Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stored food Night - Macaroni & Cheese (with canned cheese)

Fresh Macaroni & Cheese IS a stored foods meal, if you have a supply of canned cheese.  I have been experimenting with canning cheese for a while now, and have been putting it through its paces so that I know what to expect when I open a jar.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality and the versatility of home canned cheese.  Although different in consistency from fresh cheese, it performs quite admirably in a variety of dishes.  It slices quite nicely for eating or putting on crackers, grates easily for salad and even re-melts for sauces.

Freshly opened jar of cheese.  Notice the
layer of oil that has solidified
on the top of the cheese
I slide a butter knife around the outer
edge of the jar to loosen the cheese
and it slides right out
Cheese out of the jar.  Notice the "oil"
that I scraped off the top of the cheese
The cheese slices wonderfully
A pint of grated canned cheese

This evening, we made the ever humble Macaroni & Cheese.  Although a simple meal, it is a family favorite.  We started by boiling about 1 1/2 pounds of macaroni.  While the macaroni was boiling, I made a simple white sauce.  I melted butter in a saucepan (however, in a survival situation, shortening, lard, olive oil or most any other fat would do quite nicely) over low heat.  After the butter was melted, I added an equal amount of flour and stirred (of the heat) until the butter and flour formed a smooth paste.  I then added a pinch of dry mustard and our "secrete ingredient", which is garlic powder.  After mixing in the spices, and adding salt and pepper, I put the butter, flour, spice mixture back on low heat, stirring and cooking as the mixture thickens.  After becoming slightly thick, I added milk.  You could easily substitute powdered milk, canned milk, broth or even water.  Stir to combine and continue stirring.  At this point, I put the saucepan on medium (closer to the firebox) to increase the heat.  Continue to stir as the white sauce thickens.  After it becomes sufficiently thick (about the consistency of thin yogurt), move the saucepan to low (or turn down the heat).

White Sauce Recipe

2 T. Butter (margarine, lard, oil etc.)
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. Dry Mustard Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
Pepper to taste
1 C. Milk (canned milk, powdered milk, stock, water)

Adding flour to the melted butter
The beginnings of a white sauce
Having added the milk, the sauce is
beginning to thicken
Nicely thickened - ready for cheese

While preparing the white sauce, I had Miss Calamity grate a pint jar of canned cheese.  I added about 2/3 of the cheese to the white sauce and stirred over low heat until the cheese melted into the white sauce.  Something to note:  The consistency of the white sauce with the melted cheese made from canned cheese is slightly different than the consistency of white sauce made with fresh cheese.  The canned cheese separates slightly and is not as creamy.  However, when I added the cheese sauce to the macaroni - it went together perfectly, nothing odd at all!  

Adding cheese to the white sauce
After the macaroni had boiled to al dente, I poured it through a colander to drain the water, put the macaroni in a baking pan and poured the cheese sauce over the macaroni.  I stirred the cheese sauce and pasta together.  It produced a wonderful, creamy Macaroni & Cheese.  After stirring the sauce into the pasta, I sprinkled the remaining cheese over the top of the macaroni and popped the pan, uncovered, into the wood cookstove.  The oven was at a medium temperature (I could hold my hand in the oven for about 30 seconds).  The Mac & Cheese was nicely browned and crunchy on top in about 30 minutes!

The cheese sauce on the pasta - note that
there is a slight separation in the sauce

It stirred up wonderfully
With the remaining cheese sprinkled on top

 While the Macaroni & Cheese was baking on the top rack, we put French Bread on the bottom back.  Two loaves, we put in tin foil, which makes a softer crust.  One loaf, we put in a paper bag, which produces a nice crusty crust (Sir Knight calls them razor crust - you can guess which one he prefers!).

Miss Calamity buttering
garlic bread
Macaroni & Cheese made with home canned cheese was a hit.  It tastes every bit as good as the same recipe made entirely from fresh ingredients.  I would have to say that Stored Foods Night just got a little bit better!

Our Stored Foods dinner


  1. Hi Enola,

    Great minds think alike. I had to try the cheese I canned to. I made something easy, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. I was curious as to how it would melt it was very satifactory. I am going to try melting mozzarella and cheddar together to get a all purpose cheese seeing as how I have heard the mozzarella gets dark. I like how I can take the fat of the cheddar making my own low fat cheddar. I have been putting up layered chili and refried beans(mashing the beans after they are canned when I use them). It is so nice having fast food in my pantry.

    Love reading your blog.


  2. Looks very tasty. I was wondering what kind of cheese did you can? Or was it homemade? In our house, we couldn't live without cheese and sour cream. Unfortunately, we don't have a cow right now and besides, I've never tried making either item. So I need to figure out what kind of cheese to can. Thanks.

  3. I'm not Enola, but if you click on 'canning' on the right side, it will take you to the post and comments that tell all about canning cheese.

  4. Enola, Do you have any helpful hints on acquiring the volume of stuff to can (like your cheese and bacon). Do you just wait until it is on sale? Use coupons? Are a "clean-up" family like Patrice? (Whatever that means?) Just curious because I would love to start canning cheese (commercial since we currently do not have a cow) and other items, but man that stuff is expensive! Thanks! Love your blog!

  5. Enola, that cheese looks great! I have never in my life eaten mac & cheese, so I have no idea what I'm missing. It looks good. And with the garlic bread, I'm slobbering like Pavlovs dogs.

    NoCal Gal

  6. Enola,

    Your table looks like pure Haven to me. The food, the faces of the children, the shouse, just everything.

    Bill Smith

  7. My family JUST canned cheese this last weekend. So a big Thank You for a delicious looking meal idea to make with it.
    I also recently canned butter (http://www.endtimesreport.com/canning_butter.html). It's only been a month so far, but it did turn out great. Maybe this would help supplement your "Stored Foods Night" as well as when we REALLY will need it.

  8. I just tried your recipe using my homemade cheddar that I make from our goat milk. Oh, YUMMY!!! It is wonderful. Thank you SO much! I am going to try canning it too!

  9. Sounds delicious. Too bad you didn't include a picture of the finished dish fresh out of the oven.