Really. Here’s why this one is worth yet another Mac and Cheese post.
I’ve found the easiest way to make baked mac ever, and my family loves it. No rue involved! (A rue is that messy flour/butter combo which is part of the delicate cheese sauce-making method.) Instead, this recipe is just a simple add, stir, bake method that actually works! The cheese doesn’t melt perfectly, so if you’re fussy about seeing no rogue shreds of cheese, then look away. But, over here, we’re perfectly happy with the taste, texture, simplicity and yumminess.
A few more cooking notes:
- I used whole wheat pasta, but your family will never bat an eye. So serve them up some good ole extra fiber and nutrition.
- You’ll notice that there are quite a few more eggs in this recipe than a normal baked mac. Worry not! That’s what gives it a custard texture, which is a good thing.
- I also snuck in a little pumpkin, which is tasteless in a recipe like this, but adds a little nutrition. Feel free to leave it out if you’re weirded out by it. Or if you love the idea, here are 50 more ways to sneak nutrition into kid favorites. I do it by default, quite honestly.
The other thing I’ve found about this recipe is that it freezes well for later. Just whip up a double batch, freeze one before baking, and eat the other. Then, you’ll have an easy weeknight meal ready on hand. (More detailed freezer meal instructions in recipe.) If you’re looking for more healthy, kid-friendly freezer recipes, check out our Freezer Meal Page.
- 1 pound whole wheat macaroni noodles
- olive oil
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup pumpkin puree (optional but tasteless!)
- 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley (crush in hand)
- pinch of nutmeg
- 4 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
- 1-2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (or almond meal)
- Cook the macaroni in a large pot until al dente, according to directions. Drain pasta, toss with a little olive oil in the pot, and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, milk, salt, pepper, ground mustard, parsley, and nutmeg until combined. Pour mixture over the macaroni noodles and stir gently until combined.
- Add in the shredded cheese a handful at a time, stirring to combine as you go. It won't melt completely.
- Pour the mac mixture into the baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and spray the cooking spray over the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until bubbly around the edges and starting to brown on top.
Complete the recipe through Step 5. Let cool. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and/or foil. Freeze.
Let casserole thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake according to instructions. If it's still a bit frozen in the middle, bake longer until heated through. Cover with foil if it starts to brown on top too much.