Comfort Food & Joy: Easy Christmas Recipes with Kraft #KraftEssentials

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

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We are trying hard during this Christmas season that can get OH.SO.BUSY to keep from going crazy by focusing on quality family time.  Our shopping is done, our decorations are up, so we are spending quiet evenings at home, enjoying family time.

One of our favorite things to do is to set the table with our favorite holiday dishes, enjoy a homemade meal, and decorate holiday treats while all cozy in our Christmas pajamas.  And nothing is quite as warm and cozy as our favorite Christmas recipe comfort foods: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, an easy dessert recipe of Rice Krispy Treats for the kids to decorate, and Welch's sparkling juice to drink.  Plus, it is so easy to shop for the ingredients at our local Walmart, where all of my favorite Kraft food items are convenient, priced right, and I can pick up those inevitable odds and ends that always pop up at Christmas time while I'm there too.  As a busy Mom of four, quick and convenient are two things I truly appreciate about Walmart.  You can check out my whole shopping trip in this Google + album.

Using Kraft Bagged Shredded Cheese as the star of the show, I made Baked Macaroni & Cheese for dinner.

Here's the recipe:
1 pound macaroni noodles
12 oz. shredded Kraft cheese
3 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup finely diced onions
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Cook the noodles al dente in a medium stockpot.  Drain and set aside in the stockpot.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium saucepan, combine butter, flour, and dried mustard.  Whisk until there are no lumps and let it boil, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes.  Slowly add in the milk, onions, salt, paprika and bay leaf.  Stir for 10 minutes.  Temper in the egg {with the egg in a separate bowl, slowly add in a little bit of the hot milk mixture to get the egg up to temperature before adding it straight the hot mixture so that it doesn't start cooking in your hot milk}.  Add in the tempered egg and cheese, and stir until melted.  Remove from heat and pour over cooked noodles.  {If you have picky little ones, here's my secret... I strain the  sauce mixture here to keep all the onion flavor in the dish, but to take out the actual onion pieces and the bay leaf, which you'll need to remove even if you keep the onions in.  It's a compromise that's a win-win in our family!}  Stir sauce with noodles until combined, then pour it all into a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy!

I like to use my red heart shaped baking dish at Christmas because my heart of full of love for my family.  Cheesy, yes... just like my Baked Macaroni & Cheese :) 

For dessert, we love decorating cookies and other fun stuff at Christmas time.  And one of our very favorite, easy treats to make are Rice Krispy Treats.  Using my favorite Browned Butter Salted Rice Krispy Treat recipe, we cut them into our favorite Christmas shapes and the boys got to choose their own toppings to decorate them.  

We love using Baker's Shredded Coconut because it tastes great and makes the fluffiest "snow" you can find in sunny San Diego! 

I love having desserts that the boys can decorate themselves because it's a fun way to get them laughing, giggling, using their imagination, and expressing their creativity.

The holidays are a fun, joyful time but they can also be filled with stress and chaos.  Taking time to slow down, enjoy our favorite comfort food meals and desserts together as a family is a great way to relax, enjoy and appreciate all that we have to be thankful for.

Looking for more easy, great meal ideas from Kraft ?  
Check out Kraft's digital magazine for tons of inspiration for quick and easy meals that bring your family together at mealtime.

The Jenson's said...

I need to make some homemade Mac n cheese for my kids instead of the box kind. I like the idea of using the pre-grated cheese.

Unknown said...

That looks amazing! Now you've got me craving mac 'n cheese! #client


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