Monday, June 17, 2013

Yellow Dye # What?!

     Other countries won’t allow them, but our “great nation” does.  Marketing companies prey on overworked parents by slapping “Whole Grain” labels on the boxes to help justify the irresponsibility of their product.  Yes I’m talking about the toddler and child beloved Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.  I’m writing this not to make moms and dads feel guilty or inferior, we have enough of that everyday simply by reading other blogs or checking other’s Facebook statuses.  I just hope to enlighten AND offer a simple solution to this nonsense surrounding what is undoubtedly one of Kraft’s most popular dishes.
     I swore off over processed boxed food such as Kraft’s Mac & Cheese years ago, in an attempt to eat and feed my then husband, now growing family, more whole foods.  That’s not to say our diet is perfect.  We don’t eat all organic, I regularly use white sugar, and even occasionally use boxed rice (which include mysterious “flavor packages”).  But I have and continue to make a conscious effort to read labels, cook good, healthy, and real foods, that I can feel good about serving.  A few months ago I read parts of Robyn O’Brien’s The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It. Like most nonfiction, I really considered parts that were relevant to me and moved past other parts that I felt didn’t apply to me or make sense.  One part literally kept me up, pouring over articles supporting its claim on the internet.  The use of artificial food dyes in many kid friendly foods that are BANNED in most other countries, except the U.S. 

     Here are a few links to the articles that fueled my disbelief and rage, and again take what you want from this.  But if topics such as food allergies, cancer, and childhood behavior and learning disabilities are of concern to you, seriously consider removing certain food products from your home as well as your child’s diet.

     Now, just because I don’t serve Kraft’s version of mac and cheese in my house doesn’t mean that I deprive my toddler (and myself) of this classic comfort food.  There are literally hundreds of recipes available online, but I’ll include the one I’ve been using for years, and now since I make it (usually in large batches to freeze) so often, I rarely follow a recipe because it really very easy to make.  And while this recipe isn’t quite as simple and convenient as adding milk, butter, and orange powder, it’s not that far off.  Most would even agree that it actually tastes a lot better too.
My guy enjoying left over mac & cheese for lunch

Baked Mac & Cheese
1 lb. box of elbow macaroni (any variety- I love using the whole wheat or pastas fortified with extra nutrients like Ronzoni Smart Taste)
¼ cup of butter
2 ½ tbsp. of flour
1 cup of milk
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup of bread crumbs (I love making my own from the ends of bread left out to get stale and pulsed in the food processor)

1.       Boil the elbow macaroni according to the “al dente” directions.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.       In a large pot melt down the butter.   Slowly whisk in the flour ½ tablespoon at a time to create a roux.  As soon as you’ve added all of the flour begin pouring in the milk slowly until smoothly combined.  Next add 1 ½ cup of the cheese until its melted and the sauce is creamy.  Remove from heat and add the pasta into the pot and mix.  Pour the macaroni and cheese into a casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese on top, and finally top with bread crumbs. 
3.       Bake in the oven 20-25 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.  If you plan on freezing a batch, put directly in the freezer after step 2 and defrost completely before baking about 30 minutes in the oven.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! What are you thoughts on Annie's Organic? So far JJ seems to like that, and I make it with coconut oil instead of butter. James won't touch it of course, LOL.


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