Sharp cheddar, muenster, and asiago makes for an indulgent, three cheese baked mac and cheese. Sprinkle on homemade breadcrumbs and bake to perfection!
I’ve been making this homemade breadcrumb baked mac and cheese ever since I was a little girl. In my house, it’s named after me and known as “Mack’s Mac and Cheese.” I have made this recipe countless times and it is always a crowd pleaser! I love serving this dish alongside a light salad or some roasted veggies.
Is mac and cheese healthy?
I would have to say, mac and cheese is probably my favorite meal. It’s just the perfect combo of creamy, cheesy pasta goodness. That being said, it’s typically not the healthiest choice as the dish is high is saturated fat and calories.
You might think since I’m a dietitian I would ban any “bad” dish like macaroni and cheese, but this is not the case. My philosophy is no food is inherently “bad”. I believe there is a place for salads, donuts, apples, kale, ice cream, and mac and cheese alike. Like anything in life, too much of it is not going to be good thing. But there is freedom in balance, satisfaction, and Intuitive Eating.
How do you make healthier mac and cheese?
Macaroni and cheese is my indulgent delight. However, when I make it, there are a few things I like to do to give it a little bit of a nutrition boost. I like to swap out the white pasta and white breadcrumbs for their whole grain counterparts. “Whole” grains have the bran, germ, and endosperm (AKA all the good parts filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals) whereas white or “refined” grains undergo a process that removes the germ and bran.
Sometimes I also like to use skim milk and reduced-fat cheddar cheese because these items provide the same level of protein while reducing the fat content. If you’re looking to stay indulgent, use whole milk and regular cheddar cheese.
How do I make homemade breadcrumbs?
Skip the store bought stuff and make your own breadcrumbs. Simply rip up whole grain bread slices into pieces. Then, toast them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees until slightly golden. Finally, use your hands to crush them up into smaller pieces to sprinkle over the mac and cheese before baking.
- 3 cups whole grain elbow macaroni
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups dairy milk of your choice, (skim milk, 2% milk, or whole milk)
- 4 oz Muenster cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs or 3 slices whole grain bread, **see note
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.
- In a large pan, cook macaroni to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in salt, pepper, and flour until combined.
- Slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 minutes, then reduce to low heat and stir in all cheeses until creamy. Pour cheese sauce over drained pasta and stir gently to combine.
- Pour macaroni in the prepared baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
** I love to make homemade breadcrumbs. Simply rip bread into medium-sized pieces and pop it into the 350 degrees pre-heated oven for 10 minutes while you prepare the pasta and cheese sauce. Then, pull it out of the oven and crush it up into small pieces to sprinkle over the mac and cheese.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 380mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 14g
This is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. Nutrition may vary depending on ingredients used. For more nutrition information, seek a professional registered dietitian's advice.