As a kid my mom would ask us what our favorite dinner was so she could make it on our birthday. Year after year my favorite never changed, and on November 10th everyone in the house knew that we’d be having baked mac-n-cheese for dinner. This recipe is amazing in its original form and I am happy to say that my changes to it have not taken much away. It is a healthier version with whole wheat pasta, less cheese, spices, and less salt. My mom used to also make stewed tomatoes to put over the mac-n-cheese but I have come to love the herbed taste and don’t want to smother it. This dish is so good for left overs that when we make it my husband is pretty much set with lunch at work for the week… I hope you love it as much as I do ❤
Ingredients: (You will notice I did not put measurements for the spices. We do this recipe in 2 layers and you top each layer with the spices so it’s really just a sprinkling of the spices.)
– 2-13.25oz packages of whole wheat pasta (We like to use penne, my mom liked to use elbows, you decide what you like best 🙂 )
– 1 tsp olive or canola oil
– 2-8oz packages of shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese blend. (My mom used to buy a 16oz block of each and dice it up. That is twice as much cheese and you get “cheesy” spots which are awesome but can pack in the calories. That was how I always loved it but I’m learning to use less cheese and more spice to kick up the flavor. Very worth it.)
– black pepper
– dried parsley
– garlic powder
– onion powder
– 1 cup of milk
– 1 can of stewed tomatoes *OPTIONAL*
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.) Add a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of oil to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. (I like to boil with a little bit of oil to keep pasta from sticking together.)
3.) Cook pasta.
4.) When pasta is cooked strain and add half into an oiled 14.5x11x2in pan.
5.) Sprinkle one bag of cheese over the pasta and lightly season with spices/herbs.
6.) Put the rest of the pasta over the first layer and sprinkle second bag of cheese ontop. Lightly season with spices/herbs. Pour 1 cup of milk over the whole dish
7.) Bake in the oven for 25mins if you don’t want it to be too crispy or for 30 minutes if you are like me and love the crispy top.
8.) Dish and enjoy! (Optional- dish stewed tomatoes on top of mac-n-cheese for even more flavor)
**All photos are originals taken by me.**