Why I Love Jello and a Brief (Hopefully) Hiatus

There are many reasons why I love Jello. It’s pretty. It wiggles. It’s sweet. It’s completely unpretentious. It reminds me of my childhood, watching dad mix hot water with the contents of a Jello packet, putting it in the refrigerator, and waiting for it to firm up. But the main reason I like Jello today, is that after 6 days straight of the flu, with a temperature up to 103°F, I can actually eat it.

Dear readers of Simply Recipes, I regret to inform you that I have a wicked bad flu and am currently barely able to string words together to form a complete sentence, let alone do any cooking for this site. If you have made a comment on one of the recipes and it hasn’t posted yet, I apologize. There is quite a backlog, and will be for a little while longer. I think I’ll be better in a week, this is how long a flu like this usually takes to work its way through.

In the meantime, for those of you looking for the Amazon deals, there is the Amazon store for Simply Recipes with my favorite kitchenware recommendations with the most up-to-date prices.

Also, my super-hero father (super-hero because he made me Jello yesterday) has been researching baked macaroni and cheese recipes and hasn’t yet found anything he likes. If you have a favorite creamy, cheesy, baked mac cheese recipe (that does not contain Velveeta) would you please let us know?

Until I return to the land of the living, Elise

Follow on Pinterest


  1. Charlene

    So sorry to hear of your illness. Read your blog religiously – love it.
    My Macaroni and Cheese isn’t fancy, but everyone that tries it loves it. It was my favorite and my children’s favorite growing up. The recipe has been made in my family for four generations. Can’t get any easier, but the taste is so comforting.
    I have a large casserole dish that I use to make mine in. My youngest saw it on the counter recently and asked if I was making mac & cheese. I replied, “No, why?” She indicated that she saw “the dish” on the counter. I jokingly asked her if she wanted the dish when I die. She replied emphatically, “Yes!” Thus, our family Macaroni and Cheese will live on. Sounds too simple to have so much taste. Try it.

    1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked, drained
    46 oz can/bottle of tomato juice (good quality)
    1 lb Sharp Longhorn Cheddar cheese, grated
    salt and pepper
    In a 3-quart casserole dish layer macaroni, juice, salt, pepper, cheese. Be sure to cover the edges and corners with the tomato juice. Continue with the layers filling the casserole and finishing with the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted through and the top is beginning to brown. (Perhaps cook on a baking sheet. It sometimes boils over the tomato juice.)

  2. Claire

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Ms. Simply.
    Take care of yourself and don’t worry about us.
    Perhaps we could all submit comments on favorite “sick food” — that special stuff brought on a tray to our sick bed. My mother would make me “milk toast”. Once slice of toast kindly placed in a wide rimmed, shallow soup bowl, covered with a sprinkle of sugar, a pat of butter and scalded milk. The thing about “sick food” is that you only, I mean ONLY, eat it when you are sick.

  3. Donna A.

    I hope you feel better soon. I love Jello too. I usually mix fruit juice instead of water. And I us 1/2 C. less juice. So it makes it a little firmer.
    Donna A.

  4. Rita

    I’m afraid that Jello isn’t one of my favorite foods as of late. I’ve had to have several diagnostic tests where all I get is clear liquids for a couple of days prior to the procedure. This means jello, clear broth or juice with no pulp. So let’s just say I’ve had my fill of jello and the like.

    Drinking ginger ale while you have the flu is great for inflammation from your stomach and/or fevers. It’s a little more exciting than 7-up.

    Feel better Elise!!

    I’m saying a prayer for your speedy recovery!


  5. Emily

    Hope you feel better… I’ve been making Jello for the past couple of days, too.
    Both my preschoolers are sick and Jello, I find, is such a treat for us all.
    I hope you feel better soon~

  6. Molly

    Awww! I wish you a timely recovery! My google homepage will be lonely :)

    As for a mac and cheese recipe, this is one area that my inner foodie fails me. I throw shredded kraft cheddar in noodles…. and that’s IF I don’t use the boxed kind.

    But I make cake from scratch, so I have at least one ‘get out of culinary jail free’ card ;)

  7. deb

    I made this Mac and Cheese from the New York Times last month and fell in love. Best I’ve ever had. Plus, it’s insanely simple — no pre-boiling.

    Feel better soon!

    Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
    New York Times, 1/4/06

    Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

    2 tablespoons butter
    1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
    2 cups milk (not skim)
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    Pinch cayenne
    Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    1/2 pound elbow pasta, uncooked

    1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.

    2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together.* Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

    3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

    Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

    * Next time, I will puree everything without the milk, and then add it in. I think that will put a finer grind on the cottage cheese, so no lumps remain.

  8. Aimee

    Oh Elise, please feel better soon. Your blog is my favorite in the world!

    Homestyle Mac and Cheese

    One box pipette pasta
    1 egg
    2 cups milk
    3 cups sharp cheddar
    4 tbsp flour
    4 tbsp butter
    1 tsp ground mustard
    liberal amounts of salt and pepper
    Grated parmesan (the really good expensive kind!)

    Cook up the macaroni and pour into a 9 X 13 casserole dish.

    Over medium heat, melt the butter in a sauce pan.
    When the butter is sizzling, whisk in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly pour the milk into mixture, whisking constantly.
    Whisk in the egg, and then stir in most of the bag of cheddar. Stir the sauce constantly until the cheese is melted and you have a uniformly smooth liquid.

    Pour the mixture over the macaroni, stirring it in. Then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top, mixing cheddar with a fair amount of parmesan.

    Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit until brown and bubbly.

    I’ve also experimented with gruyere instead of cheddar, but its not as practical on the fly.

  9. Megan

    Sorry to hear you’re sick! I love your site and always come here when looking for a new recipe to try. My mac&cheese recipe is simple and I never really measure, but you’re welcome to try it and make improvements if you’d like!

    1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
    3 Tbs butter
    3 Tbs flour
    2-3 cups milk
    salt and pepper
    grated Colby Jack cheese (my personal favorite)
    bread crumbs

    Make a white sauce with melted butter, flour, and milk over medium heat. Flour and milk amounts always change with me, the point is to get a sauce that starts to thicken as it comes to a slow boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese by the handfull. I usually end up with about 2-3 handfulls. Place macaroni in a casserole dish, cover with sauce and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until golden on top an bubbly. I always gobble this one up!

  10. Linda

    HI Elise

    I enjoy your emails and recipes. I am sorry to hear you are sick with the flu.

