Baked Mac & Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs

I love homemade mac & cheese. 


Forget that boxed stuff! It’s the ultimate comfort food in my book and it’s that time of year when I start wanting a little more comfort.  With the sunshine getting more scarce and the temps falling I am going to start whipping up more comfort foods..chili, mac & cheese, homemade pretzels. I really liked this recipe because it made enough for leftovers and was pretty easy.  My toddler liked it and you can modify to add some veggies or protein in to help make it healthier.

Who doesn’t love this cheesy dish?

Inspiration from The Official Whole Foods Market Blog  

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 cups dry pasta (I used shells but you can use elbow macaroni or whatever your heart desires)

2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded

1 cup mozzarella, shredded

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups of milk (I used 1% but once again you can use whatever you want)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat oven to 350F. Oil a baking dish.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente.
  3. While pasta cooks, whisk together the milk and flour in a medium pot.  Bring the mixture to just a boil over medium heat, stirring often.  The mixture should begin to get thick and creamy—reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to stir until this happens.
  4. Remove the milk and flour mixture from the heat and slowly stir in the 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese and ½ a cup of the mozzarella. Stir in salt and pepper.
  5. Add pasta to the mixture and stir well. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a baking dish. Top with the panko bread crumbs and sprinkle the ½ cup of mozzarella on top.  Bake at 350F until golden brown.

Notes:

  • A great addition to this recipe would be cooked broccoli, diced tomatoes or maybe some cooked spinach. You would just cook one of them and add them into the mixture before transferring into the baking dish (great way to get your kids to eat their veggies!). If you are looking for some meat you could add chicken or tuna.
  • The panko breadcrumbs really added some crunch to this mac & cheese. You could also use regular breadcrumbs or take them out all together. Whatever you prefer!

Related articles:

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese:  Macaroni and Cheesecake
Four Cheese Baked Skillet Rigatoni: How Sweet It Is
Macaroni and Three Cheese Lunch Muffins: Whole Foods Blog

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