Mac ’N’ Cheese 3 Ways

Add unexpected ingredients to basic mac ’n’ cheese to create a truly mouthwatering meal.

Reinvent a family favorite! Start with this basic mac ’n’ cheese recipe, and then add unexpected ingredients like spicy chorizo or wholesome roasted vegetables to create a well-rounded, filling and hearty meal.

Basic Mac ’n’ Cheese

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk*
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup bread crumbs**
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*For a rich and creamy sauce, use whole or 2 percent milk. Substitute skim milk to make a thinner, reduced-fat version.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter
  3. Add flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly
  4. Add milk and whisk gently until smooth
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, toss pasta with sauce
  8. Stir in cheddar and Parmesan, and then sprinkle with bread crumbs and parsley
  9. Bake until crust is golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes

Tip: For a quick but thorough cleanup, wash up your saucepan and utensils in the dishwasher with a Cascade Platinum ActionPac.

3 Ideas for a gourmet Mac ’n’ Cheese

For a fresh take on mac ’n’ cheese, start with our basic recipe, and then switch it up with these ingredient combinations:


Add flavor and flair with zesty ingredients like ground chorizo and jalapeños.

Ingredients (add to recipe above)

2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cooked chorizo*
1 can (15 ounces) corn
1 can (4 ounces) chopped jalapenos
1 small red onion, chopped
Chili powder to taste

*For a vegetarian version, use 1 can (15 ounces) of drained black beans.


Add fresh and flavorful ingredients inspired by the cuisine of Italy.


2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
6 ounces prosciutto, coarsely chopped
Pinch of basil, to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté garlic cloves in olive oil
  2. Add spinach and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes
  3. Add Mozzarella cheese and prosciutto
  4. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil


For a healthier meal, incorporate roasted vegetables.


1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine onion, bell pepper, zucchini and mushrooms and spread in a shallow roasting pan
  2. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper
  3. Roast at 400 F, occasionally tossing, until tender, about 45 minutes
  4. Mix vegetables in with pasta, sauce and cheese

While these are our favorite ways to refresh mac ’n’ cheese, the possibilities are endless. Experiment with cuisines and ingredients you love – you’re sure to discover a scrumptious combination you adore!

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