Macaroni and Cheese–Gluten-Free Edition

I don’t think there’s much that competes with homemade macaroni and cheese: the steaming noodles, gooey cheese, and crunchy topping. Unfortunately, my girls think that boxed mac and cheese not only competes with, but beats the real stuff.

It was time for an attitude (and recipe) adjustment.

Cook some quinoa elbow noodles according to the package directions, then drain. Yummy.

It’s hard to believe that something neon yellow isn’t chemically enhanced. But this stuff is 100% natural.

Mix 1 cup of milk into 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and set aside.

Scramble an egg and set it aside.

Our cheese crop is looking especially fine this year. Here we have 1 cup of Colby Jack and 1 cup of Dubliner.

Saute 1/4 cup of finely diced onion in 2 tablespoons of butter. Then, toss in a couple cloves of garlic.

Add the milk and cornstarch mixture to the pot. Whisk constantly for about 4-5 minutes. Now’s a great time to add 1-2 teaspoons of mustard powder, as well as any salt, pepper, or other spices you’re fond of. I can’t help but think that some Worcestershire sauce would make this taste amazing. But Worcestershire sauce makes everything taste amazing.

The sauce is ready. In spite of how this post is shaping up, we do serve our kids veggies. It’s just that right now, the only green stuff you’re seeing is my garlic.

For reasons that will soon become clear, I need the binding power of an egg. You know, since cheese has absolutely no binding power whatsoever.

Ahem.

You know what I mean.

Temper the egg by mixing a tablespoon of the sauce into it. The lumps on the spoon are garlic. I don’t make lumpy sauce. Most of the time.

Add the tempered egg to the sauce, whisking constantly.

Last but definitely not least, add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and stir well.

Now, you could put this into a casserole dish that you’ve coated with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, but this is a heck of a lot of fun too:

This has the added benefit of creating the perfect portion for Lupe’s thermos for school lunches.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Slide it into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

The next step requires a high degree of technical skill…or a butter knife and tablespoon.

Run a butter knife around each miniature macaroni and cheese. Then, let everything be for a minute. Carefully slide a tablespoon under the noodles, and…

It’s almost too cute to eat. Almost.

Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 12 muffin-sized noodle cups.

Ingredients:

8 ounces gluten-free elbow noodles

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups grated cheese (1 1/2 cups for the sauce, 1/2 cup for the topping)

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a muffin tin or a casserole with non-stick spray.

2. Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Set aside.

3. Mix cornstarch into milk and stir well. Set aside.

4. Beat egg. Set aside.

5. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

6. Saute onions until opaque, then add garlic.

7.  Whisk in milk/cornstarch mixture and stir constantly, about 4-5 minutes.

8. Add mustard powder, salt and pepper, and other spices to suit your taste.

9. Slowly whisk the egg into the pot, or temper the egg by adding a small amount of the sauce to it before adding it to the pot.

10. Add 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Stir well.

11. Drop into greased muffin tin or casserole.

12. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese.

13. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

14. Run a clean knife along the edge of each muffin tin, then allow the macaroni and cheese to sit for 1-2 minutes. Carefully slide a spoon under each to remove.

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