    My favorite sick food is

    Homemade chicken stock cup soup.

    4 ounces homemade chicken stock to 2 to 4 ounces of water

    1 to 2 Thinly sliced mushrooms

    green onions thinly sliced if you like them
    or my favorite is to add a few leaves of cilantro

    salt and pepper to taste

    Put above in a large cup and microwave till mushrooms are tender


  11. Tami

    I do hope you feel better soon. I enjoy reading your site each and every day.

  12. Rock

    Sorry to hear that you’re down with a case of flu critters. Hope you’re up and at ‘em soon…

    Here’s a recipe that we return to, time after time, when we’re craving a good mac & cheese. I don’t know who the author is, but I’d hug them if ever I got the chance…

    Here it be:

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Mac & Cheese for Grown-Ups

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :1:00
    Categories : Cheese Pasta

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    1 pound macaroni
    1/4 cup butter
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 cups chicken stock
    1/4 cup sherry
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 cup Fontina cheese — shredded
    1/2 cup Gruyere cheese — shredded
    1/2 cup Emmenthaler cheese — shredded
    1/2 teaspoon thyme
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup bread crumbs
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese — grated

    Boil pasta according to package directions, undercooking slightly, and drain.

    Melt butter, stir in flour, and cook roux one minute. Gradually whisk in stock. Bring mixture to a boil and boil one to two minutes.

    Whisk in sherry and cream and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in fontina, Gruyere, and Emmenthaler cheese until the cheese melts. Season with thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.

    Pour into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  13. Charmin

    I hope you are feeling better soon! Super-hero dads are great – I have one, too.

    This macaroni and cheese recipe came from my husband’s side, and it is the hands-down favourite in this house, even though it isn’t creamy. It is very cheesy, something I have never experienced in a creamy recipe. My mom loves to come for supper when she finds out this is on the menu.


    I really enjoy your blog. The pictures are gorgeous, the food looks and sounds delicious, and I love that it is all made from scratch. I haven’t tried many recipes, but if you can believe it, I did try the lard (what a place to start!) and the results were great. I’ll definitely do it again, only maybe with less than 5 lbs of fat next time. It took ages for it all to cook down!

    One of these days I’ll get to the many others I have bookmarked.

  14. Nic

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well, Elise. I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery and have to say that I have a general idea of how you’re feeling right now, as I have the flu as well!
    I’ll send you some virtual chicken soup. =)

  15. Jennifer

    My favorite Macaroni and Cheese recipe comes from Martha Stewart. It’s absolutely delicious and people go wild over it when you feed it to them. My husband is in heaven if I make this and serve it to him with a piece of ham on the side.
    Here is the link to the recipe.

  16. kongkay

    Get a good rest and get well soon.

  17. Renee

    I am a fan of the Alton Brown baked macaroni and cheese found right on the food network site. I always leave the topping off though and leave out the bay leaf

    1/2 pound elbow macaroni
    3 tablespoons butter
    3 tablespoons flour
    1 tablespoon powdered mustard
    3 cups milk
    1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1 large egg
    12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    Fresh black pepper
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 cup panko bread crumbs

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
    While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
    Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
    Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
    Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.


  18. Katie

    The creamiest macaroni and cheese I’ve made comes from my celebrity crush Alton Brown. He bakes it in a round casserole dish to avoid “dry corners.” You could probably omit the panko topping if that sounds too rough for a sick throat.
    Baked Macaroni and Cheese
    By Alton Brown

    1/2 pound elbow macaroni
    3 tablespoons butter
    3 tablespoons flour
    1 tablespoon powdered mustard
    3 cups milk
    1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1 large egg
    12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    Fresh black pepper
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 cup panko bread crumbs

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

    While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

    Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

    Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

    Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.
    Feel better, Elise!

  19. Claudia

    Get well soon! My favorite because of the crunchy topping & sharp cheddar (it’s just not as tasty without sharp cheddar):
    7 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    4 cups milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
    1 pound elbow macaroni
    3 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
    1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
    1 cup fresh bread crumbs

    Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter a 3- to 4-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish.

    In a heavy saucepan melt 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat. Add flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking. Add mustard, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 2 minutes.

    In a kettle of salted boiling water cook macaroni until just al dente, about 7 minutes, and drain well. In a large bowl stir together macaroni, sauce, Cheddar, and 1 cup Parmesan and transfer to prepared dish.

    In a small bowl stir together bread crumbs and remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and sprinkle evenly over macaroni. Cut remaining 1 tablespoon butter into bits and scatter over topping.

    Bake macaroni in middle of oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

    Serves 6 to 8 as entrée or 8 to 10 as a side dish.
    February 1994

  20. ETHAN

    For a nice twist, try the alton brown recipe (above) but replace 1 cup milk with a can of diced tomatoes with green chillies.

    I often mix this with grilled chicken and top with sliced jalepenos as well.

  21. Housewren

    Dear Elise,

    Hope you have a speedy recovery!

    One of my favorite comfort foods when I’m under the weather is two shredded wheat rusks (the big kind) drizzled with olive oil, topped with a soft poached egg, drenched in piping hot goat’s milk and sprinkled with sea salt. …nourishing and easy on the tummy!

  22. Stephanie

    I hope you feel better soon.

    My favorite macaroni and cheese recipe is from a Land o’ Lakes cookbook. The key is adding cream cheese to the white sauce in addition to the cheddar.

    Cook 7 oz. elbow macaroni and drain. Melt 1/4 c butter, stir in 3 T flour–cook until smooth and bubbly. Add 2 c. milk, 8 oz cream cheese and 2 t Dijon mustard. continue cooking until slightly thickened. Stir in 8 oz. shredded extra-sharp cheddar and cooked macaroni. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 or until golden brown and cooked through.

    I make it in a 9×13 pan and don’t bother with breadcrumbs. If I have time, I’ll heat the milk up with a bay leaf and let it steep. The last time I made it, I chopped up a head of broccoli and mixed it in before pouring into the pan and it was so good that I think it might be my default mac n cheese from now on.

  23. Heath

    My favorite is from the book _American Home Cooking_ – easy and delicious!

    RECIPE: *Macaroni and Cheese

    SOURCE: American Home Cooking

    PREHEAT: 375

    MAKES: 6 -8 servings

    6 tbs butter

    3 tbs flour

    2 tbs minced onion
    (I always use extra)
    1 3/4 cup whole milk

    1/2 cup buttermilk (or add’l milk)

    hot pepper sauce
    salt to taste
    (use plenty)
    pinch nutmeg

    3/4 lb sharp cheddar, grated (~ 3 cups)

    3/4 lb elbow macaroni, cooked

    1 tbs butter

    1 cup fresh bread crumbs, packed


    Prepare bread crumbs: melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat and toast bread crumbs till golden. Reserve.

