Stovetop Mac and Cheese is easy to make. Shredded cheese is melted into a white sauce and folded into corkscrew pasta. It’s light-years better than the boxed stuff, and easily customizable, based on the pasta and cheese you already have on hand!
It’s been rather autumn-like the past couple days, which I love (but also hate because I know that means winter is on its way), because immediately my thoughts turn to comfort food. And I’ve been craving comfort, kinda junky food as of late. Which might explain why I didn’t lose anything at WW this week (didn’t gain either at least).
But that’s okay. We ended up going out to Buffalo Wild Wings (I know, I know!) last night, because I told Jay that we were having mac & cheese, and that was it. He quickly agreed. And while I tried for pizza tonight, the bambino insisted we have mac & cheese and stay home.
So after we swung through Buttercrust for more milk, I got to work on some cheesy, creamy, homemade mac and cheese that came very close to Stouffer’s (my favorite frozen version) and was WAY better than the “blue box” stuff (although that has its place in the pantry too).
Customize Your Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese doesn’t necessarily need to be elbow macaroni, or even straight macaroni. I’ve used small shells, ditalini, riccioli, penne, rotini, you name it. If it’s a smaller pasta shape, use it!
The cheese also doesn’t have to be straight cheddar. Especially if you don’t have it on hand. Colby Jack, Cheddar Jack, Monterey Jack are all options, as well as any combination of whatever you already have in the fridge.
If I’d had more time, I would’ve tossed it in the oven for awhile. There’s nothing better than burnt-mac-&-cheese-crunchy-bits.
And if you opt to do that, I recommend sprinkling the top with some breadcrumbs tossed in a bit of melted butter. Then it becomes heaven in a baking dish.
Still, this was good. Really good. Sometimes, cheesy pasta is all you need to make the world right again.
And I have lots of leftovers for the rest of the week’s lunches!
- 2 C dried pasta (smaller shapes, like shells, macaroni, or rotini)
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 C milk
- 3 C shredded Colby-Jack, Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese (or any combination of the three)
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions for al dente pasta.
- While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour, pepper and onion powder, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, and cook until thickened and bubbly.
- Add the cheese, and stir until melted. Set aside until the pasta has finished cooking.
- Drain the pasta, and return it to the same pot. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and mix it well.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- If desired, place the mac and cheese in a buttered baking dish, and sprinkle with 1 C plain breadcrumbs tossed with 3 Tbsp. melted butter. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.