Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mac and Cheese, plus...

Our eldest daughter is home for a while and decided to treat us to one of her favorite comfort foods yesterday. She got this recipe from some very good friends and has tweaked it a bit to make it her own. While I took care of the main entree and one other side, she made this, and told me she was happy to have me share her recipe with all of you.

The original recipe called for standard macaroni noodles and no vegetables, but that's where your creativity comes in. My daughter made this the way she likes it best. She said that last time she made it she tried adding cooked broccoli, but she thought it changed the flavor and the texture was off. After tasting this yesterday (yum!) I'm thinking of other items to add too. This is definitely one of those you can make your own.

Now, I realize it's summer and we don't usually want to turn our ovens on, but around here we've been battling storm after storm, and we needed some comfort food. So we just cranked the air a little bit higher for a short while yesterday. And everything worked out just fine.

By the way, this makes enough for a party!

Mac and Cheese, plus...

6 cups of rotini pasta (there are two boxes pictured here. We only used one.
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
7.5 cups milk
9 cups of shredded cheese (we used cheddar, mozzarella, and cheddar-jack)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the rotini pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

Warm the milk in a deep saucepan. Stir in veggies and cook about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in all the cheese, and keep stirring until you have an even consistency.

Transfer half the cheese mixture to baking pans (we used two glass baking dishes), then add all the cooked noodles. Add the remaining cheese mixture. Stir so all noodles are evenly covered.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. At the end of the baking time, turn the oven heat up all the way to 500-550 and bake for an additional 5 minutes to give it a golden crust.

Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

I'm sure this recipe can be halved, but for right now, we're all delighted to have the leftovers. My daughter says it's even better the second day.


By the way, Pub Alley listed Grace Under Pressure as one of its mystery bestsellers last week!


  1. This sounds yummy. Mac and Cheese is always good and with these additions, it couldn't help but be delicious.

    Congratulations on GRACE UNDER PRESSURE being on the bestsellers list.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Wow, how many people were you feeding? Looks like a great recipe to take to potlucks - delicious and makes LOTS!

  3. WOW... that is one beautiful recipe...

    I am in love with all the different cheeses.

    Am wanting to serve this over a big old slice of country ham

  4. Hi Mason - thanks so much! I was pretty excited to see Grace hit that list!

    Shel - Seriously? There were only 4 of us here. And within a day we were down by more than half.

    Hey Dave - Mmm... I love the idea of serving it over ham! It's so good, and my daughter's claim that it's even better the next day? Totally true. The veggie flavors blend in better and the cheeses seem to tighten up and thicken. I would almost suggest you make this the day before you plan to serve.

  5. Can I save this for winter? Because it's THTC season (that's Too Hot to Cook) here in Massachusetts.

    My biggest problem is getting the liquid/pasta ratio right, so my M&C always ends up dry. Should it look soupy when it goes into the oven?

    Go, Grace!

  6. Lol Sheila - yep, it should look *very* soupy. In fact, if you serve this the first day, it sits a little wet on the plate. The second day it's more like the mac and cheese consistency you'd expect. Either way, however, it's great.


  7. Great-looking recipe, and I've been craving mac and cheese anyway. Now I have GOT to make this.

    And GREAT news about "Grace"! One of the best things about having writer friends is being able to share the pleased excitement of seeing books on bestseller lists.

    BTW - Don't you love these "capcha" words we have to type before these comments are posted? The one I got for this one was "upsunce." I am so tempted to use these almost-words in conversation.

  8. Laineshots - absolutely. I love sharing my good news and I am so excited when all my writer friends share theirs as well! It's so great to feel that camaraderie, isn't it?
    You made me laugh with "upsunce." If I were coming up with a definitions, I'd take it to mean to be indignant. What do you think?


  9. Let's hear it for comfort food! I adore it. This is yum. And congrats on making the list!!! Wahoo!

  10. I'm excited about this recipe! I love red onion and the peppers in the recipe sound like they add some punch to the mac and cheese. Yum!

  11. Julie, I'm thrilled by the success of Grace Under Pressure (but I'm not surprised!).

    I love Dave's idea of serving this with ham, but it's also a great idea for Meatless Mondays and vegetarians.

    ~ Krista

  12. Thanks, Avery! I knew you'd like this one... all that cheese!!

    Elizabeth - I think the peppers are a perfect addition. Just the right amount of zest.

    Krista - Aww, thanks! I do love Dave's idea with the ham, but let me tell you this one was a huge hit with my veggie daughter. Two days and it's all almost gone. And you saw how much this recipe made! LOL


  13. What a great update on a classic. That will be a hit with my extended family of big eaters.

    Congrats on all the successes of Grace Under Pressure. Well-deserved.


    Charlotte Adams mysteries

  14. Oh, yum. I do love mac and cheese from
    scratch and what a nice way to tuck those
    veggies in!

  15. MJ - thanks for the congrats! Grinning here! Glad this recipe will head home with you, too. Hey, you have a book coming very soon, don't you? Closet Confidential! Looking forward to it.

    Jenn - the veggies make it. Although my daughter didn't care for it with broccoli, I'm tempted to try it next time.


  16. Yes, Julie, upsunce even sounds like indignation feels, doesn't it? I'm giggling now - and making this mac and cheese. Glad I had some peppers on hand.

  17. OH, yes, yes, yes! Comfort food is most welcome, no matter the weather -- props to your daughter, Julie, for a winner of a dish. And props to her mom for a winner of a book. You go, Grace! :)

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  18. Laine - Glad we think alike! I might start using upsunce regularly! ;-)

    Cleo - thanks so much! Flying high here!