    Prepare sauce: melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir flour into butter gradually. When the flour is incorporated, mix in the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Raise heat to medium-high and gradually whisk in the milks.

    Bring to a boil and stir till lightly thickened, about 4 minutes.

    Reduce heat to medium-low and mix in hot pepper sauce, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and immediately mix in the cheese.

    Toss the macaroni with the cheese sauce and spoon into a buttered souffle dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for about 30 minutes.

  24. Sandy

    My mac & cheese recipe is an embelliahment of the one I grew up with- start a white sauce with 3 Tbs butter and 3 Tbs flour, saute till sizzling, then add a ‘good’ pinch of cayenne and another of freshly ground nutmeg. Slowly add about 2 or 3 cups milk. Lower heat and stir until thickened. Stir in about 4 cups of grated cheese, I use whatever odd bits are left in the refrigerator mixed with copious amounts of New York State sharp cheddar. Save some back for the topping.

    Meanwhile cook a pound of elbow macaroni in lots of boiling water until al dente, drain well, and add back into the cheese mixture. This is the point that my kids want to eat it- they don’t like it baked but I do! Stir around and put into any old buttered baking pan. Add reserved cheese to the top, and then sprinkle on a nice layer of breadcrumbs (Panko would be great, but I use leftover baquettes mangled in the food processor.) Cook at about 350 until it gets crusty. Close the blinds and take the phone off the hook and eat in complete privacy. With ketchup (homemade if you’re inclined). Serves 1.

  25. Ellen

    I agree with the many posting about making a white sauce to which you add sharp cheddar cheese and season to your liking. I make 5 cups of white sauce to 3 cups of uncooked macaroni (boil it before combining) and then bake in a breadcrumb-topped casserole.

    Here is an important variation – saute chopped onion in the butter before adding the flour and milk. This imparts a delicate flavor the blends magnificently with the cheddar.

  26. billie/ca

    Get well, Elise. I don’t have a food blog, but I love reading yours. I do love to cook and collect recipes — maybe one day I’ll be writing my own. Thank you for the all the inspiration.

  27. Chelsea

    The basic Betty Crocker version is fantastic, and translates well to gluten-free. It’s in the big red cookbook. Feel better!!!

  28. Christine

    You seem to have collected many recipes for mac n cheese from your well wishers already, so I will just tell you to get plenty of rest and get well soon. It sounds like you’re in such good fatherly hands, I know you must already be on the road to recovery.

  29. Erwin

    Get better soon, Elise! Thanks for all the great recipies over the years!

  30. Jesse Gardner

    We’ll let it slide, but only because you used ‘wicked’ for emphasis.

  31. Ceylonna

    When I was sick as a child my mom used to serve me warm jello. Basically, a mug full of jello when it was cool enough to easily drink. Usually by that time it has thickened to a heavy syrup so in addition to being warm and easy on the stomach, it gently coats a sore throat.

  32. James

    Sorry to hear of your flu i hope you get better soon, your blog is fantastic i look forward to your next post.

  33. Don Ray

    I really hope you are back on your feet and feeling chipper very soon. I never miss stopping in and seeing what new culinary adventure awaits me.

  34. Nirah

    Wish you a speedy recovery, Elise!! :)
    *hands you a hot cup of cocoa*

  35. farmgirl

    Sending healing thoughts your way, Elise! Oh, and by the way, you were wrong about your sickbed capabilities. Not only did you string together a few words into sentences about Jello, but you did it, as always, with style and charm! : )

  36. Aaron

    Please get well soon, I love your site and visit it often. I’ve made a bunch of new dishes and my wife loves the break it gives her when I find something new and exciting on your page.

    Best wishes and I hope you feel better very soon.

  37. Paul

    Hey Elise, sorry to hear you’re sick! I’ve enjoyed so many recipes from your site, I’m psyched for the perfect opportunity to share one with you.

    This recipe is an attempt by my mother to recreate a wonderful dinner we had at Victory in Portsmouth, NH. It’s Lobster Mac & Cheese. She based it on a recipe she had for Lobster Thermador and it is just exquisite.

    The key to this recipe is the amount of sauce and macaroni you need for the number of people to be served. You can have lots of lobster in it or not that much. These amounts are to steam 3 2lb lobsters and give you 2-3 cups of sauce which works for about ½ pound of macaroni. If you are cooking more lobsters you will need more liquid in the pot. You can boil it down and only use some for the sauce, or make more sauce, or whatever.

    3 2lb Lobsters
    ½lb macaroni
    3 cups dry white wine
    1 onion, carrot, stalk celery – thinly sliced
    6 parsley sprigs
    1 bay leaf
    ¼ tsp dried thyme
    6 peppercorns
    1 tbls tarragon
    ½ lb. Baby Bella Mushrooms, or some other nice mushroom, sliced
    10 tbls butter
    1 tsp lemon juice
    6 tbls flour
    Gruyere cheese, shredded, to taste
    1 tbls dry mustard
    2 egg yolks
    8 oz whipping cream
    ¼ tsp kosher salt
    pinch cayenne

    1) Combine wine, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, tarragon, and the bay leaf in a large stockpot or lobster pot and steam the lobsters.

    2) Stew mushrooms for 10 minutes in 1tbls butter, lemon juice, and salt while cooking macaroni

    3) Take out lobsters and mushrooms. Add mushroom juice to lobster liquid and boil down to 2¼ cups. Strain into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

    4) In second saucepan, combine 5 tbls butter, the flour and cook for 2 minutes without browning. Beat in lobster/mushroom liquid slowly. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Add gruyere (as much as is needed to make the sauce cheesy). Set aside, film top with 1 tbls whipping cream.

    5) Mix mustard, egg yolks, ½ cup whipping cream, and cayenne. Add sieved lobster coral and tomale if desired. Beat in the above sauce by driblets. Bring to a boil and boil slowly for 2 minutes. Thin with 4-6 tbls whipping cream.

    6) Crack out lobster meat and cut into cubes. Sauté meat in 4 tbls butter for about 5 minutes.

    7) Combine macaroni, lobster, and sauce in baking dish. Add grated gruyere on top. Bake until warm enough and top cheese is melted.

