Macaroni and cheese is one of those comfort foods that everyone thinks back on with nostalgia and memories of childhood. What’s not to love? It’s pasta and cheese, in a creamy sauce, baked to crispy perfection in the oven. It’s a hearty dinnertime staple that is the favourite of adults and kids alike, and it can be made more complicated with added ingredients like onion, bacon pieces – or you can keep it as simple as throwing it all in a dish. But can you vacuum seal macaroni and cheese?
What is vacuum sealing
The jars are heat sealed, which means that any bacteria in the food already is completely wiped out, and the lids form a vacuum, so that no air can get in and cause the food to spoil.
Vegetables, fruits and dried goods are the most common things that people vacuum seal – to deal with a glut of produce; to save room in the fridge, or simply to be able to enjoy out of season vegetables at any time of the year.
However, vacuum sealing all the foods that you love, especially those that have been pre cooked, can be a bit more complicated!
Read also: Can You Microwave Cup Noodles?
How to make macaroni and cheese
This is a very simple recipe, and one which you will very quickly be able to whip up without even glancing at a recipe book.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan.
- Stir in 3 tablespoons of plain flour.
- Cook for 1 minute, then add 500ml of whole milk.
- Whisk constantly on a low heat for 5 minutes, until the sauce is smooth and free from lumps.
- Remove from the heat, then stir in 250g of grated Cheddar and 25g of Parmesan.
- Add 350g of macaroni pasta to a pan of boiling salted water, and cook it for around 2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and stir it into the cheese sauce.
- Place the mixture into a large baking dish, and scatter over some breadcrumbs and another 25g of Parmesan.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until crisp, golden and bubbling.
How to vacuum seal macaroni and cheese
Unlike most recipes, it is easier to vacuum seal your mac and cheese before you cook it in the oven. You can vacuum seal the final, finished, cheesy goodness, but it may end up coming out of the jar in a bit of a mess!
- 1lb dried pasta (you can use macaroni, or spice it up a bit with pasta shells or even broken up spaghetti).
- Cheese powder (there should be enough to come up about a quarter of the way up the jar).
Place the cheese powder in the bottom of a wide mouthed, two quart mason jar. Cut a wax disc to the diameter of the jar, then lay this over the cheese powder. Pour the pasta shells on top of this, and voila!
Ok, it’s not vacuum sealing as such, but this method will yield much better results than if you just pour your ready-cooked macaroni and cheese into a jar and then vacuum seal it.
You are more than welcome to try this method, of course – just don’t say we didn’t warn you!
How to cook macaroni and cheese in a mason jar
Although this recipe does not “can” well, you “can” use a mason jar to cook it in. You could try this for a bit of a novelty version of this nostalgic favourite, if you have run out of interesting ways to serve your favourite pasta dish!
- Microwave 2 cups of milk on a high heat for 1 1/2 minutes.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over a low heat.
- Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for one minute, continuing to whisk, until you have a smooth consistency.
- Pour in the warmed milk slowly, whisking all the while, until the sauce has thickened.
- Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 10 ounces of grated cheddar cheese, and any extras you fancy – most popular are fried bacon pieces, red pepper, garlic or fried onion.
- Add 16 ounces of macaroni pasta and stir the mixture well.
- Pour the pasta mixture into lightly greased mason jars, filling them to just below the top.
- Mix together 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs and some Parmesan cheese to taste, then sprinkle this over the top of the pasta.
- Place the jars into an oven pre heated to 400 degrees and cook for 20 minutes, or until the contents of the jars go golden and bubbly.
So there you have it. You cannot vacuum seal a ready made macaroni and cheese, but you can preserve the dried ingredients in a jar until you’re ready to cook them (this also makes a cute, innovative present, by the way!)
You can, however, cook macaroni and cheese in mason jars to make it look as though they have been vacuum preserved, which is the next best thing, right?