Now I know many of you out there like Kraft Mac n’ Cheese… but where’s the cheese?! This Baked Macaroni & Cheese is where it’s at!
Okay, I can’t ignore it. Isn’t this little blue dish the cutest dishware you’ve ever seen!? I was at Bed Bath and Beyond a few months ago and ran into this cutie for $5 in the clearance section and it was begging me to take it home. I had one of those $5 off if you spend $15 (love their coupons!) so I just had to get it. Ya know what I mean? …but really, I had to get it to get up to my $15 to use the coupon. 🙂
My husband loves that there is more cheese on top. He says that it’s all about the “appearance” or illusion of more cheese… because let’s face it, people love cheese. BUT, if you don’t care for more cheese and you want to skip the baking you can definitely serve up the creamy pasta straight from the pan. It’s delicious! I actually didn’t put all the pasta in the casserole dish and ate like half a cup of the cheesy macaroni while the rest of it baked.
Instead of baking the pasta in one large dish you can totally divide it up into whatever oven safe dishes you have to make individual portions. Great way to portion control and who doesn’t love a cute little personal size dish?!
Oh and steamed broccoli tastes great as a side. I even kind of mix it in with my macaroni and eat them in the same bite. Cheesy broccoli is delish!
Baked Macaroni & Cheese
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup 1/2 stick butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk, if you must, you can also use 1% or 2%
- 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated
- 1 cup Colby cheese, freshly grated
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated (divided)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, black is fine too
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 2 quart casserole dish (9x13 inch pan works too).
- Boil pasta according to package until al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour until lumps are gone. Whisk in 1/2 cup of milk until smooth and then slowly stir in the remaining milk and add the salt (taste and add more salt if desired) and pepper. Simmer for 6-8 minutes while continuing to stir (you must stir or else it will curdle) until thick. Remove from heat and stir in all but 1/2 cup of cheese.
- Fold cheese mixture into cooked and drained pasta and then place in casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let it rest 5 minutes before serving.