    Hope you enjoy it and that you get better soon!

  38. Rose

    I hope you feel better soon! Take it easy and don’t worry about us!

    As for baked mac n’ cheese – I just start with a bechamel and add American (it melts so well) and some kind of Swiss cheese – Emmenthaler or Gruyere if I have. My “secret” ingredient, though, is nutmeg. It seems to bring something out in the cheeses that salt n’ pepper on their own can’t.

  39. robert

    Feel better, Elise! We’ll be thinking about you.

  40. Phil Boudrot

    Quick, Elise!!! Your recipe for chicken soup!!!

  41. The Anonymous Mama

    Sorry to hear you’re sick! I am just coming off the same flu myself. 103 degrees and all. Alas, no Jello. Darnit.

  42. Rich

    The best mac and cheese I’ve ever had is Alton Brown’s from his show “Good Eats”. You can find it on the Food Network website (recipe title is “Baked Macaroni and Cheese”). It’s a simple preparation, but has a few flavor tricks like bay leaf and powdered mustard. And he uses an egg for stability so it sets up really nicely.

  43. Talia

    This one is great. I make it often. it’s simple, and perhaps just what you are looking for.


  44. Dave

    Hope you feel better. Here is my personal recipe for a great baked mac & cheese.

    Mac & Cheese alla Italiana

    1lb of egg noodles (uncooked)
    Alfredo sauce (below)
    1 cup of fontina cheese
    1 cup of ricotta cheese
    1/2 cup of mozzarella
    1 tsp of cayene
    1/2 lb. of pancetta
    Bread crumbs

    Pre-heat oven to 350°

    Start off making an alfredo sauce. 1 stick of butter melted over a low heat. Once melted, slowly add 2 cups of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese. Whisk in until smooth. Add 2 cups of heavy cream, slowly, incorporating with the cheese and butter mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Cook your noodles to about half way done (following package instructions). While doing so take your 1/2 lb of pancetta, dice into small cubes, and crisp in extra virgin olive oil on a medium-high heat.

    Drain the pasta, and in that pot, combine the pancetta, alfredo sauce and pasta, putting in enough alfredo sauce to coat the noodles and have a little bit left over.

    Add to this mix your ricotta, fontina and mozzarella, stirring well to make sure it is all incorporated. (At this step you can also add some peas for color, flavor and to get your kids to eat their peas!) Toss in the cayene (if desired) and transfer to your baking dish. You can add some more of the alfredo sauce if it looks a little dry at this point, but it should be fine. Then add enough bread crumbs to the top to cover it well. Put in your 350° oven for 10-15 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes and enjoy.

    Serves 4-6

  45. stef

    I’m sorry you are not feeling good, I hope you recover soon…rest up and eat lots of yummy jello. My favorite flavor is pineapple.

    Our favorite mac and cheese recipe from scratch is Alton Brown’s mac and cheese (baked) recipe. he uses panko crumbs from the top crust. And the mac and cheese is light yet creamy and flavorful. Always a hit when we make it.

  46. Riian

    Our absolute favorite recipe is from Martha Stewart. It came with our glass cake pan and it is a real winner!!! The secret is in the 4 or so pounds of cheese required to make this.

    Macaroni and Cheese

    Serves 12
    You can easily divide this recipe in half: Use a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish.

    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish

    6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces

    5 1/2 cups milk

    1/2 cup all-purpose flour

    2 teaspoons salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

    4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese(about 18 ounces)

    2 cups grated Gruyère cheese(about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)

    1 pound elbow macaroni

    1. Heat oven to 375°. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.

    2. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.

    3. While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

    4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.

    5. Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce

    6. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

  47. Paul Shipman

    Elise, I have nothing to share but a love of Jello, a love of Mac & Cheese (great ideas here!), and best wishes for your speedy recovery.

    You’ve given us plenty of great favorites to go back and revisit while you rest up.


  48. Lisa Cesar

    Hi Elise,

    I’m sorry to hear you are sick.

    This is my first time blogging so please forgive my faux pas as I learn the rules.

    My boyfriend loves homemade mac and cheese; about 2 years ago I went in search of the perfect recipe and I think I found it at: http://southernfood.about.com/od/blackeyedpeas/r/bl30605l.htm
    It has loads of seasonings and as a result some bite. It is also easy, creamy, and baked. We actually just made it last night. Some of my adjustments are as follows to cut down on sodium, fat, and calories:
    1. decrease the butter in the sauce to 3 tbps
    2. decrease the salt to 1/2 teaspoon
    3. omit the breadcrumbs and extra 2 tbps butter
    4. exchange the grated onion, for a chopped red onion- I like the color better, chopping is faster than grating, and we love onions.
    5. If I have broccoli in the freezer or fridge, I add it to the bottom of the dish before pouring in the noodles and sauce. Fresh broccoli is better if you start cooking it on the stove, but frozen works beautifully if you pull the package from the freezer prior to starting the sauce and noodles. No adjustments to time or temperature needed.

    Feel better soon!

    Lisa C.

  49. Kalyn

    Elise, I’m happy to see that you’re resting and getting better and just delighted to see how many fans are leaving you kind, health-promoting good wishes. Looking forward to the mac-n-cheese, but only when you’re feeling much better.

    BTW, my mom also gave us milk toast when we were sick, but I never really liked it.

  50. Persephone

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    My favorite mac and cheese recipe is a stovetop version from Anna Thomas’s Vegetarian Epicure, but it might adapt well to baking (with some buttered breadcrumbs on top). I usually make a roux with the butter and flour, but I give Thomas’s method below.

    5 oz. finely cubed Gruyere
    5 oz. finely cubed Fontina
    1 3/4 cups finely grated Parmesan
    5 oz. coarsely grated Mozzarella
    1 1/2 tbs. flour
    1/4 cup butter
    1 cup milk or light cream
    1 lb. macaroni, cooked al dente.

    Toss the Gruyere, Fontina and Parmesan with the flour. Heat the milk and butter in a large saucepan until butter is melted. Stir in the three combined cheeses, bit by bit, and continue stirring gently until you have a smooth sauce.

    Pour the cheese sauce onto the hot pasta, and stir quickly. Add the mozzarella at the last instant, and serve.

  51. Pixel

    I hope you feel better Elise! I will miss your updates on my google homepage in the meantime. :)

  52. Sook

    Feel better Elise. I rely on this blog!

