Classic Baked Mac and Cheese

I love Pioneer Woman, nurse if you hadn’t noticed. A lot of her recipes, or variations of her recipes, are on this blog. I haven’t been able to see her Food Network show (my family doesn’t get the channel), but I got the chance to see it when I was babysitting one night. I thought they were great and enjoyed seeing her and her family.

Now it’s no secret that Pioneer Woman uses a ton of butter in all her recipes, but seeing her cook on TV made her realize how much. It’s insane! Making her recipes has changed what I consider a lot of butter. “This recipe only calls for 2 sticks of butter? It’s practically healthy!” But my grandparents have different views on what is a lot of butter. The other day I was spending the night at my grandparent’s house and was going to make Pioneer Woman pancakes in the morning (I didn’t have my camera with me! But I will make them again soon and share them with you. They were really good.) My grandpa was asking me what I needed him to get at the store, and I said I needed 4 tablespoons of butter. My grandpa said “Four tablespoons???” like that’s an insane amount of butter and the world was going to end, whereas my reaction was “Four tablespoons? Woah! That’s nothing! That has to be a Pioneer Woman record!” I made the pancakes in the morning and everyone ate them and loved them.

When my family was in Maine this summer, we were having chili and I was going to make cornbread. My grandparents were going to the store and my grandma asked me what I needed. I believe the recipe calls for 5 tablespoons of butter and my grandma said that that was just way too much butter. But I made the cornbread, and everyone said it was the best they’d ever had. (This would probably be funnier if you knew that my grandma eats butter plain. Like just butter. On nothing. Or she puts it on tortilla chips. Or anything that can hold butter).

For Thanksgiving, I made baked mac and cheese for a side dish. I’d never made the recipe before but it turned out pretty good! It’s a pretty basic mac and cheese, if I make it again I think I’d add some things like caramelized onions, spicy cheese, and bacon to it. Because those ingredients make everything better. But anyways, my grandpa loved the mac and cheese! He ate more of it than any of my other family members. My grandma loved it, too, and apparently it needed some more butter because she put some on the mac and cheese. Blah! And neither of them were bothered that it had a stick of butter in it. Ignorance is bliss :)

All this to say, I love my quirky wonderful grandparents. And I love baked mac and cheese. Make this for dinner one night soon, or for a side dish on Christmas!

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese


1 pound Cooked Pasta (whatever shape you like…shells, bowties, elbow)
½ cup Butter
½ cup Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
3-¾ cups Milk
¼ teaspoons Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2-½ cups Shredded Cheese Of Your Choice, divided (I used cheddar but anything would be great)
½ package (6.6 Oz. Package) Goldfish Crackers, Smashed


  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions- fill a pot with water for your pasta. Once water boils, pour the pasta in the water and start making your sauce.
  3. Melt the butter over low heat until melted.
  4. Raise the heat to medium-low and add in the flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly.
  5. Remove from heat and add the milk. Return to the stove and heat to boiling, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the nutmeg and Dijon mustard and stir.
  7. Once the sauce is thick and bubbly, add in 2 cups of cheese and stir. The sauce with now be very thick.
  8. Your pasta should be done before the sauce. Drain the pasta when it’s done, but don’t rinse it! Pour it back into the pot.
  9. Pour the cheese sauce into the pot and stir well.
  10. Pour the macaroni and cheese into an ungreased 9 x 13 glass dish and sprinkle some shredded cheese on the top.
  11. Pour half the package of Goldfish crackers into a ziplock bag. Use your hand or a rubber mallet to smash the crackers into crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top of your macaroni and cheese.
  12. Bake the macaroni and cheese for 20-25 minutes.


Source: Not a Leaf

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