Alright y’all, it’s been a while since I hit ya with a food post because let’s face it, my recipes lately have been anything but inspired. Now that the wedding is over, I’m feeling free and totally refreshed so I thought it was about time. Being that I no longer have to worry about having to squeeze my little butt into a wedding dress, I figured it was time to indulge a little, so naturally, my first home cooked meal for my new hubby was cheesy, decadent, and oh so good.
This recipe is actually a Burden original and was my absolute favorite thing my mom made growing up—consider yourselves blessed that Mama Burden allowed me to share! Trust me when I say that this is seriously the best mac n’ cheese you will ever make (sorry, it’ll totally ruin boxed or frozen for ya). It’s rich, hearty, cheesy, and all of the ingredients are actually REAL! This time, I used whole wheat noodles, almond milk, and threw in a little chopped kale, but in the past I’ve used rice noodles (which have a fabulous texture) and have thrown in broccoli or spinach as well (gotta get them veggies in)—can you say versatile?? Now that we are heading into chillier weather, it’s the ultimate fall comfort food and super easy to throw together for family gatherings, parties, or on cozy nights in with your special someone (the leftovers are fantastic). I’m fairly confident that this will become a fall favorite for you because it’s definitely one of mine, and if you throw in a little side salad like I did here, you’ve totally got yourself a hearty and complete meal! Keep scrolling for all of the recipe deets:
What You Need
- 1 package of pasta (I like whole wheat fusilli, but you can totally use regular macaroni, rice noodles, etc.)
- 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese (I think the sharp cheddar adds a lot of necessary flavor and richness, but you can literally use any variety or mixture of cheese you like)
- ¼ cup of flour
- ¼ cup of butter (about ½ stick)
- 2 cups of milk (I prefer almond milk, but anything works)
- Garlic powder
- A dash of ground mustard
- A little red pepper
- A pinch of turmeric
- Bread crumbs (or crushed up crackers, or both)
Note: As you can see, I did not specify exact measurements on the seasoning because it’s honestly up to personal preference—Taste it!
Let’s Get Cooking
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Greece a 13 x 9 or 6 x 6 (depending on how much you’re making) baking dish with butter or cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook your pasta according to package instructions, strain, and set aside.
- While your pasta is boiling (or after), you can begin making your cheese sauce. In a medium to large pan or stockpot, melt your butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, gradually whisk in flour, whisking until most of the lumps are well combined. Gradually pour in your milk about ½ cup at a time, whisking continuously until the mixture begins to thicken, maybe 7-10 minutes (you can also whisk in a bit more flower if it doesn’t seem to be thickening, but don’t go crazy).
- Once it reaches a gravy-like consistency, you can reduce the heat to low and season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, a dash of ground mustard, and a little turmeric and red pepper to achieve that nice yellow color (optional). Once it’s seasoned to your liking (taste it), you can stir in all of your cheese.
- After adding your cheese and letting it melt down until its smooth and kind of “gloppy”, taste it and make sure it’s cheesy enough—you can always add in a little (or a lot) more!
- Once your sauce is to your liking, go ahead and add in your diced veggies (optional) and let them combine/wilt/soften a tiny bit (maybe 2-minutes).
- Take your saucepan off of the heat and add in your cooked pasta, stirring until well coated with your cheese sauce. Note: if your saucepan isn’t big enough to stir your pasta in, you can do this part in a separate bowl or in the dish you’ll be baking it in.
- Pour your pasta, cheese sauce, and veggie mixture into your greased baking dish and top evenly with breadcrumbs (as I mentioned above, I actually used a mixture of bread crumbs and crushed up Triscuit crackers for a little extra crunch).
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy on top.
- Let cool for 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Thanks for reading y’all, follow me on insta for more food envy and BTS on my day to day life!