Mac n cheese is comfort food at its finest. It can be decadent but it can also be a simple use what ya got type of meal.
I suggest using 2-3 types of cheese for the 3 cups needed, but really it’s up to you. If you like it, use it. Mixing a strong and a mild cheese is always good. Used cream cheese in a recipe and have half a block left? Throw it in! Rummage in your cheese drawer for whatever needs to get used up. Great options include cheddar, asiago, parmesan, mozzarella, Havarti, pepper jack, gouda… it’s endless!
This is an easy one to double, which means you can stash it in the freezer for a busy day or share it with another family that could use a comfort meal. Sometimes gluten-free pasta doesn’t like to freeze and thaw well but I haven’t had issues with my tinkyada brown rice pasta. Just make sure you haven’t overcooked it (keep it even just before al dente!) and combine the cheese and pasta when they have cooled a bit so the noodles don’t continue to cook. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake according to instructions.
My family likes to eat this stovetop-style the day we make it, and then we bake up the leftovers topped with a lil more cheese in a few days. You can use whatever meat and vegetables your family likes or needs to be used up. Play around with the combinations and see what you like best.
Macaroni and Cheese – Stovetop or Baked
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour I used einkorn
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 cups milk
- 3 cups shredded cheese see notes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 lb pasta I use Tinkyada rice pasta
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups diced cooked ham or other leftover cubed cooked meat
- Get a pot boiling for water. I use about a 2 gallon pot and 1 gallon of water, but check your pastas instructions. Cook pasta al dente.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy bottom medium-sized pot on med-low heat (roughly 1 gallon).
- Add flour, stir around for a minute or two. Add garlic, stir around for 15-30 sec then add about 1/3 of the milk. Whisk well, don't forget about it. You don't have to whisk constantly but don't leave it fully alone.
- When it starts to thicken, add another roughly 1/3 of the milk. again, whisk, don't forget about it, when it starts to thicken, add the rest of the milk.
- Take off the heat, whisk in salt and pepper. Add cheese, let melt, whisk in, then stir in the frozen peas and ham. If the pasta isn't finished cooking, set the cheese sauce aside.
- Drain cooked pasta, then stir it into the cheese sauce. Serve right away, or pour into a greased 9×13 pan, let cool, cover, and put in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To bake, preheat oven to 350F, and bake without lid for 30-45 minutes until it's hot and bubbly.