Easiest Ever Baked Mac and Cheese

I was so very skeptical about this recipe when I first saw it.  I thought there was no way it would taste good or that it would be as easy as it sounded.  But I was wrong.  The first time I made it, B asked for thirds.  Now, this doesn’t taste anything like the stuff in the blue box (which is a good thing in my book) and it’s not quite as heavy as a traditional, made-from-scratch macaroni and cheese.  I went a step further and made it even lighter with skim milk and 2% cheese (I don’t use fat free cheese as it doesn’t melt well) but if you wanted to you could use fuller fat and I’m sure it would be that much yummier.  As it was, it was really good.  And really easy.   You can make it with or without meat, and switch the vegetables around to whatever you have or whatever you like.  You could even play around with the cheese (Gouda? Why not?  Goat Cheese?  Sounds great!)  I’m going to go with peas and chicken-apple sausage but do what works for you.  You can also make the pasta the night before and then just mix everything together the next day before popping it in the oven – makes for a super fast and easy way to make dinner.  If you go that route, just increase the baking time by about 15 minutes.

Ingredients

1 lb. box of elbow macaroni

2 cups shredded cheese (I used 2% Cheddar Jack)

1 cup (skim) milk

1 TBSP dry mustard

1 12 oz. package of chicken apple sausage (optional), cut into 1/4 inch circles

1-2 cups frozen peas (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Cook pasta as directed, drain
  • Mix dry mustard, salt and pepper, peas and sausage into the pasta, folding in well
  • Add cheese and fold well
  • Pour pasta mixture into a well-sprayed baking dish
  • Pour milk overtop of pasta
  • Cover with foil.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once about half way through.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to serving.
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