Classic Mac n Cheese

Classic Mac n Cheese
8 ounces dry elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)
2 cups milk (skim, whole or half-n-half)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces full flavored cheese, shredded or diced (approx. 2 cups)
Optional ingredients, see variations below

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside while preparing sauce.

Over medium heat, melt butter in medium saucepan; whisk in flour, salt and
pepper until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, continue to stir until mixture thickens and
comes to a boil; stirring, boil 2 minutes. Reduce heat, add cheese, stir until cheese is
melted; fold in cooked macaroni. If desired, thin with additional milk for a saucy version.
Serve hot or place in buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with crumbs, bake at 350 degrees for
30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Do Ahead tip – freeze for later use. Best if thawed in refrigerator, to thaw in microwave use
low setting (30-40 % power). Reheat in microwave, fry pan, or bake until hot and bubbly.
NOTE, additional milk may be needed to thin to desirable consistency once thawed.


There are as many variations for Macaroni and Cheese as there are people to
enjoy it. Thanks to all my friends, below are several additions and variations to spice up
your homemade comfort food. For ingredients without a measurement, add until it suits
your taste preference. When experimenting, limit the number of ingredients at first.
Additional Options:
Cheeses (I like a blend of cheese)
Sharp Cheddar
Smokey Gouda
Pepper Jack
Gorgonzola or Blue – 1/2 cup blended with cheddar
Parmesan – 1/4 to 1/2 cup mixed with other cheeses
Hot dogs, sliced
Spam, diced
Ham, diced
Sausage, cooked – smoked links, country style, little smokies
Tuna fish – 1 to 2 small cans
Tomato soup, undiluted condensed
Sundried tomatoes, slivered or chopped
Crumbled cooked bacon – 2 to 3 slices
Diced canned green chilies – 4 oz
Chili – 15 oz can
Peppers, diced – 1/4 cup red or green bell pepper; finely chopped jalapeno, with seeds
Pimentos, chopped
Olives – black, sliced; green olives stuffed with pimentos, chopped
Minced onion, or green onion – 1 to 2 tablespoons, sautéed (raw may overpower taste)
Buttermilk – use 1/2-cup buttermilk to 1 1/2-cups whole milk
Cream cheese – fat free to regular3 ounces
Sour Cream – nonfat to regular, 1/2 to 1 cup (may displace part of milk in recipe), add at
end of cooking
Pureed cooked sweet potato or carrots
California Style frozen veggies
Bread crumbs, toasted – 1 to 3 teaspoons butter, 1/3 to 1 cup crumbs; stir fry in non-stick
pan to toast
Cracker crumbs – saltines, Cheeze-Its, Ritz; drizzle with melted butter or toss with
shredded cheese
Panko crumbs
Sesame seeds
Shredded cheese
Nuts, chopped – walnuts, cashews, almonds (mix in a few nuts with crumbs
Sliced tomatoes around edges
Bacon crumbles
Crushed potato chips
Poppy Seeds
Herbs – Oregano, Thyme, Sage, etc snipped 1-2 teaspoons fresh; a dash to 1/2 teaspoon
Parsley flakes
Chives, snipped
Tabasco or hot pepper sauce – few drops, to taste
Cayenne pepper, dash
Mustard – yellow, Dijon, spicy, Brown – 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared; 1/4 to 1 teaspoon dry
Celery seed – 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic salt – replace salt in recipe with same proportions; 1/4 garlic powder (salt as is in
Black pepper, white pepper – 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
Worcestershire sauce – 1 to 2 teaspoons
Ranch dressing – 1 envelop dried dressing mix,
Barbecue sauce
Truffle Oil
Elbow macaroni, classic
Rotini, spirals
Sides Dishes to serve with Mac n Cheese
Tomatoes – sliced fresh, stewed, canned
Broiled Tomatoes – brush slices with olive oil, sprinkle with chopped basil, salt pepper,
mozzarella broil
Pickled beets
Chicken nuggets
Green peas – in it or to the side
Marinated vegetables – mixed thinly sliced fresh veggies tossed with Zesty Italian dressing
Steamed Broccoli
Peas and Carrots
Asparagus spears

Lite Version

Use skim milk; 3 parts reduced fat cheese mixed with 1 part Asiago cheese (for flavor); 3-
oz fat-free cream cheese; cornstarch mixed with a little milk to replace flour as thickener.

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