Today I bring you the epitome of comfort food — macaroni and cheese. 🙂 Macaroni and cheese is Grayson’s favorite lunch and I always either mix chopped broccoli or peas and carrots into ours to up the nutritional value. This is definitely a “rustic” version of the classic favorite (it’s not my most photogenic recipe, to be honest) but it is as every bit as delicious. There’s just something about homemade shells and cheese…the nutty smelling roux, the homemade cheese sauce, the crunchy topping…seriously I am drooling again just thinking about it and it’s first thing in the morning here.
This is also a great freezer meal! Oh man, I LIVED for freezer meals after both my boys were born. Seriously, the smartest thing I ever did was stock my freezer during that final month of pregnancy. I think, with both, I had enough in my freezer for at least a month postpartum and between those meals and meals cooked for us from my friends at the local moms club I’m a part of, I was in business. Anyway, I digress. What I’m trying to say is you should make this today and put half in the freezer for a rainy day. You will thank me later.
Aren’t my new table linens pretty?! I’m doing some work with StudioPatro this season and excited to be showcasing some of Christina’s gorgeous textiles. They are a small business local to me and I can’t get enough of their pretty napkins and dish towels. You guys probably remember me talking about them on Instagram Stories a few weeks ago. We’ve always loved the look of cloth napkins over here and these just make the table look so pretty, don’t you think?
I hope you guys make this soon and love it as much as we did. Growing up, shells and cheese (velveeta – duh!) were always my very, very favorite so I still have a soft spot for them today. The feta adds a new dimension to the classic dish and the broccoli just adds a little splash of color. 😉 When I made this, I really did divide it into two casserole dishes and freeze half for later. Come to think about it, I might just defrost that tonight for us. To cook from frozen, just place in a 325 preheated oven for about an hour till hot and bubbly.
- 1 lb whole wheat shell pasta small shells or elbow macaroni is fine
- 4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1 lb cheddar cheese freshly grated
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1 head broccoli chopped
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (about 5 minutes - don't overcook here!). During the last minute of cooking, add the chopped broccoli. Drain the shells/broccoli and set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
When the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk together to form the roux. Keep whisking over medium until the color changes to straw-like and has an almost nutty smell. This will take about five minutes.
Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk well to get rid of all clumps. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking/whisking until sauce thickens - about five more minutes.
When sauce has thickened, add the grated cheddar cheese and garlic salt. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli. Stir well to coat.
Spray a 9 x 13" pans with nonstick spray. Pour in the macaroni and cheese. Add the feta -- stirring very gently. Top with panko breadcrumbs and place in oven for 25 minutes.
Let macaroni and cheese cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!