MAC 'n' CHEESE  ( CHILDREN AMERICANUS)


NEW DAWN ON OLD FAVORITE
I came up with two versions of Mac 'n' Cheese because they are fast, pasta healthy, and with more of an adult taste because of the veggies in the second one. Besides less or reduced cooking and it's all stove top or microwave. I use this for patients recovering from various illnesses.  It brings back childhood too. from here on we’ll just call it MaC.

I have never been a fan of the prepared microwavable Kraft Mac and Cheese. It’s garbage.  In the same region of food netherland as “ Chef Boy-A Dee”.  No self respecting Italian eats “ Chef Boy-A-Dee” anything period.  Pouring catsup on pasta or on bread and call it Pizza would probably taste better. And frankly, lately they are more watered down in the can.  You used to have a fork to get out the contents now they drip out or stick to the bottom.

The goals were cooking ease, speed since MaC is usually an adult panic attack food for the kids after a hard days work. We tell it like it is on this site and you parents know what I am talking about.  The first recipe is conventional using Velveeta and kind of a standard. So if you need a quickie, here it is.  It is followed by the "rest of the story” that parents should read especially knowing whats in Velveeta.


CONVENTIONAL VELVEETA       Down-Home Macaroni & Cheese

25 min to prepare, total time 45 min, makes 5 cups
1/4 cup  
butter or margarine, divided
1/4 cup  flour
1 cup  
milk
1/2 lb.  (8 oz.) VELVEETA®, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups  
elbow macaroni, cooked <————
2 cup  KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese

6  RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/4 cup)

HEAT oven to 350°F.
MELT 3 Tbsp. butter in medium saucepan on medium heat. 
Whisk in flour; cook 2 min., stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to boil; cook and stir 3 to 5 min. or until thickened. Add VELVEETA; cook 3 min. or until melted, stirring frequently. Stir in macaroni.
SPOON into 2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with cheddar. Melt remaining butter; toss with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole.
BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.


October 31, 2013 - KRAFTS RECALL

Artificial food dyes In Kraft’s Macaroni and Cheese are under fire as petition calls for their removal.  The recall is voluntary. It affects some of its Kraft and Polly-O string cheese. The products are being recalled because they may change color and spoil before the expiration date listed on the packaging.  
The company said Friday that the voluntary recall affected about 735,000 cases that were shipped to customers throughout the US. The recalled cheese was not distributed in Canada.
There are no codes to check, but Kraft says the affected cheese has "Best When Used By" dates from Oct. 25 through Feb. 11. I have been outspoken on this product for years, few listened.  
Kraft said that it initiated the recall after getting reports from customers about the cheese going bad. The company says it stopped production as well as distribution of the cheese pending an investigation. The products that are subject of the recall were all produced in Campbell, New York, about 90 minutes south of Rochester.  

Two mothers are circulating a popular petition calling on Kraft Foods to remove artificial dyes, specifically yellow dyes 5 and 6, from its Macaroni & Cheese products. The additives, the bloggers say, are tasteless and potentially dangerous.  I am hearing from insiders the chemicals involved in the process are more dangerous than anyone wants to let on.  And the cheese is in question too as to it’s process. 

They say the colorings have been associated with hyperactivity, allergies, migraines and, in some cases, cancer. The petition already has 149,806 supporters, as of this writing.  Kraft sells at least 14 other Mac & Cheese products made either with natural food colors or without added color.

The FDA's website provides detailed information on color additives and their approval process. It also stands by them. "Without color additives, colas wouldn't be brown, margarine wouldn't be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn't be green," it reads. "Color additives are now recognized as an important part of practically all processed foods we eat."

Still, in 2011 an FDA panel considered requiring warnings on products made with artificial dyes. A New York Times article, published before the hearings, reported that they "signaled that the growing list of studies suggesting a link between artificial colorings and behavioral changes in children has at least gotten regulators' attention -- and, for consumer advocates, that in itself is a victory." 

A 2010 report, "Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks." The report, based on government studies from the National Toxicology Program, recommended that yellow 6 be removed from the market.  Despite these studies, the FDA ultimately rejected the label proposal, citing lack of scientific evidence.

Kraft is hardly alone in using artificial dyes in its macaroni and cheese products. Yellow 5 and yellow 6 are found in other popular supermarket products, including those made by Fould'sAmerica's Choice and Boston Market.  Similar products from Annie'sBack to Nature and Trader Joe's, however, are made without added color or with natural dyes, such as beta carotene color, Annato or paprika.

ESSENCE - MAC and CHEESE ADULT STYLE  

I became interested because of a young man whom I know whose previous diet, consisted of lot of MaC as a cornerstone, a lot of Mac and Cheese. A very smart young man of fourteen decided he liked to cook. He also liked football and soccer and a hundred other things at his age.

Since his Mom and Dad have a very time consuming business, he stepped up to the plate and started making dinner to help out with the chores.  Great!  So with his help,  we’ll try to adulterize some of the kids favorites and make it better for them at the same time so he can help out with his family.

KIDS CAN FIXATE
From research I did, I found out it is more common for children to fixate on a specific food than I thought. Not because of any necessity, more of a habit, to a child Mac 'n' Cheese is a safe comfort food.   I have met in person and with concerned parents in a conversation on line with child guidance professionals, concerning eating habits, indicated when their children fixated on a certain food, and learned it is not an eating disorder but an acquired habit based on again, the comfort food rule.  

They usually outgrow it and it really does no harm as long as it is not accompanied by other repetitive habits such as building nukes in the basement, dismembering the family pets, and mixing the entire Gilbert Chemistry set and asking dad if he had matches. 

It's just a habit and again not fatal. But yuck, have you ever tasted that instant MaC? Frankly not fit for human consumption.  

Mothers may love it when they need something quick for the kids after a hard days work and frankly it is the number one food hated and served the most in our prison system. My survey came from inmates at Hillsboro's County Jail, several of who preferred the lethal injection as a time saver.


A HEALTHY TASTING NEW WAY,  I CALL IT ESSENCE COOKING,  POINTERS

  • This is not genius level complex cooking, its fast and simple but the quality ingredients make it better.  
  • Its just a good cooking level that won’t scare kids away, and gets veggies in with every meal.  
  • I’ve been searching forever for a good, creamy Mac and Cheese recipe that doesn’t use Velveta for a change since Velveta is not real cheese.  Many required making a Béchamel sauce and technique is simple but an acquired technique not suited for those who don't watch it and try to multi-task, can’t whisk right or like to watch the pan on the fire. Usual result is burnt flour, milk, and butter, in some cases I have seen those distracted Hawaiian black burnt volcano magma style.


WHY NOT VELVEETA
"Velveeta is a brand name of processed cheese. Velveeta features a soft, rubbery texture and a distinctive taste that advertisers compare to cheddar cheese, and it is noted for its easy melting. Others compare the taste to American cheese or Cheez Whiz. Velveeta is classified by the United States Food and Drug Administration as pasteurized process cheese spread. Velveeta does not need to be refrigerated until it is opened.”

“Velveeta is made in part from whey, a by-product of cheese-making. Whey or milk plasma is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained; it is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein and has several commercial uses.  I will not mention them, as you will gag and possibly throw up.

Processed cheese has three technical advantages over unprocessed cheese: extended shelf-life, resistance to separation when cooked, and the ability to reuse scraps, trimmings and runoff from other cheese making processes.”

VELVEETA Ingredients 
Milk, water, milk fat  whey, whey protein, concentrate sodium phosphate e milk protein, concentrate alginate sodium citrate apocarotenal, (color) annatto (color) enzymes, benzoate, cheese culture.



3 INGREDIENTS - ESSENCE MAC ’N’ CHEESE

1 Pound package Penne Macaroni.  (Same House brand, Daily Chef is excellent pasta in a 6 pack)
I use all five of their pastas and they are packaged beautifully, excellent taste, and consistency.

1 package of Birdseye Steamfresh vegetables. - There are six or seven varieties of “ ooked in the bag", most containing either carrot, broccoli, corn , Italian, Snap peas,  zucchini and lots more available for variety. I use a different one each time I make it. 

They are all good  http://www.birdseye.com/vegetable-products/birdseye-steamfresh/


1 Can Progresso Recipe Starters,  specifically the
Three Cheese Cooking Sauce.

http://progresso.com/Products/Recipe-Starters



This PROCESS - GOES VERY FAST!
STEP 1:  Cook pasta to just al-dente and 95% drained. Keep in pot, cover and keep warm.
STEP 2:  While the pasta is cooking, microwave the veggies as per the instructions on the bag.
STEP 3:  Use the pot with the pasta drained and add the hot veggies.
STEP 4:  Add the can of Progresso recipe Starters… low heat and Salt and Pepper to taste. 
STEP 5:  Add Powdered  Parmesan Cheese and shredded Cheddar, lots of it.
STEP 6:  Salt and Pepper to taste (and a couple, very few pepper flakes during Step 4)…
Serve 

Hint:   We have used other Progresso recipe starters with these same ingredients.  Notably the Parmesan Basil and the Fire Roasted Tomato.  The other things I add for variety can be / or are sun-dried tomatoes, diced red bell peppers, bacon chips, fresh Garlic, and or other aromatics and herbs like Rosemary and Basil.  You can also top it with crushed or smashed spicy Doritos.




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