Five Tips to Perfect This Grandma’s Best Mac and Cheese Recipe For Grandchildren Anytime and For Special Occasions for the Whole Family

When our oldest grandchildren, now teenagers, were younger, California Pizza Kitchen was their favorite restaurant, solely for their Mac and Cheese. One day, my oldest grandson, then in the single digits, said, “Mema, I wish you knew how to make California Pizza Kitchen Mac N’ Cheese so we could have it all the time when we see you.”  Well, a grandchild’s wish is always my command.  This Grandma went on a hunt to try to replicate it and found a recipe years ago that the grandchildren said was better than the Mac and Cheese they got at California Pizza Kitchen. Here is the link to that five star rated recipe.

https://www.food.com/recipe/just-like-california-pizza-kitchen-mac-cheese-341514

TIP NUMBER ONE

First, easier and simpler is always better, and doing so makes the recipe near perfect.  I add more butter.  Yes, I have found I can add the same amount of cream, Velvetta cheese, and butter and it works great.  So, you can make small batches: 2 ounces heavy cream, 2 ounces butter, 2 (but 3 ounces makes it cheesier so I always add a bit more cheese) Velvetta. This Grandma’s change in the recipe adds more butter and cheese, but makes it a no brainer as we get longer (we never say older) to not have to remember too much.

So here are the directions that just take few minutes to have the best Mac and Cheese available for grandchildren upon request.

Have ready rotini pasta precooked Al dente rewarmed in the microwave. Cut the Velvetta cheese into small cubes. In a saucepan, on low to medium heat, melt the butter and add the cream. Stir to heat for just a few minutes. Add the Velvetta cubes and stir constantly (yes, constantly, and do not leave the pan as Velvetta melts quickly) until the cheese is melted. Take off the stove. Mix in the pasta, coating well, and serve.

The best is that the grandchildren can be the stir masters when they are tall enough to do so!

TIP NUMBER TWO

The tip about having the rotini prepared prior I found by accident.  My grandchildren want the Mac and Cheese at odd hours (like for breakfast) so when I arrive at their home or they at our home, I cook a box of rotini pasta al dente. After it cools, I put all the pasta in a plastic bag for use little by little when they are in the mood for Mac and Cheese. Any brand rotini is fine, but since our trip to Sicily I tend to use only De Cecco or Bertolli pasta. Somehow, the sauce sticks better when the pasta is not newly made!

TIP NUMBER THREE

At Thanksgiving, the grandchildren felt the typical sides were unappetizing and asked for my Mac and Cheese. The adults started tasting it, devoured the Mac and Cheese, and want it every Thanksgiving.  The batches keep getting bigger and bigger and still not a piece of pasta is left in the pot. This Mac and Cheese is NOT a diet food with the original replica recipe at 600 calories a serving, and I add much more butter and cheese! The adults seem to think calories are fine at Thanksgiving.

It is easier than you think to add this Mac and Cheese to your Thanksgiving sides. Yes, it has to be made immediately before serving but takes minutes. Pre cut the needed amount of butter into pats and the Velvetta into small cubes and refrigerate until needed, of course multiplying the recipe above for one serving or two small servings accordingly to the amount for the precooked whole plastic bag full of rotini (the more sauce the better). Pre measure the heavy cream and refrigerate. As others are laying out the Thanksgiving spread, with the grandchildren’s help, stir the sauce and add the cooked warmed rotini. I serve the Mac and cheese right in the pot with a large ladle in it.

Don’t wait for Thanksgiving. Mac and Cheese is great for a barbecue side.

TIP NUMBER FOUR

Most grandchildren can burn the calories off quickly, especially when they eat the Mac and Cheese for breakfast, but my older health conscious daughter had not been happy with how much Mac and Cheese my grandchildren wanted to eat when I am around.  So, I tried to play with the recipe.  You CAN substitute no fat milk, Smart Balance and low fat Velvetta – so long as you use day old pasta.  When I absolutely need to, when my daughter is around, I do this. My grandchildren have not complained—in small batches.   I do not think a large diet batch will work.  Yes, if you want healthy, edamame and fruit go well with Mac and Cheese at home too.

TIP NUMBER FIVE

Make enough of a batch of Mac and Cheese sauce fresh every time (using already prepared rotini pasta, of course). Whether you create this Grandma’s fake version of California Pizza Kitchen Mac ‘N Cheese or the ‘diet” version, know you must eat what you make or throw it away.  For some reason, it tastes awful reheated!

Not only have I been the grandma hero to have found the recipe, I am also the teacher and cook with my grandchildren for a fun activity.  I will always be remembered for my Mac and Cheese, no matter what their mothers say. Sometimes we just have to manage our children to create memories for our grandchildren.  Yes, I cook Mac and Cheese less often than I have in the past, but each batch is special, made with love and

Joy,

Mema`

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