So the worst of moments inspire you for the best moments. Like the other day when I was down and out with a whopper of a head cold. And so was my youngest daughter. Even though making homemade cheese sauce is quick and easy, my heart hurt that my cold was so bad I couldn’t make her special request comfort food.
But I remembered…ah ha! Back last month when I was making homemade Mac & Cheese, I had plenty of left over sauce ~ and I froze it! What luck!
I’ve been making this homemade mac and cheese for years (since my Grandma Jane taught me probably before I was a teenager, back before ‘tween’ was a word). I usually throw in my ingredients and don’t measure, which is usually why I have excess.
So back to my excess sauce. Usually, it would end up in the back of the fridge to be tossed when it is way overdue for safe use. But in my rally of the New Year and staying on top of…life, I made a quick decision that long ago day this wasn’t going to be consumed soon, so I decided to freeze it so I could use in in the future.
But how you freeze it is key to success!
Make the Cheese Sauce
This is just a basic cheese sauce that I vary over the years. Sometimes I’ve been known to sneak in some cream cheese for extra creaminess. Or I change it up with some different cheeses. But below is my tried and true recipe.
Prep it for the Freezer
Once the sauce has all come together, spread out the warm cheese in the bottom of a baking pan. She below how it’s steaming up the pan?! And I didn’t even take a lick, promise!
Place in the freezer for about 2-3 hours or until the cheese is solid.
Once it comes out of the freezer, let it soften just a touch to let a knife score through. About 15 minutes. If it’s still too solid to safely pull a knife through, let it soften more. Cut into 1″ (or smaller) bite size squares.
So here is how mine came out of my freezer. Perfectly imperfect. That’s whats great about doing this is it doesn’t have to be picture perfect! It’s just going in the freezer and then reheated with some noodles one day.
This is where the process becomes a little touchy-feely. The cheese sauce is probably soft enough to cut through but once you try to lift it with a spatula if it starts to break or crumble, you need to let it soften more.
Once you let it soften more, now it might be too soft and will stick together and defeat your whole purpose. Simply separate the squares in the pan and chill for about 15 minutes until there is enough of a frozen layer that the squares won’t stick together in one large clump. Your goal here is to have a bag that is full of individual cheese sauce “chips” that you can grab or pour in a warm pan and heat with noodles.
Then pop the frozen squares into a freezer bag. Don’t forget to date and label this!
How to Reheat
When you are ready to use, one batch will be enough sauce for 8 oz. cooked noodles.
This is a great item to have handy in the freezer for the kids. They will love to “make their own” homemade mac and cheese. And all they have to do is melt this sauce with their favorite noodles!
And just like that, lunch is served! Enjoy.
Homemade Cheese SaucePrint Recipe
- 2 TBSP Butter
- 2 TBSP Flour (whole wheat or GF work just fine)
- 1 1/2 Cups Milk (I use 2%)
- 2 Cups Cheese (like cheddar cheese, Beecher's, pepper-jack)
Melt butter in pan on medium heat.
Mix in flour. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
Stream in milk and whisk until there are no lumps and sauce is creamy.
Add in 2 cups grated cheese.
*To freeze, pour sauce in bottom of baking pan.
Place in freezer until cheese is solid (2-3 hours).
Remove and leave on counter for about 15 minutes to soften.
Score with knife into squares.
Separate softend squares is dish and freeze until solid.
Remove squares and place in labeled freezer bag.
This makes about 2 cups. Add this to 1 cup cooked noodles.