Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
EASY BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE
Hi Friends! I hope you’re having a great week so far. Valentines day is tomorrow. Do you have plans? Staying in? Getting all fancy and going out? If you still don’t have plans and want to make something cheesy and delicious for your sweetheart, I have just the recipe for you. This easy baked macaroni and cheese is seriously the best I have ever eaten, and I don’t say that lightly. I have eaten plenty of different kinds of macaroni and cheese in my life, but nothing compares to this one. My dad gave this recipe to me a few weeks ago and I just got the chance to make it this past weekend. It made me really upset, as I was savoring every bite from my cast iron skillet. I was upset because I have been missing this macaroni and cheese in my life and I wish I would have gotten my hands on the recipe sooner (ok, I wasn’t that upset. I just don’t know why he hid this recipe from me 😊)
Let me give you the rundown of this ever-so-cheesy mac. First, it has my favorite pasta, cavatappi! (also known as cellentani) I love using this specific pasta because it’s cute (duh 😊) and it holds onto the cheese really well, both on the inside and outside! Second, this macaroni and cheese has four (!!!) different kinds of cheeses! Yes, I went there. How could a macaroni and cheese recipe not be good with four different kinds of cheeses?! It’s got mild cheddar, the classic. It has gouda, the big guns. Plus, cream cheese, the smoothinator (yes, I made that up) and parm because noodles need parm.
Lastly, I love this recipe because it is simple to make, and we can eat it for a few nights in a row. I love to cook but some nights I don’t want to, so I like to make meals we can have two nights in a row and this is one of them. Plus, I could never get sick of macaroni and cheese, so really I could probably eat it 5 nights in a row!
Easy baked macaroni and cheese tips:
Like I said above, I like to use cavatappi pasta, but any kind of medium shaped pasta will do. My dad uses elbow macaroni. Just use whatever your favorite pasta is.
- The cheese: you can virtually use any kind of cheese you want. The cream cheese must stay (it helps with the smoothness) but as far as shredded cheese, any kind will do.
- I loved baking this in my cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, a 9×13 pan will work just as well.
- The cornflake topping is definitely optional but recommended because it’s delicious. If you don’t use it, I would suggest sprinkling a little more cheese over the top of the macaroni before you bake it.
- If you find you loved this recipe, here are a few more pasta recipes that I love: Big Mac Stuffed Shells/Goulash.
I hope you enjoy your Valentines Day! Whether it’s with your significant other, family or friends, I hope you eat lots of chocolate, and enjoy a nice dinner… like this easy baked macaroni and cheese 😊
- 1 16 ounce package cavatappi pasta
- ¼ cup butter, 1/2 stick
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, cut into large chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1 cup milk cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup gouda cheese, shredded
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
For the cornflake topping:
- 2 cups corn flakes
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt ½ stick (1/4 cup) butter. When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook until it’s bubbly and thick, about 2 minutes. When mixture is thickened, whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook about 5 minutes until mixture is thick, stirring often. When the mixture is thickened, stir in the cream cheese until mixture is smooth then add in desired amount of salt and pepper.
- To the cream mixture, add the one cup of each cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted into the cream mixture.
- In a large enough kettle, or a large bowl, combine the cooked noodles and the cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Transfer the noodles to a cast iron skillet or greased 9x13 pan.
- Combine all the ingredients under “for the cornflake topping” in a small bowl or in a ziplock baggie. Stir or shake until all the pieces of cornflake are coated in butter and seasonings. Sprinkle the mixture on top of your macaroni and cheese in an even layer.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly!