Low-fat milk + butter = ???

OK, so I like to point people to my lower-carb, homemade version of macaroni and cheese using low-carb elbows, if possible, and real cheese.

But sometimes I have been known to open a box.

So I was preparing Kirkland Signature Macaroni & Cheese (powdered packet, not sauce packet) (that’s the Costco store brand — we’ve become fiends for Costco since one opened in our area not too long ago — I’m wearing Kirkland Signature jeans as I write this) and noticed this odd feature of the cooking instructions on the box:

  • 6 cups water
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk

That comes to 1/4 cup butter. If they’re expecting me to use 1/4 cup — half a stick! — of butter, why do they think I want to use 2% milk?

There’s 44g butterfat in 1/2 stick of butter. But only 2g butterfat in 1/4 cup whole milk.

Why don’t they just have me use normal, whole milk?

Is it part of the marginalization of whole milk? Or was it just someone who really likes butter?

I’ve got nothing — nothing at all! — against butterfat! I’m just sayin’ it doesn’t make sense to skimp with the milk when you’re putting half a stick of butter int the pot.

Anyway, I just made up my own instructions.

I simmered the following with the packet contents in a saucepan (adding the cheese slice last and letting it melt with the heat turned off) :

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, with 7g butterfat
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (1 tablespoon converts to 14g metric, and all of that is fat) and
  • 1 slice Havarti cheese, at 8g.

Total 29g added fat, as opposed to their 46g. Again, I’ve got nothing against using plenty of fat, but in my experience too much butter makes mac and cheese taste greasy.

My combo, however, was rich and delicious! The coconut oil and the Havarti came together in a splendid marriage of flavor. Who knew. Even my husband loved it, and he usually doesn’t like the flavor that virgin coconut oil adds to dishes to which that taste is not germane. I mean, he loves coconut in Thai food and anyplace coconut is expected, but not, for instance, in scrambled eggs.

I’m always trying to figure out more places to stick some coconut oil, for its fantastic health benefits. Using it to improve the nutritional profile of packaged mac ‘n’ cheese, now there’s a new one.

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