Everyday Mom's Meals: Store Brand Proof

Monday, February 24, 2014

Store Brand Proof

Here a few weeks ago there was a story all over the news; one that foodies every where cringed at. Supposedly there was a shortage of  Velveeta; and people were going crazy about it! Did you hear about it? If you didn't, you sure did miss an uproar because folks take their cheese quite seriously, and apparently the thought of there being any type of shortage ranked right up there with famine and war. Okay, so maybe not that dire, but I'm not kidding you, I couldn't go any where I didn't hear about there being a lack of Velveeta on the grocery store shelves.

Honestly...the first thing I thought of when I learned of this mass hysteria? "Why not just buy the store brand? Problem solved." But when I had the audacity to suggest this to someone I was promptly told that it is not the same, and that was not a feasible solution. Well, I got new for you. In this house...if a recipe calls for "processed cheese product", 9 times out of 10 it's going to be the store brand variety. It's more friendly on my budget, and quite frankly, I can't notice the difference. If you can, and you swear by the name brand, I respect that. We all have brands we love and reasons why we won't budge from using them. But I also wanted to take this as an opportunity to "put my money where my mouth is" so to speak, and actually make a recipe using the store brand to show just how much success I have with it in my kitchen, for those who might be a tad skeptical.

My husband adores shells and cheese. It's his favorite type of mac and cheese, and if it were up to him, it would be side dish at every meal. Now me? I like both creamy and baked styles of this American classic, so when I found this combination of both, I figured what a great compromise! With it's creamy texture, but baked consistency, it's truly the best of both worlds. Something all mac and cheese lovers can get behind and enjoy!

And yes, this recipe was made with 100% store brand processed cheese product. I had no trouble what so ever with it melting, or incorporating. I've made cheese sauces with the "real thing" before, and I can honestly say this worked just as well.

So, if you thought your cheesy, liquid gold, days were over, no fear! Look next to that empty spot on the store shelf and I bet there is a store brand equivalent that will work just as well, and this yummy goodness can be on your table tonight!

Creamy Baked Mac n Cheese Adapted from Taste of Home
1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni
4 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 1/2 c. milk
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
6 oz. processed cheese, cubed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 8 x 11 pan. Cook macaroni according to package directions. In a medium saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened. Reduce heat. Add 1 c. shredded cheese and all of the processed cheese cubes, in small batches; stirring between each one until melted and smooth. When macaroni is cook, drain well. In a large bowl combine macaroni and cheese sauce. Transfer to prepared dish. Top with remaining cup of shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes until golden brown. Stir before serving.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 28, 2014
Disclaimer: As a Field Editor of Taste of Home, I share my own thoughts and opinions of this recipe. I am not a paid employee. 


Unknown said...

There is a bar in the town where I work. They make the bestest mac & cheese & the best part, the crunchy goodness of it being baked. Can't wait to try your recipe-it looks yummy!

KarenB said...

I saw this recipe this morning. Didn't have anyelbow macaroni but found rotini already cooked and frozen in a ziplock. Took that out. Had sharp, velveeta and co-jack cheeses along with Muenster. Used those plus I had leftover meatloaf from last night. I made the cheese sauce using your instructions and then stirred in the rotini and broke up pieces of cold meatloaf and mixed it all together. Placed in a baking dish, topped with more shredded cheese and baked at 350 for about 40 minutes. Served it with sauteed zucchini that I sauteed with onion, garlic, fresh basil and a little white wine. DELICIOUS! thank you!