My kids truly love mac and cheese. Because I do not do box mixes very often, I went on a quest to find a good homemade mac and cheese recipe that had the creaminess they love combined with good fresh ingredients that I could easily throw together on a weeknight. And Easy One Pot Cheesy Mac was born!
One important ingredient – good sharp cheddar cheese. For some reason, cheap cheese just does not melt right. Don’t skimp with cheap cheese here or this dish won’t work.
Another part not to skip is the last step – letting it sit for 10-20 minutes. When this dish comes together at the end and the cheese all melts in, the sauce can be a little thin. Letting it sit for 10-20 minutes gives the cheesy goodness time to cool and thicken slightly. I often make this right when the kids get home from school and let it sit on the stove for 20-30 minutes or more before we eat. That allows the sauce to come to a good consistency, and I can always reheat if needed.
But my kids love it even when the sauce is thin so no worries if you are crunched for time.
Easy One Pot Cheesy Mac
(adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine)
4 cups whole milk
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
10 oz shredded good sharp cheddar cheese
6 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 lb pasta (rotini, shells, etc.)
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
Pour milk, water and chicken broth into medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Pour pasta in, lower heat to low and let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Once the pasta is cooked to desired tenderness, remove from heat and add the shredded cheddar, salt and cream cheese. Stir until completely melted and let sit for 10-15 minutes so sauce can thicken.
Serves: probably 10 at least – this is a big recipe that you can cut in half, but I like to make a big batch and serve it for the next couple days as a side (or even main dish!) to whatever else I am throwing together. My family even likes it better on day 2!
What is your favorite mac and cheese recipe? Try this one and tell me how you like it in the comments!