  53. Susannah

    My firend/co-worker and I log onto our computers every morning and see what you have for us.Thank you for all the wonderful recipes! She doesn’t eat anything that come from the ocean but I must be a mermaid, I much rather have sea food then anything else in the world. I’m looking forward to the Spicy Crab Cakes this week end. I hope you get back on your feet soon, So us foodies can start drooling again.
    Susannah and Jennifer

  54. Becca C.

    Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well…Here’s my macaroni recipe. I recently wrote it up for my boyfriend (who never cooks) because he wanted to make it for his family at Thanksgiving.


    1 lb. Elbow Macaroni or Cavatappi
    6 Tbsp. Butter + 1 to butter casserole dish
    6 cups Milk
    6 Tbsp. Flour
    6 cups grated Cheese (I like to use 4 cups sharp white cheddar and 2 cups fresh mozzarella, but whatever you have is fine)
    1 Tsp. Salt
    ½ Tsp. Black Pepper
    ½ Tsp. Red Pepper (or to taste)

    Preheat oven to 350

    Butter a large casserole dish; set aside.

    Cook the pasta in 1 gallon of salted boiling water for 7 – 8 min. Pasta should be slightly undercooked. Strain and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

    Make the Rue:
    In a medium sauce pan warm milk over low heat …(don’t let it boil. It just needs to be warm. You could also warm it in the microwave.) Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt butter over medium high heat. When the butter is completely melted and begins to froth add the flour whisking constantly until the flour changes in color slightly and begins to smell nutty and delicious. (About 3 – 4 min.)

    Make the Béchamel:
    Begin adding warm milk about 1 cup at a time still whisking constantly to avoid lumps. When all the milk is added reduce heat to medium and continue to whisk until mixture has thickened. (About 7-10 min.)

    Pull it all together:
    When the béchamel is thick and ready to go reduce heat to low, add salt, pepper, and 4 cups of cheese. Stir until all the cheese is melted and remove from the heat. Add the noodles; mix it all together; and pour it into the buttered casserole dish. Top with the remaining 2 cups of cheese.

    Bake for 30 – 45 min until golden brown and bubbly. Let casserole rest for at least 10 min. before serving.

  55. jonathan

    Elise – Get well soon. At the very least, your illness has reminded me to drop by the clinic for my annual flu vaccination.

    Right after I go the store to get the stuff to make some mac n’ cheese ;-)

  56. Phil

    Get well soon, Elise…

  57. MattieBoh

    My favorite is the Horn & Hardart recipe – it used to be a chain of automats in the New York and Philly area

    1 1/2 tablespoons butter

    2 tablespoons flour

    11/2 cups milk

    2 tablespoons light cream (see note)

    1 packed cup shredded cheddar cheese

    1/4 cup crushed tomatoes

    1/2 teaspoon sugar

    Dash cayenne pepper (I used several dashes)

    Dash white pepper

    1/2 pound small elbow macaroni, cooked until barely done

    1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, blend in flour and cook about 2 minutes.

    2. Beat in the milk, then the cream and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Remove from heat.

    3. Stir in the cheese until melted, then the crushed tomatoes, sugar and two peppers.

    4. Stir in the macaroni.

    5. Pour into a shallow, buttered baking dish and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven until the surface browns, 25 to 30 minutes.

    NOTE: This recipe must have been broken down from one that made an enormous quantity, which explains the small amount of light cream. If you don’t want to purchase a half-pint container of light cream just for two tablespoons, simply add two tablespoons more milk. You’ll never know the difference. I also think it needs a little salt, which is not called for in the recipe.

    Get well soon….

  58. Gary in Massena

    Get well soon!

    Chicken soup is your friend also.


  59. Nicki

    My favorite mac and cheese dish has chicken in it, so if you like that sort of thing, you may like this: (my family loved it)

    Chicken Macaroni Casserole
    (modified from one I found on dianaskitchen.com)


    1 1/4 cups uncooked macaroni
    2 cups cooked cubed chicken
    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cheddar cheese soup
    1/2 cup milk
    1 tablespoon dried parsley or use 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
    3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
    Garlic, salt and pepper to taste (optional)


    Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse and drain. Combine macaroni with remaining ingredients, reserving enough cheese to sprinkle on top. Put in a greased 2-quart casserole and bake for about 20 minutes at 400°.

    Serves 4.

  60. Danielle

    I am sorry that you are sick. I hope that you get better soon. I really enjoy reading all your recipies, I am just learning a new way to cook with out salt. Once again I really hope that you get feeling better.

  61. Tom Bolick

    So sorry to hear you are ill. My prayers are with you for a speedy recovery.

    As for the mac & cheese… Dare I commit heresy and give a shout out for the blue box? A couple of extra handfuls of shredded sharp cheddar and my kids can’t get enough. I’ll spend my gourmet points on other things. (Tho the tomato juice recipe has really piqued my curiosity.)

  62. Maren

    The following macaroni and cheese recipe is my first and only (it was so good I didn’t want to try anything else) attempt at homemade macaroni and cheese. It is pretty fuss-free but definitely delicious. Because it is an overnight recipe, I can make it the day before when I know I have a busy day and it is ready to go in the oven within five minutes the next day. Hope you enjoy.

    Overnight Macaroni and Cheese

    8 oz elbow macaroni (I use a high-quality durum semolina pasta, it absorbs the liquid better)
    1 1/4 cup milk
    2 cups heavy cream
    1 cup grated Gruyere or Emmanthaler cheese
    Freshly ground pepper

    Day before:
    Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add macaroni and cook for 4 minutes or until al dente. Drain and cool under cold water. Combine milk, cream, and 1/2 cup of the cheese in a large bowl. Toss in pasta and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste, cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
    Day of:
    Bring macaroni mixture to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pasta in 2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden and crusty.

    Get well soon.

  63. JHH

    I’d be careful with that New York Times recipe someone (above) recommended. Slate magazine posted a scathing critique of it earlier this year:

    “Crusty Macaroni and Cheese: What’s Wrong with the NYT’s Weirdly Popular Recipe,” by Sara Dickerman (Jan 2006)


    Get well soon!

  64. Karen R

    My comfort mac&cheese is from my mom. She never bakes it, but I’ve done it before with throwing breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on top. I also love the addition of ham to mine. My mom has always mde it in a large frying pan. No measurements, unforunetly.

    Melt butter, toss in flour, and get it to a nice bubbly paste. Alternate handfuls of white cheddar cheese and drizzles of milk, until you have the amount and consistency you want. Salt and white pepper (so you won’t see the specks) to taste. Pour into a pot with cooked, drained elbow macaroni.

