CREAMY STOVETOP MAC AND CHEESE — This creamy, cheesy pasta classic goes from the stovetop to the dinner table in about 30 minutes. Always a hit with adults and kids alike.
When I need to get a hearty, satisfying meal on the table in a hurry, I can always count on this Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese to make the whole family happy.
School is starting this week in a lot of areas, and this is one of my go-to dinner recipes during the busy back-to-school season. Of course, school might look different for you and your kids this year……
But whether you’ve got kids in the classroom, or learning from home, you’re going to be frazzled by the end of the day and you’ll need an easy recipe that is sure to get rave reviews.
In fact, this mac and cheese is so simple, older kids can manage it by themselves, and younger kids can make it with a bit of help.
Which also makes it a great choice for busy college kids too. I mean, do you ever really grow out of craving mac and cheese? It’s total comfort food!
This recipe calls for cheddar (I like to use sharp cheddar) and colby jack cheese, but you can really use any kind of shredded cheese you have on hand.
In fact, this mac and cheese is one of my favorite ways to use up odds and ends of cheese I may have sitting in the refrigerator. As longs as you end up with the requisite 12 ounces of shredded cheese, it’s all good.
You can switch up the pasta too. Just don’t leave out the cream cheese, whatever you do! It’s what makes this mac and cheese extra smooth and creamy.
When I have time, I like to prepare a baked mac and cheese with a buttery bread crumb topping. But this recipe is all about getting dinner on the table in a hurry.
So if you want a super creamy mac and cheese that’s ready in 30 minutes or less, this Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the recipe for you. Enjoy!
Be sure to save this Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Tips for Cooking Pasta
Use a big pot: Cook pasta in a large pot–big enough to hold 6 quarts of water per pound of pasta.
Salt: Generously season your cooking water with salt. A few teaspoons per quart of water is a good place to start. Although a little more or less is fine, depending on your preference.
Don’t overcook: Boil your pasta to until it is al dente, which means it’s cooked, but still a bit chewy. You’ll want to test your pasta for flavor and texture every 20 seconds or so during the last few minutes of cooking.
If you’ll continue cooking the pasta in a sauce, or baking it in the oven, remove the pot from the heat a few minutes before it’s done to prevent overcooking.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- Shell pasta
- Half and half
- Cheddar cheese
- Colby jack cheese
- Cream cheese
- Dijon mustard
- Spices: mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper
- Hot sauce
- 16 ounces shell pasta, uncooked
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces shredded colby jack cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook a few minutes more. Whisk in the milk and half-and-half. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cheddar and colby jack cheese and cook and stir until cheese is melted. Stir in the mustard, mustard powder, onion salt, garlic salt and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in desired amount of hot sauce.
- Add the cream cheese and cook and stir until melted and smooth. Gently stir in the cooked, drained pasta. Serve immediately.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 600Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 659mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 23g
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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Food Network