Baked Mac and Cheese

8 reviews / 5 average

Hi, friends!

Today is part two of the Feeding a Broken Heart series that we are sharing in honor of our son Afton and the many people (both online and off) who have loved us so well through the experience of his birth and passing.

(Which, as a side note, it has been so fun to watch you participate in. Your stories of sharing food with others who are hurting have been inspiring and encouraging and just incredibly feel-good-on-the-internet kinds of stuff. I am very, very thankful that it is my literal job to take a front row seat to your awesomeness. Whether you’ve mailed cookies to a friend, made potato soup for your mom, or found something in our recipe archives to make in honor of our sweet baby Afton… all of it is just next level kindness. You do my heart good, and you do others’ hearts good too, which is why we put some of your stories on this page.)

HOW TO MAKE OUR BAKED MAC AND CHEESE (1 MIN):

Baked Mac and Cheese - simple ingredients, OMG mac and cheese vibes. perfect comfort food! | pinchofyum.com

So.

Today, in brave solidarity with broken hearts everywhere, I bring you: Baked Mac and Cheese! ♡

Baked Mac and Cheese - simple ingredients, OMG mac and cheese vibes. perfect comfort food! | pinchofyum.com

Yes, those are buttery homemade breadcrumbs on top and YOU ARE WELCOME.

This baked mac and cheese is heavy on the cheesy insides, crunchy outsides, and OMG vibes. It is light on redeeming health value. Don’t worry about it. It is possibly the most emotionally healing thing that you could ever feed your heartsick self. It’s BAKED MAC AND CHEESE, for crying out loud.

If this baked mac and cheese happens to be fed to you by a friend who invites you over when you are sad beyond sadness, then your life is not so bad after all, is it, now? And that is exactly how this came into my life: around a generous table, with a fancy salad and some really good garlic bread, and kind, gentle friends who asked us about Afton and laughed with us and cried a little and all-around just took good care of us.

Life was still bad, but it was a little less bad in that moment. And for people who are hurting, “a little less bad” can be a really big deal.

Baked Mac and Cheese - simple ingredients, OMG mac and cheese vibes. perfect comfort food! | pinchofyum.com

I mean. Guys.

Just gaze upon the cheesy beauty that is.

Baked Mac and Cheese - simple ingredients, OMG mac and cheese vibes. perfect comfort food! | pinchofyum.com

As I mentioned, my friend Stephanie made this recipe for us from cookbook The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science (affiliate link). It was everything wonderful that a baked mac and cheese should be – not overwhelmingly gooey, just the right balance of inner cheesiness with crispy baked-up edges and a crunchy top. She served it to us with garlic bread (carbs on carbs like whaaa) and a beautiful green salad that, I think, also came from that cookbook.

It was comforting on every level and we felt loved.

Your turn! Who needs a pan of baked mac and cheese in their life? I have full faith in you to deliver.

More Mac and Cheese Yum

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Baked Mac and Cheese in a pan with serving in a bowl.

Baked Mac and Cheese


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 35 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

This Baked Mac and Cheese is cheesy on the inside, crispy on the outside, heavy on the OMG yum factor. It’s my take on the recipe from The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science cookbook.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 23 slices white bread, toasted
  • 7 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 pounds cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces American, Gruyere, or any other smooth melting cheese, grated or cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Instructions

  1. PREP: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the macaroni into a large bowl and cover with hot water and stir in a big pinch of salt. Let the noodles soak for about 30 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. BREADCRUMBS: Melt two tablespoons of the butter. Pulse the bread through a food processor, and add the butter. Set aside.
  3. SAUCE BASE: Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden blonde. Add the evaporated milk and whole milk, very slowly, whisking constantly to achieve a nice smooth, thick sauce. Stir in the mustard. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat to add the cheeses – stir until melted. Season to taste.
  4. GET READY TO BAKE: Whisk about a cup of sauce with the eggs in a separate bowl (to increase the temperature of the eggs gradually). Once combined, add that egg mixture in with the rest of the sauce. Add the drained macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into a greased rectangular or square baking dish.
  5. BAKE: Top with the breadcrumbs, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes to get the breadcrumbs toasty and nice. Serve with salt, pepper, hot sauce, or whatever you like with your baked mac and cheese.

Notes

Because it’s a BAKED mac and cheese, and because of the eggs, it does indeed BAKE and it isn’t an ooey-gooey velveeta-like bomb like you might be imagining. It’s cheesy, but it also bakes into more of a pie, something that you can cut almost into slices. This is supposed to be more crispy and casserole-y than your standard shells and cheese situation. If you love the idea of the ooey-gooey bomb, I’d suggest omitting the eggs (those are what help it set), adding a little extra milk to the sauce, and baking it for just long enough to get the breadcrumbs toasty.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: baked mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, mac and cheese

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💙💙💙💙 #feedingabrokenheart #pinchofyum #lindsayostrom

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Recipe rating

52 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks amazing! Macaroni and cheese made with American cheese is my not-so-secret-anymore weakness. So glad you’re finding a bit of delicious comfort here!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Mac n’ cheese or lasagna are the two dishes I make for friends who need some love. This looks like the perfect way to bring a little bit of normalcy and joy to a broken heart.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    debbie lynn

    Hi, I’ve been following your story for many months and you continue to inspire me. I was just wondering, can you tell us where Bjork bought your beautiful circle necklace with Afton’s birthdate from? Thank you in advance!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rachel

    Lindsay I’m just so proud of you right now. Feeding a broken heart is such a beautiful movement, and I’m so thankful you created a simple way to inspire so many to serve and love people in their darkest seasons of life. I’ll certainly be trying out these recipes for myself and to also share with others!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mauricio Mendes

