Getting dinner together on a busy weeknight can be a challenge, so easy shortcuts like a white sauce mix can make a big difference. Instead of whisking together a homemade Alfredo sauce every night or using the pricey jarred version with a long list of ingredients, make your own mix. It comes together quickly and can be stored in the refrigerator for a quick, hassle-free sauce.
When using the mix, you can make this a cheese sauce by adding freshly grated cheese of any type. Fresh or dried herbs and garlic are also a nice addition. The white sauce, or bechamel sauce, is easy to customize for use in a wide variety of dishes—it's called a "mother sauce" for a reason.
The finished sauce is excellent in casseroles and can be used to make super-fast macaroni and cheese or scalloped potatoes. White sauce is used in some lasagna recipes and other Italian dishes, or simply as a sauce for meat or vegetables. It can also be turned into cream sauce or Mornay sauce in just a few minutes. If you use a lot of white sauce, simply double this recipe and use the mix within a couple of months.
- 2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
- 1 cup butter (or margarine or oil spread)
Make the Mix
In a medium bowl, combine the dry milk powder, flour, salt, and white pepper (if using) and mix well with a whisk.
With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter or margarine until mixture resembles cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain.
Make the Sauce
To make white sauce using the mix, combine 1/2 cup mix and 1 cup cool water in a small saucepan.
Cook over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly with a whisk. Season as desired. Makes about 1 cup sauce.
Unlike store-bought white sauce mixes, this homemade version needs to be stored in the refrigerator.
- To substitute for a 16-ounce jar of purchased Alfredo sauce, use 3/4 cup of the mix and 1 3/4 cups of water.
- Add freshly shredded cheese (cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss) when cooking to make a cheese sauce. Crumbled blue or goat cheese will also work.
- Add chopped fresh herbs at the end of cooking for some brightness, like basil, tarragon, or parsley.
- Add dried herbs for extra flavor like marjoram or oregano. A pinch of red pepper flakes will lend a spicy kick.
- Add garlic powder for a garlic sauce, or sauté fresh, minced garlic and add while cooking. Roasted garlic, smashed into a paste, can also be added during cooking for a mellow garlic flavor.