Growing up with long harsh winters is not a new thing to me since I grew up in Iowa. I remember living in Storm Lake, Iowa very early in my childhood. While I may sound like a senior citizen, I do remember snow drifts as tall as our house. One year, my dad helped us build a slide and fort fit for an Eskimo. We then moved to southern Iowa. It did not snow quite as fierce, but we still got a lot of snow. He was the kindergarten through 12th grade principal in Blakesburg, Iowa. When they were debating on whether or not to call off school, the superintendent would call my dad and ask if the bus would be able to make it up our steep, hilly driveway to pick me up for school. If the bus couldn't make it, instant snow day! We knew my parents would not be able to make it out either. We were snowed in. Above all, what I remember most about those cold winters was my mom and dad making the cheesiest, most gooiest macaroni and cheese.
We always had milk, some sort of noodle, butter, and a brick of cheese on hand just in case. It has taken a little bit of practice to create a gluten-free version as close to home as this. I think I've finally got it. This recipe is super simple with the most basic of ingredients. I've taken out the flour and regular pasta noodles, yet maintained a creamy consistency by cooking the noodles directly in the sauce. If you are looking for a comforting dish that reminds you of your childhood, this is it!
Gluten-Free Duree Macaroni 'n' Cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups skim milk
8 oz. 2% Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon dried chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups dried gluten-free noodles (can be any shape)
1 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese
Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Place milk, Velveeta, cream cheese, dried onion, salt, and pepper in a large sauce pan. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes or until all ingredients are smooth and combine. Toss pasta into the sauce pan. Stir to combine. Pour into your casserole dish. The mixture will be soupy at this point. It is okay as the noodles will eventually absorb the excess liquid. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. When you are ready to bake and serve, uncover the dish, give the pasta a stir to break up any noodles that have clumped together and release the starches to thicken the sauce. Let set at room temperature while your oven preheats at 375 degrees. When your oven is preheated, stir again, place in the oven, and bake for 25 minutes. Pull the dish out. Stir once again to break up any pasta that has clumped together. Sprinkle the cheddar over the top. Bake another 5 minutes or until the cheddar has melted and begins to bubble. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.
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