    (This cheese sauce also works great with grilled ham and cauliflower, or on top of toasted, buttered english muffins with ham and a poached egg.)

    Another receipe is from an old roommate, very easy and feeds a crowd. In a large (roasting) pan, empty a package of macaroni. Add in a jar of salsa (add some water if there’s not much liquid), and a large brick of cheese of choice (no cutting or shredding required). Bake at around 350 for about 30-60 min, then give it a good stir and serve. The cheese will be completely melted, and the pasta infused with all the juices from the salsa.

    I know your dad loves fiddling with recipes, so hopefully these will add to his ideas. Get well soon!

  65. Elise

    Wow. What a treasure trove of great mac cheese recipes, thank you everyone! I’ve printed them out for my dad. And thank you for your kind wishes. I am beginning to feel better, finally. More to come on the site soon. :-)

  66. Cookie

    Back 30 years when we were a young, struggling family, I discovered a mac&cheese dish we loved. Made by a little old lady for our church pot lucks, her version had eggs in it, she said, but the rest was just “a little of this and that.” So I worked up my own recipe. Often I’d throw in any other cheese I had that was near the end of its lifetime, including cream cheese. I stretched the cheddar back then…now I would use more than a half pound, and I’d add dijon mustard (because I add it to nearly everything savory that I make!) and more onion. Feel better, Elise.

    Macaroni and Cheese

    1 lb ziti or rotini (elbows bored me then)
    1/3 c chopped onion
    1/4 c butter or margarine
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 c cottage cheese
    1/2 lb cheddar, cut into 1/2“ cubes (or more)
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 tsp dried basil
    1 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
    1 c milk
    1/4 c butter, melted, mixed with 1/2 c dried bread crumbs

    Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish, deep or shallow.
    Cook macaroni, rinse and drain.
    Cook onion in butter until very soft. Let cool.
    In large bowl, mix eggs, cheeses, seasonings and milk. Add cooked onion and butter, then stir in macaroni. Dump into baking dish.
    Bake 15 minutes, stir contents and top with buttered crumbs, then finish cooking for another half hour, until cooked through. (A shallow dish will probably cook a bit faster.)

  67. Michael

    My absolute all-time favorite mac & cheese recipe comes from an issue of Cook’s Illustrated, but I have no idea which (it was a free sample issue that was mailed to me). Here goes:

    Baked Four-Cheese and Pasta Casserole

    Bread crumb topping
    3-4 slices white sandwich bread w/ crusts, torn into quarters
    1/4 cup (1/2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/8 tsp ground black pepper

    Pasta and cheese
    4 oz Italian Fontina, shredded (~1 c)
    3 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled (~3/4 c)
    1/2 c grated Pecorino Romano (1 oz)
    1/4 c grated Parmesan (1/2 oz)
    1 lb penne
    1 tbsp plus 1/4 tsp salt
    2 tsp unsalted butter
    2 tsp all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 c heavy cream (yeah, not the healthiest, but wow it’s good)
    1/4 tsp ground black pepper

    Pulse bread in food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs, transfer to small bowl and stir in rest of Bread crumb topping ingredients

    Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 500 degrees.

    Boil water and 1 tbsp salt; cook pasta to very al dente (opaque and slightly underdone at very center).

    While water is boiling, combine cheeses in large bowl and set aside.

    Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat and then whisk flour into butter, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in cream, then increase heat to medium. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmmer 1 minute to cook flour. Stir in remaining 1/4 tsp salt and pepper and then cover cream mixture to keep hot. Set aside.

    When pasta is very al dente, drain leaving pasta slightly wet. Add to bowl with cheeses and then immediately pour cream mixture over the pasta and cover bowl with foil or large plate. Let stand 3 minutes. Then uncover bowl and stir until thoroughly combined, making sure to scrape cheeses off bottom.

    Transfer pasta to 13×9 baking dish and top with bread crumbs, pressing down lightly. Bake until topping is golden, about 7 minutes.

    Serves 4-6 as main course or 6-8 as side dish.


  68. Resa

    Hope you feel better soon. I found your site while looking for apple pie recipes over Thanksgiving and I’ve added your to my Google page. I look forward to your postings each day.
    A great big bowl of homemade jewish-mother chicken soup will fix you right up.

  69. Karen

    My mac and cheese recipe is the one my grandmother made. I have it committed to memory because it’s the first thing i learned to make.

    4 T butter
    4 T flour
    2 cups milk
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp white pepper
    8 oz or more extra sharp cheddar, cubed
    4 oz sharp cheddar, grated

    3 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni–cook this while making the sauce

    Make a white sauce–melt the butter, whisk in the flour and salt and pepper, and cook till smooth and bubbling. Slowly add the milk, cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly and adding the cubed cheese, until cheese is melted into the sauce and sauce is thick and bubbly. Mix with the cooked, drained macaroni. Layer this with the grated cheese (just a layer of sauced pasta, then the grated cheese, then the pasta, a bit more cheese if you have it). Bake at 350 for 30 degrees.

  70. Josh M (St. Paul, MN)

    This is a favorite baked Mac and Cheese recipe in my house. My wife actually prefers it to my familie’s stove top recipe that I grew up with. I originally found this recipe in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:


    Serves 6 to 8.
    • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
    • 1 c. cottage cheese (not low-fat)
    • 2 c. milk (not skim)
    • 1 tsp. dry mustard
    • Pinch cayenne
    • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    •1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 lb. sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated, divided
    • 1/2 lb. uncooked elbow pasta


    Heat oven to 375 degrees and position rack in upper third of oven. Butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

    Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

    Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

  71. Lowry

    I usually make macaroni and cheese when the contents of my cheese drawer get out of hand. My recipe goes something like this:

    Boil some (about half a standard sized box)elbow macaroni until al dente.

    Melt 2 T butter in medium heavy pan.
    Add 2 T flour, mix to paste.
    Turn heat to low.
    SLOWLY add 1 1/2 cups of milk, stirring until smooth between each addition. Add more slowly at beginning of additions.
    Once all milk is added, heat until mixture is bubbling, then add grated contents of cheese drawer.
    Add some cream cheese, about half a block if you have it, whatever you have if you have less.

    Mix sauce with drained noodles, and pour into casserole dish. Top with wheat germ or breadcrumbs or crushed non-sugared cereal flakes or whatever you have handy.

    Bake about 20 minutes.


