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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Morrison

The easiest Macaroni and Cheese recipe for a quick dinner fix

I have made mac and cheese since I was a little girl.  I would help Mom in the kitchen.  We would measure all of the ingredients.  We made a cheese sauce from scratch.  We boiled our noodles.  We mixed it all together.  And then we would pour that into a baking dish and finally, it was ready for the oven.

What if I told you that it no longer has to be so time-consuming?  And what if you only had one pan to wash at the end?  Even my girlfriends who believe the kitchen is where you store leftover take out can whip together this recipe any night of the week and modify it to suit their family.  Here is how.

Let’s say that you have some roasted, grilled, fried, or rotisserie chicken hanging out in your fridge, you can add that to this simple recipe.  Just shred the chicken or cut into small pieces to make this mac and cheese your way.  Throw in some chopped up bacon from breakfast and you are a hero.

Throw in some chopped up bacon from breakfast and you are a hero.

Apply the same idea to beef.  Leftover fajita meat, seasoned ground beef, or pot roast can become a whole new dish in this mac and cheese.  Chop the beef into small pieces.  Stir it into the elbow pasta and bake.  Pork sausage or chops work well, too.

If you are looking for a way to incorporate more vegetables, there are several options. Sautee some sliced baby Bella mushrooms in butter or olive oil.  Add some spinach to the pan until wilted and it is ready to go in your mac and cheese.  Another twist is frozen peas and carrots to add a nice flavor and a vitamin boost.  Try diced fresh tomatoes and minced shallot to usher in the flavors of summer.

Now that we have covered the versatility of this recipe, let us talk cheese.  If simplicity is your calling card, you can use bagged shredded cheese.  But this option is literally coated in preservatives and does not melt as smoothly.  I keep block cheese on hand for shredding or slicing.  It really does melt better and is creamier in all recipes.  In this recipe, to maximize the cheesiness, you can add up to half a pound of an easy melting cheese like Velveeta.  

I like this dish just the way it is.  Feel free to make a half recipe as a side dish or if you have less than four people for dinner.  To reheat this dish, should you have leftovers, add a little milk or cream to the dish before reheating to restore the cheesy goodness.

Please email me if you have any questions or thoughts for this or upcoming blog articles.  Thank you for reading and enjoy!

Easy Macaroni and Cheese

  • 8 oz. elbow pasta

  • 3 cup shredded sharp cheddar

  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack

  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted

  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix all ingredients in a 2-quart nonstick baking dish.  Cover with foil.  Place in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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