I’m not gonna lie. Mac and cheese is a dish I’ve avoided making on this site for a long time. I’ve made homemade mac and cheese before with some pretty famous recipes, but nothing ever comes close to “perfect.” In fact, not even Kraft’s mac and cheese is perfect anymore. What was it that made mac and cheese so special? Was it the fact that all our tastebuds were still there? That the cheese tastes was more pungent then? It all tastes bland to me now. Mac and cheese reminds me of how people think of their first love…nothing is like being in love for the first time, and not even your first love can compete with it. Mac and cheese is one of those dishes that is like that scene in Ratatouille, where it just takes you back. And everyone remembers their first love affair with mac and cheese.
I definitely have a love affair with mac and cheese like so many others. But what makes the best mac and cheese without milk, cream, butter and cheese? I mean, think about it, we’re saying cream, fat and more cream and fat…with some aged cream too. That’s what the sauce for mac and cheese is made out of! Now, Michaell, make it taste like my childhood memory, but make it good for me…and GO.
The pressure. I’m really struggling with this one. I’m a people-pleaser. So, without interviewing each and every one of you to find out what makes the perfect “mac and cheese” for you, I’m at a loss. This is one of those recipes I have to accept that it’s not going to please everyone. So the best thing I can do is make it taste like my childhood memory or change it up completely. Even Kraft knows they needed to up the ante when their original recipe wasn’t enough.
But there are some basics….
Mac and cheese tastes best plant-style when it’s made with a blender. While it’s best with a high-speed blender, I will include some modifications in the recipe if you don’t have a high-speed one.
But let me make my case to convince you that a high-speed blender has it’s place among your daily kitchen equipment. We have a Vitamix at home and I really do use it multiple times every day. This is not something I am being paid to say, but a fact I need to share. I use it to make smoothie bowls, smoothies, ice cream, sauces, soups, dips, flours, milks, juices, chopped salads, puddings, butters, pureed fillings, and so much more. I even make my cats a ground “topper” for their food in it. You may think a food processor is just as good, but it isn’t. This is one item in my kitchen that has no replacement. I realized this the day I went to make enchilada sauce in my food processor, and though my tomatillos pureed, the liquid ended up all over the kitchen counter because a food processor can’t handle much liquid without leaking. Vitamix also has a long history of being at all your favorites, like Starbucks and Jamba Juice. Since the Vitamix came into our lives, my food processor is the potato pancake maker. That’s about it.
A high-speed blender replaces so many kitchen tools! And nothing will leave your mac and cheese sauce as silky smooth as a Vitamix–whether you like my recipe or someone else’s. It costs a lot, but in the long run, it’s worth it. In fact, we really don’t eat out anymore now that we have one. Nothing tastes as good as when we make it at home. Nothing manipulates textures this well while still providing nutrition. They also have a really great warranty, so don’t worry about it breaking down in a year. We use this one at home, which I love for its’ smoothie/frozen dessert/soup functions, but we have both the wet container and the dry container. Therefore, I would recommend this set, which includes it all. Or, if you need to fit it under a cabinet, they make a shorter style here.
Since I’m preparing this sauce in bulk, you will actually be able to make several dishes out of it, therefore, you can use whatever baking dish you have in the house, you just need a saucepan for steaming or a steamer.
To summarize, you need a:
3. Baking dish (pick the size based on the mac and cheese you prefer, a thin layer is best)
Wish me luck! I’m still on the mission for creating this recipe to perfection. Have you ever had “perfect” homemade mac and cheese where everyone loved it? See you next week with the shopping list…
*Just in case you didn’t read my Amazon Affiliate disclaimer in the sidebar, I am an affiliate. Amazon is great because I can look up pretty much anything I use at home and tell you about it, but it’s also great because buying anything when you click on that link will give me a small amount of monetary support.