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Macaroni and Cheese - A Guilty Pleasure

Updated on January 1, 2010

The Secret Ingredient...

...Cream Cheese!

Yes, it is kind of bad for you.

That's why it tastes so good.

A real crowd-pleaser, everyone will want the recipe.

If you are worried about the fat and calories, remember:

It's supposed to be a side dish.


Liz's Favorite Mac and Cheese

3 cups penne pasta (2 cups if you like it extra creamy)
1/4 c butter
2 Tbsp flour, sifted
2 1/2 c milk or half and half (room temp)
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, cubed
8 oz shredded cheese- your choice (extra-sharp cheddar is my favorite)
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Cook pasta until not quite al dente, (a little undercooked is better, it will cook more in the oven) Drain well and toss with small amount of butter to lightly coat. Set aside

In medium saucepan on low heat, melt butter. Slowly add flour, mixture will thicken a bit.
Stir in milk, a little at a time, to prevent lumps. When mixture is smooth, stir in shredded cheese.

When cheese is melted and smooth, add cream cheese, stirring constantly. Add ground mustard, salt and pepper and mix well.

Remove from heat and fold in cooked pasta. Pour into buttered casserole dish.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir gently to make sure all pasta is coated inside and out.

Top with bread crumbs and return to oven. Bake (uncovered) another 20 min.

Yum

note...It may seem as if you have too much cheese sauce and not enough pasta, but as it bakes, the pasta really soaks up the sauce.

"The Banquet of the Gods"..... somebody made mac and cheese!

"The Banquet of the Gods"... by Hendrik van Balen the Elder
"The Banquet of the Gods"... by Hendrik van Balen the Elder

Get Creative!

You can personalize this recipe by playing with the spices, cheese, and toppings.

Make a one-of-a kind dish by adding what you have on hand....

your own signature mac-n-cheese!

You may want to try:

Smoky Paprika

Cayenne or Hot Pepper Sauce

Worchestershire Sauce

Spicy brown or Dijon mustard instead of ground mustard

Nutmeg ( I leave out the mustard and use white cheddar)

Crumbled cooked bacon

Diced veggies.... broccoli,(great with bacon), bell pepper, sun-dried tomato

Top with shredded cheeseĀ and leave out theĀ bread crumbs.... place under broiler for a few minutes (after fully baking the macaroni and cheese) until slightly brown and bubbly.....oh yeah!

Comments

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    • elisabethkcmo profile image
      Author

      elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz

      Thanks, Rose Mary... I'm going to check out your hub, and I'll add a link too!

      mmm.. I want mac-n-cheese right now!

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      The cream cheese has me interested. I finally did my Mac and Cheese hub. Actually I was waiting for REAL photos of my actual Mac and Cheese, and I pretty much just fix it at T'giving and Christmas. ANYwho, I linked to this hub in mine.

    • elisabethkcmo profile image
      Author

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      Tamarii2, your kind words are invaluable, thank you.

      Hope you make this recipe and share it with those you love.

    • Tamarii2 profile image

      Tamarii2 8 years ago from NEW YORK

      Great hub.It made me want to cook mac & cheese.Thanks 4 responding to my question.Thanks 4 this journey.>peace 2 U.

    • elisabethkcmo profile image
      Author

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      Ground mustard is an underrated spice, it adds a nice flavor to cheese dishes, especially this one

      (I've been watching a lot of Food Network lately)

      thanks for your comment DeBorrah!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      Hmmm This is one of my families favorite side dishes. But I have never added mustard? I'll have to try this

      Thanks

      Blessings

    • elisabethkcmo profile image
      Author

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      Me too... and after making your own, the blue box just doesn't measure up..

      thanks, LAS

    • Life's A Stage profile image

      Life's A Stage 8 years ago from Center Stage

      I'm always looking for recipes for mac n cheese. mmmm im hungry now.

    • elisabethkcmo profile image
      Author

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      Chelles, this is a great basic recipe to change as you like.

      IF you make it healthier, however, that means you get to eat more!

    • Chelles profile image

      Chelles 8 years ago

      Sounds yummy. Maybe whole grain pasta, skim milk and low fat cheese could make it healthier? Though would likely notice a difference!

    • elisabethkcmo profile image
      Author

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      James, The blue box stuff just doesn't even come close, does it?... thanks for checking out my recipe

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      If there is one thing I love, it is mac & cheese. I have never felt a twinge of guilt about it either. :)

      Thanks for the recipe. I'm going to try it.

    • elisabethkcmo profile image
      Author

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      Keith S--Glad it sounds tasty, just make yourself a fruit salad, and you're good to go!

    • Keith S profile image

      Keith S 8 years ago

      I was minding my own business and then read your hub. I want mac and cheese for breakfast.

      Yummy

    • elisabethkcmo profile image
      Author

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      Glad you like it!

      Let me know how it turns out.

    • Montana Farm Girl profile image

      Montana Farm Girl 8 years ago from Northwestern Montana

      Yumo!!!!! Always looking for good, new recipes!!! I have never made it with cream cheese....sounds like it will be sooooooooo good!!! I'm bookmarking the recipe!!!