Baked Mac ‘n Cheese

This week, I’d like to share a recipe Dustin actually created.

Baked Mac n Cheese recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

I know I am the one with the food blog and personal chef experience, but Dustin is actually the one who used to do all the cooking in our home.  I used to happily take the sous chef role while he prepared things Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Spaghetti, Steaks and Garlic Bread.

Baked Mac n Cheese recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Then, somewhere along the way, I realized ways I could improve the recipes he had learned from his dad. I started researching recipes and techniques and trying to make all the pieces from scratch.

Slowly, but surely, I took over the main cooking role in our family.

Baked Mac n Cheese recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

But Dustin still loves to cook very much and has, in one way or another, helped with almost each and every recipe I’ve ever done.

Even if that meant being my guinea pig taster. Wow, that doesn’t sound good!  You all got that, right?  He was my recipe taster…I didn’t actually feed him guinea pigs.

Baked Mac n Cheese recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Anyways, Dustin and I have been cooking together a lot lately and really enjoying it. While he will always be The Griller, he has pretty much perfected his Baked Mac and Cheese recipe. Like seriously perfected. Like yum.

Baked Mac n Cheese recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

While preparing this recipe the other day, it was fun to let him dictate the ingredients this time while I wrote them down and took pictures.

Nice change of pace.

Baked Mac n Cheese recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

I hope you enjoy this yummy Mac n Cheese. It’s a definite household favorite for us.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Baked Mac 'n Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is an absolutely delicious Baked Mac n Cheese recipe that will replace all other Macaroni and Cheese recipes.
Author:
Recipe type: Easy
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. package penne noodles (can also use macaroni or shells)
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter (plus more to grease baking dish)
  • 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided
  • 2 cups jack cheese, grated and divided
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream (or Half and Half)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a medium-sized casserole/baking dish with softened butter and set aside (I use a 9x9x2 dish).
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions, in salted water. When al dente (still firm, but mostly cooked), remove and drain. Make sure to not completely cook through, as they will continue to cook when baked.
  3. In a medium-large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, slowly sprinkle in flour and stir to combine. Mix in the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Slowly add the milk and cream into the mixture, stirring constantly. Bring mixture almost to a boil, then reduce to low and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, until thickened.
  5. Sprinkle in 3 cups of the cheddar and 1 cup of the jack, stirring well to melt. Cook an additional 4-6 minutes. Season to taste and remove from heat.
  6. In a large mixing bowl or in the pot used to cook the noodles, mix the noodles with the cheese sauce. Add mixture to the greased baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the dish until well covered.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes, uncovered, until bubbly and golden brown.

 

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About the author: My name is Lacey and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a foodie, a photographer, a chef, and a project manager at a local tech start-up in Austin. But, most importantly, I am the mother of three adorable little kiddos (Jordan, Savannah and Hunter) and am madly in love with and married to my high school sweetheart, Dustin.

22 comments… add one

  1. Jenny July 3, 2012, 2:15 am

    Wow. looks so delicious! I´ll try to cook it too. I love this receipt. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Dustin July 15, 2012, 1:08 pm

    So glad we figured this out! Lots of cheese!

    Reply
  3. Dave & Elena July 16, 2012, 11:06 pm

    We just cooked this. It was awesome. Thanks for the recipe. We added some extra milk during the sauce making just to give it a bit saucier consistency. The flavor was outstanding! Thanks for what will be sure to be a keeper in our repertoire.

    Reply
    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef July 17, 2012, 11:12 am

      Yay, Dave & Elena! Thanks for letting us know how it was. We are very happy you enjoyed it :)

      Reply
  4. Aly August 28, 2012, 10:53 pm

    How many people does this dish serve? Would love to do this for tailgate!

    Reply
  5. Jane September 16, 2012, 6:41 pm

    Easy prep and the cheese sauce tastes awesome! 15 more minutes left of baking. SO EXCITED!

    Reply
  6. Bri September 17, 2012, 5:04 pm

    Would you adjust at all to add chicken for a one-dish meal? And once in the pan, can I stick it in the fridge and bake it the next night?

    Reply
    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef September 18, 2012, 4:14 pm

      Hi Bri — I’d recommend adding cooked chicken in for the all-in-one meal. And I believe you should be fine to cook the next day, though I’ve never tried that. Best of luck!

      Reply
  7. Katie September 27, 2012, 3:11 pm

    Hi Lacey! Just wondering what the heavy cream does for the recipe. Does it make it richer or creamier? Would it ruin it to just use 2.5 cups milk instead? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef September 27, 2012, 3:16 pm

      Hi Katie! Yes, that’s exactly it — for extra creaminess. Regular milk should be just fine :)

      Reply
  8. Karen December 4, 2012, 4:45 pm

    I have a question if I only have salted butter can I just omit the salt and cook pasta with no salt as well?

    Reply
    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef December 4, 2012, 8:24 pm

      Karen, I’d say that sounds like a good plan. Just season with salt as needed before putting in the oven.

      Reply
  9. dawn July 14, 2013, 8:34 pm

    Uestion: can this be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen? This looks amazing and I want tl make it for a potluck on a camping trip but don’t want to put it together @ the site. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Lacey Baier March 17, 2014, 11:11 pm

      Hi Dawn. Unfortunately, I’ve never tried making this ahead of time. It tends to harden up in the fridge for left-overs but is fine once reheated. If you try this out, please let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  10. Kelly July 22, 2014, 9:23 pm

    Can i just tell you, i never come back to comment on any blogs but i just NEEDED to. I just made this right now, like literally its ready to go in the oven (not even fully cooked yet and i can’t keep away from eating it LOL) This is the best mac and cheese recipe i have EVER tried. You will not be disappointed. I will never use another recipe. Finally the search is over. Kudos to you and your hubby!

    Reply
    1. Lacey Baier July 22, 2014, 10:07 pm

      Yes! Love it. Thank you for coming back and giving your feedback, Kelly. You made both Dustin and me smile as I read the comment :). So good, right?!?

      Reply
  11. Candie Schaal August 11, 2014, 1:29 pm

    A friend recommended this recipe to me after I had it at her house. It is wonderful! Which type of milk did you use? Whole, 2%, 1% or skim? Thanks for the help.

    Reply
    1. Lacey Baier August 11, 2014, 4:54 pm

      Yay – that’s awesome! We used 1% for this recipe but have also used regular almond milk and it turned out well, too (just a little less thick and creamy).

      Reply

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