  72. Overwhelmed!

    I hope you’re feeling better soon. I’ve loved skimming through all the Mac & Cheese recipes in your comments section. :)

  73. bethany thornton

    I made a shockingly good chicken noodle stew/soup? last night. It was perfect for that flu/sick feeling. It even made my two year old all cuddly!

    4 chicken thighs deboned and cut into 1/2 cubes
    1/2 stick of butter
    Diced yellow squash (about 1.5 cups)
    Diced portabello mushrooms (about 1.5 cups)
    avacado (firm)
    1 can of diced tomatoes
    1/4 cup of diced green chile’s
    one half of a can of Black beans
    3 cups of bow tie pasta

    Brown chicken in a well buttered pan. In a seperate pan melt butter and add mushrooms and squash, cook until tender. Add 5 cups of water to chicken, or add chicken stock. I have a few herbs that I add, but it is a home made mix that my mom gave me (she grew them in her garden), I think it has thyme, and rosemary and a couple other things, you could add your favorite savory herbs about a tablespoon or so to taste. Pour in the tomatoes, and chile’s, then mix in the mushrooms and squash. add the pasta and stir well. Boil until the pasta is cooked al dente, and add the beans and avacados. The pasta and beans should be tender and this is great with a loaf of warm Italian bread sticks, or a baguette.

    Also, I found a great all natural anti-viral called Sambucol, it kicked my flu’s butt, everyone in the office was out for at least a week, but I was only out for 2 days. I hope you get well soon!

  74. Cris

    Elise, you poor thing! I wish I could bring you a pot of this soup but here is a poor second, the recipe. Several years ago, I had the flu and a friend brought me a pot of this miracle cure:

    To a pot of chicken stock add lots of chopped kale, cubed potatoes, chopped onions and sliced spicy sausage. Season to taste and red cayenne pepper will help clear out the sinuses!

    Sounds simple but that is the beauty of it -you can actually make it while sick, which I have when living alone in Boston. Other than Kosher Chicken soup from a deli, this is the only thing I can eat when sick… 6 weeks in a hospital at 17 yrs old killed jello for me forever :-(

    I hope you feel better soon!

  75. Suhaimi

    Get well soon.

    Funny, I really thought you should’ve posted a chicken soup recipe instead of Jello.

    No jello for me this week, maybe frozen grapes will do.

  76. Josh Baugher


    Here’s a second endorsement for the NYTimes recipe that Deb posted. No pre-boiling, easy to make. It tastes absolutely wonderful!

    I first read about it on the Wednesday Chef blog last January:

    Hope you feel better soon!

  77. Linda


    I am so sorry you got the flu. I hope you feel better soon. One Perk I think is look at all the great recipes we have now for mac and cheese. Maybe everyone would like to post their chicken soup recipe for Elise too? Give Elise a little help with the postings?


  78. Nicole

    Goodness!!! I do hope you have started the recovery process, we miss your almost daily recipes… Here is our favorite Mac and Cheese recipe. I had a dear friend of ours make this dish for our family on our last trip up to Alaska. It came as a great surprise, the grown up flavors of the Fontina and Gorgonzola were a pleasant and welcomed change. (I had three servings of this side dish, I am a mac and cheese fanatic, there is this wonderful restaurant called The Icon Grill in DT Seattle that has a FABU Mac and Cheese, this recipe is the closest I can get to that heavenly dish.) She surprised me even further by mailing the recipes of the dinner and a quick hello. What a great friend! Well, this recipe has made our bi-weekly rotation of side dishes, I do hope your dad gives this recipe a shot. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. All our best from the Honeycutt household.

    Nicole, Steve and Elliott


    Makes 4–6 main-course servings or 6–8 side-dish servings.

    3-4 slices white sandwich bread with crusts, torn into quarters
    1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

    4 ounces Italian Fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
    3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
    1/2 cup (1 ounce) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
    1 pound penne
    1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons unsalted butter
    2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    1. FOR THE TOPPING: Pulse bread in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about ten 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Transfer to small bowl; stir in Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Set mixture aside.

    2. FOR THE PASTA: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.
    BRING 4 QUARTS WATER to rolling boil in stockpot.

    3. COMBINE CHEESES in large bowl; set aside.

    4. ADD PASTA and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water; stir to separate pasta.

    5. WHILE PASTA IS COOKING, melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat.
    WHISK FLOUR into butter until no lumps remain, about 30 seconds.
    GRADUALLY WHISK IN CREAM, increase heat to medium, and bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
    REDUCE HEAT to medium-low and simmer 1 minute to ensure that flour cooks.
    STIR IN REMAINING 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
    COVER CREAM MIXTURE to keep hot and set aside.

    6. WHEN PASTA IS VERY AL DENTE (when bitten into, pasta should be opaque and slightly underdone at very center), drain for about 5 seconds, leaving pasta slightly wet.
    ADD PASTA TO BOWL WITH CHEESES. Immediately pour cream mixture over, then cover bowl with foil or large plate and let stand 3 minutes.
    UNCOVER BOWL AND STIR with rubber spatula, scraping bottom of bowl, until cheeses are melted and mixture is thoroughly combined.

    7. TRANSFER PASTA to 13 by 9-inch baking dish, then sprinkle evenly with reserved bread crumbs, pressing down lightly.

    8. BAKE UNTIL topping is golden brown, about 7 minutes. Serve immediately.

    Source: Cook’s Illustrated, January 2003.

  79. Alexis

    Here is the link to the original NY Times article on mac and cheese from last January. I also tried the creamy mac and cheese recipe and thought it was quite good, but the cottage cheese added a somewhat grainy texture that I wasn’t a big fan of. I’m planning to make this recipe again, but would try either substituting ricotta for cottage cheese or using a bit (not too much!) of a bechamel base instead.


  80. Dawn

    I’m sorry you are feeling so poorly. Here is my version of Mac & Cheese. It is comfort food so should remain uncomplicated by a lot of fussiness.

    Serves 4

    10 ounces of elbows, cooked for 2 minutes in boiling water

    4 -5 ounces of shredded cheese (any variety that strikes your fancy or you have on hand) Fontina, sharp cheddar, monterey jack, 2% sharp cheddar, parmesan, asiago (you get the idea)

    1 egg beaten in a 2 cup measuring cup

    add milk (I use 1%)to fill the cup to 2 cups

    salt & pepper to taste

    1 tablespoon butter

    Cook the macaroni and drain. Add butter and stir to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Butter a 3 quart casserole. Add a layer of macaroni to the bottom of the dish; sprinkle with a layer of cheese and repeat twice. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the top and add more milk just until it covers the outer edge of the last layer. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours, until bubbly and browned on top. Serve with frozen green peas.

