We love macaroni and cheese in this house, especially baked with all kinds of yumminess! (Yes, I said yumminess. Isn’t that a word??) This recipe is two recipes put together and changed around to make it my own. I have played with it a couple times to get it right but really, how can you go wrong with mac ‘n cheese??? I love to make casseroles where you just put some good foods together in a dish and bake it in the oven. Tastes so good and there are endless possibilities! So easy too. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this all along. I really wish someone would have come into my house a long time ago and slapped reality into me. This is such an easy (and healthier) way to live! I will never go back to the boxed hamburger helper, and other boxed stuff. You still had to put those ingredients together to cook… how much more work is it to buy the ingredients separate and throw them together? It really isn’t. You just have to experiment and use different herbs and spices. Eventually you will get the hang of it and it will be so easy to figure out what spices and herbs go better with what dish. And it’s fun! I do an inventory every week before grocery shopping to figure out what we are low on and just keep my stock going so I can make just about anything.
This recipe serves a family of four, so if you want to make it for a larger crowd you can double the recipe. To make it spicier, add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. For a vegetarian option, just don’t add any meat.
- 1 cup of macaroni noodles
- 3 slices of bacon (or 3 slices of thinly sliced ham) – optional
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- 1-2 cloves minced garlic
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup milk (I use organic whole)
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil about 2 cups of water on the stove in a medium pan. Add macaroni noodles and cook for 8 minutes on medium, stirring occasionally. Chop your onion & garlic and cook with the bacon in a separate small frying pan. (If you use ham you can just skip this step and put the ham, onion and garlic in with the casserole to bake. I like to fry it up first for extra flavors.) Shred your cheese, whisk the milk and eggs together in a bowl, drain the noodles, cut-up your bacon/ham. In an 8 x 11 dish, add the noodles, milk/egg mixture, 2 cups of the shredded cheese, the bacon (or ham), onion and garlic, sprinkle in some salt & pepper and thyme. Then stir everything up. Add the last cup of cheese on top and the bread crumbs. (I learned to crumble the bread crumbs up smaller after the first time I made it. You can see they are larger in the picture above.) Bake 15-20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Frying up the ham, garlic & onion:
Before adding cheese & bread crumbs on top: