Easy Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect side dish for those busy nights, because it goes together in a flash! Everyone seems to like mac & cheese, and everyone seems to make it differently. This recipe is for a very basic, easy version, loaded with Cheddar cheese and rich with milk. You can have it in the oven within 15 minutes. Kids love this, and you can serve it as a main dish or a side dish.
To beef up (pun intended!) the protein even more, fold in diced ham, drained tuna, or leftover chopped chicken before topping with cheese to bake. To flesh it out into a meal-in-one casserole, fold in frozen broccoli pieces, frozen peas, asparagus, or your favorite green vegetable.
Easy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
2 cups raw small-shaped pasta (elbows, shells, penne, farfalle, etc.)
Vegetable spray (I use butter-flavored)
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided use
Sweet Hungarian paprika
Optional: 1/4 cup bacon bits
Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat a 2-quart glass casserole dish with cooking spray.
Cook the pasta in heavily-salted boiling water until a bit firmer than al dente, about 10 minute, depending upon the shape you choose. It will cook more in the oven, so don’t over-cook it. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.
While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the milk, chicken broth, eggs, dry mustard, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt.
Pour milk mixture over pasta in the pot. Add 1-1/2 cups Cheddar cheese. Stir to combine. Pour into the prepared glass casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese (plus bacon bits, if using) and sprinkle lightly with sweet paprika.
Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
(Kids will love this even more if you make a hot dog octopus to put on top.)
Yield: 6 to 8 servings