Chef Wendell: No-bake mac and cheese

There’s nothing more satisfying than a properly prepared dish of Macaroni and Cheese (M & C). Wait! Did I say prepared as in cooked from scratch?  Very few home chefs will admit they make the American classic from scratch, when it takes about the same time too. You get to control the ingredients. Alas, there are several generations who grew up when boxed, instant M & C was the norm.  So, get thee to thy kitchen.

A blue box of ‘Crap’ Macaroni and Cheese is a form of child abuse. It is a carbohydrate Festival with yellow #5 food coloring, wheat gluten, and yummy powdered whey cheese. In 2008, Kraft removed artificial coloring yellow #5, banned in some European countries since it was linked to potential thyroid health problems, asthma, and ADD. The maniacal chemical sweetener aspartame was removed from the products Kraft distribute in Europe, Australia, and other developed countries due to consumer concern over scientific studies that link these synthetic ingredients to hyperactivity and asthma in children. Kraft did it in Europe, now let’s all hope they do it in the good ole U.S.

One cup serving contains 3 grams of saturated fat, 48 grams of carbs, 1 measly gram of fiber, and ‘zero’ vitamins or minerals. (Read the label.) The blue cardboard box packaging has more nutrition. So, it’s wasted money on a meal that contributes basically nothing nutritional, but makes your kids fatter and malnourished; unable to meet their potential; pooped.

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that all classes of obesity in U.S. children have increased over the last 14 years. Additionally, the researchers found an upward trend in the more severe forms of obesity—children who have a body mass index (BMI) that is 120–140% higher than their peers. Studies show dead junk foods like this change brain chemistry and are addictive like cocaine.

In 2008, Kraft removed artificial coloring yellow #5, banned in some European countries since it was linked to potential thyroid problems, asthma, and ADD. The neuto-toxin chemical sweetener aspartame was removed from the products Kraft distribute in Europe, Australia, and other developed countries due to consumer concern over scientific studies  linking these synthetic ingredients to hyperactivity and asthma in children. Kraft did it in Europe, now let’s all hope they do it in the good ole U.S.

No-Bake Mac and Cheese

1 pound Gluten-Free Elbow Macaroni
1 pound low fat, sharp cheddar
6 oz. plain almond milk or 12 oz. can evaporated milk-Air temperature
Juice of ½ lemon to squeeze over pasta
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil or butter from grass fed cows.
½ cup chopped onion
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Boil the gluten free elbow’s, rinse and keep warm
  • Choose the low-fat cheddar shredded cheese you want to use. We choose not to use milk and a flour roux to the cheese to get it to melt smoothly. Milk’s cool, but get local or organic.
  • Bring the cheese to room temperature before melting. If not already shredded, shred with a grater and add a few drops of lemon juice to the shredded cheese to reduce stringiness while melting
  • Fill the bottom section of a double boiler with water. Place the top half of the boiler over the water. Set the stove top to low heat.
  • Add the liquid.
  • Place the shredded cheese, onion, S & P in the top of the boiler and stir every few minutes until it starts to melt. Once it starts to melt, whisk to break down lumps until cheese is completely smooth.
  • Add more chees to thicken or more almond milk to thin.
  • Pour the molten cheese over the warm elbows; gently mix and serve.

Suggestions to give the dish some needed nutrition:

  1. Add packaged tuna (Not canned), frozen peas, and chopped celery for a mock Tuna Casserole sans potato chips.
  2. Chop broccoli into small bits, blanch it so there is still some crunch, and add it to the dish.
  3. Use Olive oil and toss in chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Snip some fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes from your garden and top the dish with them for a splash of color and summer flavor.
  5. Add ground flax seed at the last minute for a boost of fiber.

 

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