This version of baked macaroni and cheese takes a comfort food classic up a notch by using nutty whole wheat macaroni elbows and a surprise ingredient for just a hint of tang. It’s sure to become a family favorite recipe in no time.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
I don’t mind telling you that I consider myself to be a macaroni and cheese connoisseur. Sadly, most baked macaroni and cheese recipes out there result in a mushy, heavy concoction. This recipe is different. The pasta maintains its shape and distinction and because I rely on whole wheat macaroni elbows, there is a depth of flavor that brings a nutty, wholesome goodness to each bite. As it bakes, the rich and creamy cheddar sauce bubbles and creates bits of crispy cheese around the edges; you’ll have a hard time not nibbling on them as you serve this dish.
Baked macaroni and cheese sauces made from a combination of chicken stock and milk add savory flavor to an otherwise overtly cream-based recipe. That is exactly how I developed this recipe. A hint of garlic and onion powder go even further in creating layers of flavor. The star of this show, though, is definitely the whole grain mustard. It compliments the zesty cheddar so well and pulls out tangy flavors that offer balance to the richness of butter and cheese.
How to Make Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Whole wheat macaroni elbows are cooked stove-top just to al dente. They will continue to soften when the dish is baked. In order to avoid mushy pasta, these elbows are boiled for just five minutes and promptly drained.
- To save work later, use the same saucepan to make the cheese sauce that you used to boil the pasta.
- Combine cornstarch, salt, spices and the prepared mustard in the saucepan. Whisk the spices as you slowly add cold liquid. This method will prevent lumps from unmixed cornstarch.
- When the liquid has been added and the spices are thoroughly blended in, add butter and bring the mixture to a low boil.
- Cheese is added last and stirred in until melted.
- Baking the dish results in a golden and bubbly casserole.
More comfort food recipes
- Potato Leek Soup in the Instant Pot
- Healthy Chicken and Rice Cracker Barrel copycat
- Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon whole grain prepared mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 cups whole wheat macaroni elbows
- Preheat oven to 375°
- In a large saucepan, bring four cups water to a rapid boil. Add dry macaroni to the boiling water. Cook for just five minutes and then drain. Set aside.
- In the same saucepan, combine cornstarch, whole grain mustard, salt, dried mustard, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Stir in chicken stock and milk. Add butter.
- Bring mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute; the mixture will thicken and coat the spoon.
- Remove from heat. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese until melted and smooth.
- Add cooked elbows to the cheese sauce. Stir to mix well.
- Pour the pasta into a greased 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.
- Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup cheddar cheese over the top.
- Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly around the edges.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 743 Total Fat: 30g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 80mg Sodium: 1115mg Carbohydrates: 90g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 13g Sugar: 6g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 34g