Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese with Sausage From Food Storage
Last week, my son really wanted macaroni and cheese. To be honest, the gluten free mac & cheese meals at the grocery store are just lousy and way too pricey. So, off to the pantry I went.
This is what I came up with instead. It’s so creamy, it blows that boxed stuff out of the water. Everything came from long term storage items, so this fits in really well with the “Eat what you store; store what you eat” philosophy.
The secret to the cheese sauce is cheese powder. I’ve tried every which way to make cheese sauce, and it always ends up separating. That doesn’t happen with the cheese powder because the fat is removed in the process of turning it from cheese to a powder. The fat, while satiating, only encourages separation in a cheese sauce. You can either buy cheese powder (somewhat pricey) or make it yourself (moderate effort).
How To Make Your Own Cheese Powder
Shred cheddar cheese with either a box grater or food processor, and then place the shredded cheese onto dehydrator trays. Use a fruit leather sheet, or opt for slicing the cheese super thin instead of shredding, so the cheese doesn’t fall through. Dry the cheese on the lowest possible setting for 12 hours.
The cheese will exude a lot of grease. Pat it off onto either a paper towel or a clean cloth. This may need to be repeated 1-2 more times, patting off the grease each time. Run the dry cheese through a coffee grinder. Then, line a tray with paper towel or fruit leather tray, and dehydrate the powder one more time (for maybe 3-6 hours) just to get all the moisture and grease out. One pound of cheese should yield about one cup of cheese powder, and would be rehydrated with 2 cups of water/liquid.
Now, that may sound like a lot of work, but honestly, it’s not. It’s more about patience than effort. The dehydrator is doing all the work. But, the end result is so worth the time and effort. Store your powder in either glass mason jars with an O2 absorber, or by vacuum sealing the lid. You could also store this in mylar bags with an O2 absorber. This gives you a delicious cheese powder without the cost of the premade powder.
However if you don’t want to make your own cheese powder, I use Augason Farms Cheese Blend Powder, along with their butter powder to make this.
How to Make GF Mac & Cheese with Sausage
- Gluten-free pasta, 2 pounds (I used rice spirals this time)
- Cheese powder, 1 cup
- Butter powder, 1/4 cup
- Milk powder, 1/4 cup
- Mustard seed powder, 1/2 tsp
- Water, 2 and 1/2 cups (for rehydrating)
- Ground sausage, 2 pounds
- Boil the pasta according to package directions
- Brown up the sausage in a skillet, and drain off the excess fat
- In a bowl, mix together all of the powders and the water
- Mix everything together and serve
Substitutions for this are easy. Use regular 4 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup milk if you have that on hand. You could also opt to use all milk to rehydrate the cheese powder, for a total of 2 and 1/2 cups of milk instead of water. Normally, I make this with elbow macs, but I only had spirals. Rice pasta can be found in almost any grocery store these days. You can, however, order bulk rice pasta on Amazon, and save a little money.
Also, just as you can make your own cheese powder, you can make your own powdered milk. The instructions are slightly different, but I’ll cover that in another post all of it’s own. Home-powdered milk is what’s in the mason jar in the ingredients photo.
Now, mac and cheese is good, but something magical happens when you add ground breakfast sausage to it. For this, I used 2 pounds of ground sausage that had been previously pressure canned, but use what sausage you have. When you use the sausage, there really is no need to add mustard, or salt & pepper. If you make this without the sausage, the sauce benefits from the extra seasoning.
My son decided that he didn’t want the “spicy sausage” after all, so I kept some separate without the sausage just for him. But with it, this is a one-bowl-will-fill-you-up meal!
You could also mix up the powders first, and store them premixed in a jar or in mylar as well.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!