    Hi Lidsay. I’m Glad to see you back on your feet. I read your posts, I’ve tried to say something, but Didn’t know what to say. I feel like you and Bjork are part of my family.I Laughed with you, I suffered with you and now I’m happy to see you back again doing what you love. And as Dory says “Just keep swimming”!
    As for the Mac and cheese, we don’t have the habit of doing this here in Brazil, but I’ll try it for sure because I love your recipes they are simple and delicious.
    Be well. I Love you all.
    Mauricio






  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    HI Lindsey, I just wanted to reach out and t you know you have et another heart in your corner. I have followed your very sad story about the loss of your beautiful and angelic son Afton. I too cred with you from afar and my heart goes out to you each time I see your brave posts, and I’m touched by your courage and strength to go on and to turn your tragedy away from yourself and encourage others to reach out to those they may know who are suffering with pain & loss. I applaud you Darlin’ , and agreed that the bst way to heal is to reach out to others with kidnes and care. Al t best to you and Bjork. PS. I am new to this blogging ting and have been so thankful to Bjork and to you for all the wonderful info you have provided me as I navigate this “new language” of the blog world. I’m getting there ever so slowly, but I’m putting one foot in front of the other and growing, with your help too.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amy

    Oh my word that mac and cheese looks insane! The perfect comfort food for a broken heart. I just love how you’re encouraging others to help others with a broken heart with the gift of good food. Food always brings people together… that’s why I started food blogging in the first place. Hugs! <3

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Carla from Plentysweetlife

    Hi! I wanted to reach out and tell you how very sorry I was to hear of Afton and your story. We lost a baby son at one day old 30 years ago, and my advice to you is to feel all the feels when they come up, write all of them down, (which you’re doing – and that’s so great), and take your time. He’ll always be a part of your family as our son is in ours. I didn’t have the heart to write about it until last April just before what would have been his 30th birthday, and even though it took me a while, I’m glad I did. I can remember almost everything about it like it was yesterday, because that’s all we have of him. We had a daughter at the time, and also had another daughter and another son after him – they have all told the story of him to friends and family over the years, and I sort of look at him as a teacher in a weird way. His story has helped a lot of people, and therefore all of us, too! My thoughts have been with you over the past few months, because I know what you’re going through. He’ll always be with you both, because that kind of love never dies. All the best to you.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Shari Michener

      A very moving story. My parents lost their first child at about 2 years of age. Momma said it was the hardest thing she ever had to do was bury that baby. They could not afford a tombstone so instead Daddy found a long flat rock to note the location. The stone was never replaced until I was old enough to think it needed to be replaced. I removed the first stone but could not throw it away because it was love from my parents to their first born. I was the ninth child born to my parents and the last. I have the stone to this day and it will stay with me and then go down through our family as a story of a new family who struggled. Your story remind eour mine.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Food can be a powerful demonstration of love and nurturing. From the realfood-project.com, our hearts go out to your family.






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Chris

    Maybe you could also use food to celebrate someone’s Happy Heart in Afton’s memory. I am certain that he had a happy heart and could feel the incredible love that you both had for him in his short time with you.

    My thoughts are with you. And I encourage you to remember all the lives that have been touched by his, even as short as it was. 🙂

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    That mac & cheese does look perfectly comforting. There have been many times in my life when a pan of mac & cheese would have made my day so much better. Last week a friend of mine lost a baby. She is a busy Mom of 3 active boys so I knew how much a home-cooked meal would help her in her grief. The next day I brought her a big pan of beef & noodles, a big pan of fresh fruit (kids love fruit), green beans, and homemade apple crisp and vanilla ice cream. (This apple crisp recipe makes a lot and is a great dessert for sharing with friends. http://www.homeecathome.com/the-home-economist/apple-crisp) I have been on the receiving end of kindness from friends when I was badly burned and when I lost a baby and it makes such a difference. Thanks for sharing your story. It must be hard, but you offer so much comfort to others on how to cope in difficult times.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sarah

    This looks so so good. I really love that you’re doing this series and I hope it continues to help you heal! One thought I have for these recipes – so often when I’m cooking for someone else I try to make a meal that they can pop in the freezer for a later time. Would you consider adding instructions on baking and freezing, or freezing then baking? Or any sort of recommendations for if we’re preparing food that will likely be frozen for a time? Thanks so much!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Helena Mouta

    Lindsay, it’s so wonderful to see you back in the kitchen! You are both so brave, so wonderful, and this is such a beautiful idea! I have been trying to feed the broken hearts around me since I’ve started cooking. The last time I’ve done it was just last week, when I took the simplest birthday cake I have ever baked to a friend deep in the throes of depression. I’ve been following your blog for a few years and I’ve followed you through your grief and cannot even imagine what you feel like at this time. The only thing I do know is that it takes a huge amount of courage to get up every day and keep on living, and loving, and hoping. So I just wanted to let you know I’m right there with you, living, and loving, and hoping for you too.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Maria D.

    I like the look of this and it doesn’t sound too complicated so I should be able to try it – thank you for sharing

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I can NOT wait to make this! Such a beautiful sentiment behind it, of course, but…I mean, just look at it!! Plus the idea of a Gruyere M&C is making my heart pitter patter…and don’t get me started on buttery breadcrumbs. So happy you’re on the road to healing, and bringing us along for the ride. xo






  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks so so yummy! I recently started a blog about my grandmother’s recipes. She was an excellent cook. I just wish I could take pictures like you guys can. It’s something I need to work on. Definitely going to try this recipe though! thinkmariah.com

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Really love this series – And I’m also very sorry for your loss.
    Food is definitely healing and I admire how you’re choosing to handle it.
    <3 thoughts going out to you.