a small amount of parmesan cheese and garlic to get a healthy and creamy mac n cheese.
Add more and more greens:
If you add some roasted or steamed green veggies in your mac n cheese, it will be beneficial for you from a health point of view.
Enhance the flavor with roasted garlic:
Roasted garlic will give a naturally creamy flavor to the mac n cheese. It will help make super satisfying mac and cheese without the addition of too much cheese.
Use legume-based pasta:
You should try the legume-based pasta. It is very beneficial in the sense that it is not only gluten-free but also provides lovelier flavor than the traditional pasta. Legume pasta is rich in fibers about 4 times more than that of the traditional pasta and contains fewer carbohydrates that are almost 33%. It is also considered that it provides almost 50% of the recommended daily protein.
Use alternative milk:
Milk or creams are used to make mac n cheese. To make your dish healthier replace the milk or cream with alternative milk, for example, soy, almond, rice, flax, or coconut milk. These alternative milk are lower in calories and fats along with higher amounts of calcium.
Add seasonings to cut down the cheese:
To cut down some amount of cheese from your mac n cheese, use spices and seasonings to enhance its taste. Paprika powder, garlic, and onion powder are all good additions.