    Hope you feel well soon!!

  81. shel

    Elise — hope you are feeling better!

    True comfort food! This recipe is so decadent it has become a “once-a-year” treat for our household. The topping is what makes this THE best (and most requested) mac & cheese I’ve ever made!

    From Epicurious:


    3 1/4 cups large elbow macaroni (about 11 ounces)
    12 bacon slices, chopped
    3 cups fresh coarse breadcrumbs made from French bread (about 4 ounces)
    1 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
    1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

    2 garlic cloves, minced
    3 tablespoons all purpose flour
    6 cups whole milk
    6 large egg yolks
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    3 1/2 cups (packed) grated Fontina cheese (about 14 ounces)
    1 1/4 cups frozen peas

    Preheat oven to 350°F Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cook macaroni in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse and drain again.

    Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon and 1/4 cup pan drippings to large bowl. Add breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup parsley to bacon; toss to coat.

    Add minced garlic to remaining pan drippings in pot and sauté over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in whole milk, then egg yolks, salt and pepper. Cook until mixture thickens, whisking constantly, about 12 minutes. Add 2 cups Fontina cheese and remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese; whisk until cheeses melt. Remove from heat. Mix in peas, macaroni and remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups Fontina. Transfer macaroni mixture to prepared dish. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover macaroni and breadcrumb mixtures separately and refrigerate. Before continuing, bake refrigerated macaroni mixture, covered, at 350°F until just heated through, about 30 minutes.)

    Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over macaroni mixture. Bake just until topping is golden, about 15 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

    Makes 10 servings.

    Bon Appétit
    January 2000

    Epicurious.com © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.

  82. Gwen

    This is the one recipe I keep in a file on my desktop so I can access it from anywhere. It’s my friend Emily’s mother’s recipe, and it’s been my favorite version for years. The cottage cheese really is a great addition, too.

    Emily Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese
    2 Tablespoons butter, melt in a large-ish pan over medium-low heat until it stops bubbling
    2 Tablespoons flour, mix in well and let cook until it’s golden
    1 to 1 1/2 cup milk, mix in a bit at a time then cook, stirring until it’s thickened (about 5 minutes)
    4 to 6 oz grated sharp chedder cheese, mix in until it’s all melted
    1/3 cup spaghetti sauce, mix in at the end

    Put over cooked noodles (this makes enough sauce for about 2/3 of a pound of noodles). My mom bakes it at 350 for about 45 minutes at this point, but I don’t. Depends on if you want it crusty or creamy. Also depends on how hungry you are for mac and cheese!

    Serve with cottage cheese (sounds weird but everyone who’d tried it has been converted) and cooked frozen peas. My favorite comfort meal!

  83. Sonia

    Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. The flu can really give you whipping! Hoping your recovery is swift and painless……..

  84. Rachelle Woods

    Ok, so I realize that you have already received a plethora of mac and cheese recipes, however, I encourage you to indulge me on this one. I am forwarding a recipe for a lighter yet equally delicious baked mac & cheese recipe. This one is from Ellie Krieger on the Food Network and I have made it several times and loved it every time. I hope you do as well. Enjoy! (I have also included the nutritional info so that you can make a comparison)

    Ellie Krieger’s (Healthy) Baked Mac & Cheese

    Cooking spray
    1 pound elbow macaroni
    2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
    2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
    4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
    2 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
    1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon powdered mustard
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
    1 teaspoon olive oil

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

    Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

    Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

    Nutrition Information
    Nutritional Analysis per Serving Calories: 392
    Total Fat: 11 grams Saturated Fat: 2 grams
    Protein: 18 grams Carbohydrates: 56 grams
    Fiber: 3.5 grams

  85. Sheila King

    Here is a recipe from the Everyday Italian show with Giada De Laurentis


    Macaroni and Cheese

    It actually uses Egg Noodles instead of elbow macaroni. And heavy cream, fontina cheese, mozzarella and parmesan. It isn’t your usual mac and cheese, but it is very very yummy. Got rave reviews from my family and also from just about everyone on the Food TV web site.

    I’m serving it for Christmas Dinner. It was my first time making mac and cheese not from a box, and it was quite easy and quick.

  86. Barb

    “The Perfect Recipe” by Pam Anderson has a Mac & Cheese chapter (and recipe) that at the very least you would find an interesting read. She examines differences with white sauce, with or without breadcrumbs, etc.
    If you want to try a good purchased one, the Diner-style mac & cheese at Trader Joes seriously rocks.

  87. Barb

    Oh, I forgot to mention this–have you seen the recipe for Jello Fruit? I posted it on my blog here. I got it off Not Martha.

  88. dave

    Elise, so sorry to hear you have the flu. Please take care and get well soon — and not just because I love your blog!

    My favorite Mac & Cheese recipe is from “Soul Food Recipes” by Willie Crawford. It’s basic, but oh-so-good.

    5 cups cooked macaroni (approx 4 cups uncooked)
    5 tbsp butter
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    3 cups milk
    2 cups shredded mozarella cheese
    4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

    Cook the macaroni until done as usual. Do not overcook it. Drain macaroni in strainer.

    Place macaroni, butter, salt, pepper, milk, mozarella cheese, and 3 cups of cheddar cheese in casserole dish. Mix eggs in a bowl first and then stir into mixture.

    Cover everything with aluminum foil and cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Uncover and add extra cup of cheddar cheese across the top. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.


  89. Danahli

    Aloha, I just absolutely love your blog and I am sure all your readers will terribly miss you during your sickness. I pray you well, and enjoy your Jello! :D

    *;; ‘Nahli

  90. Lisa

    Elise, I’m so sorry to hear you have the flu. How awful! Here’s hoping you feel “human” again very soon. Take care.

  91. Elizabeth

    Feel Better!

    I do have a very good, albeit healthy recipe for Mac and Cheese, it’s a variation on Ellie Krieger’s avail. on the FN website.
    My variation is to replace the ricotta with the same amount of sour cream, and to cook the pasta to soft al dente (not mushy). She says to basically par-cook the pasta and it soaks up too much of the cheesy goodness when you bake it. I use Killarny white cheddar from Costco and Ralph’s store brand Monterey Jack. It’s wonderful, and definitely will hit the spot.

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong