South Campus Mac 'n' Peas

South Campus Mac'Peas

The cafeteria at the South Campus Hall at the University of Waterloo served macaroni and cheese casserole on Mondays. Peas were vegetable of the day. For years, my Monday lunch was macaroni and cheese casserole with a double side of peas. ("What? No potato? We have fries, mashed, scalloped...?" "No, just peas. Mac 'n Peas, please.")

"Roni Cheese! Roni Cheese!" The Cadet asks for macaroni and cheese over and over. Thankfully, it is easy to make from scratch, seriously lowering the sodium content over the boxed kind. If I learned anything in college, it is that sweet peas pair well with sharp cheddar so I add them right in.

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
8oz sharp cheddar, grated
8oz macaroni, whole wheat if you can find it
1 lb frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 375.

Start boiling the macaroni according to the directions on the package.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Continue stirring while you add the milk, a little at a time. (I use an Ultimate Pan and a silicone spatula.) When the milk begins to boil, it will thicken. Stir all of cheddar except for a couple tablespoons into the sauce. When the cheese is melted, remove the pan from the heat.

Dump the frozen peas into a strainer. Pour the cooked macaroni into the peas to strain and thaw the peas at the same time. One drained, pour the peas and macaroni into the pot with the cheese sauce. Mix well.

Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over top. Bake for about 30 minutes. Allow it to set for about 10 minutes before serving.

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