5 Amazing Mac & Cheese Recipes

Since the weather is finally getting colder where we are, I’m in full comfort food planning mode.

This has led me to realize that I have quite the collection of macaroni and cheese recipes on the blog. Whatever you call it (mac, mac and cheese, macaroni, macaroni and cheese), you can bet these recipes will be just the thing from traditional to creative.

Without further ado, here are 5 amazing Mac & Cheese recipes:

Classic Mac & Cheese

macaroni and cheese

This recipe is just a classic with lots of cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs and pasta cooked perfectly to hold its shape. Also, it feeds a ton of people! It’s custardy, savory and so comforting.

Mac & Cheese Tot Casserole

mac and cheese tot casserole

This is something a little different for mac and cheese lovers, and you’re going to just love it. There’s broccoli mixed in with the pasta and cheese sauce, and tater tots are crisped on top. It’s like a marriage between a classic casserole and mac and cheese.

Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese

If you’re a spinach artichoke lover like me, then you will find this mac and cheese to be your ideal meal on a cool fall or winter night. It allows you to play around with pasta shapes and fun cheeses.

Bacon Brussels Mac & Cheese

Here’s another creative take on our favorite side, and it’s got bacon and Brussels sprouts to add lots of flavor. It’s smokey, still got lots of tasty fall veg, and will fill you up for sure!

Truffle Mac & Cheese

I make this mac and cheese almost every  year for my husband’s birthday, and it’s an Ina Garten wonder! It will cost you a little more than usual with the truffle butter and mushrooms, but it lends a wonderfully earthy flavor and also makes a lot of mac!

Fall Fave Recipes

Finally, finally, finally, it is below 90 degrees and the cold, crisp air is coming through.

Everyone is going apple picking, and we’re all stocking up on well, stock, and butter and everything you need to make some amazing soups, casseroles and baked goods.

It’s fall, y’all!

And I’m raring to make some amazing fall recipes. Some from my blog that I’ve made before and some from others that I’ve always hoped to make!

So, here’s my list of current and hopefully future fall faves:

Chili

We all know that chili is a fall/winter staple. And I’ve made some super tasty chilis myself, from white chicken to classic to vegetarian in a skillet. I’ve also seen recipes for chili with cornbread topping which intrigues me greatly.

Chicken & Dumplings

I have dreamed of making chicken and dumplings for quite awhile, and it seems like this season might be a great time to do it. It’s one of those southern dishes that I’ve only had at potlucks or heard about people making, so it would be fun to make at home sometime soon!

Beef Stew

A lot of my fall recipes include meat, but I guess we don’t cook it too much so that’s OK. I’m still a fan of #meatlessmonday, though! I’ve also never made a beef stew, and it sounds like just the thing to fill with chunks of tender carrots and potatoes, and eat while watching a British mystery show during a good rain.

Shepherd’s Pie

I keep running across tasty-looking lamb recipes, like shepherd’s pie. I love mashed potatoes and casseroles, so I might have to make this classic for the first time.

What are you planning on making this fall?

Food Adventures: Homemade Dumplings

homemade dumplings

I would highly recommend creating a food adventure for you or your family.

Whether it’s having a homemade pizza night, ordering a cuisine of take-out that you’ve never had before, or making your favorite food from scratch, it’s good to shake things up sometimes.

It’s always fun to explore new tastes and stretch your boundaries as a home cook.

homemade dumplings

My husband and I did this recently when we decided to make homemade Chinese dumplings, everything from scratch. It also helped a lot that Saveur led the way with the recipe instructions and encouragement.

Although it took some elbow grease, I made successful dumpling dough, and it wasn’t that hard. I also got the chance to make some amazing scallion pancakes. This was especially impressive for someone who is usually horrible at making doughs.

homemade dumplings

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Simple Saturday: Baked Gnocchi

baked gnocchi

Remember the old days of going to pick out a frozen meal as a kid. We didn’t do this often, but on occasion, we would get to choose from chicken nuggets or meatloaf and revel in our little meal that popped out of the oven (or microwave) ready to eat, complete with a dessert.

It’s quite odd when you think about it, but a good memory nonetheless.

I feel like this Baked Gnocchi recipe is kind of like the frozen meal for adults.

Hear me out- it’s not so-so tasting or full of preservatives. It’s super easy to make, only takes a bit of time in the oven and only has like 4 ingredients!

This pasta is for when you’re feeling a little lazy but still want a meal that is comforting and filling.

baked gnocchi

Here’s how you make it:

  1. Heat your oven to 425 F and use 1 tbs. olive oil to oil a cast iron skillet or other small baking pan.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook 1 lb. gnocchi for 3-4 minutes, until they are floating. Remove them from the pot, shake off water and add to oiled pan.
  3. Add 1/4 lb. fontina cheese cubed to the gnocchi and top with 1 cup of marinara sauce. Do not mix.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until sauce is bubbling. Serve topped with fresh torn basil.

Cookout Staple Mac & Cheese

macaroni and cheese

You know that feeling when you find a recipe that is so good you know you’ll be making it over and over again over the years?

It’s a good feeling, and I definitely had it the first time I made this Mac & Cheese recipe. I got it from a friend and was amazed by the simplicity, the amount of cheese and the custardy, delicious outcome.

There’s nothing fancy about this macaroni and cheese, but when you use good ingredients (Kerrygold butter, a nice sharp cheddar, crispy panko) the final dish will surely impress. It’s as simple as cooking pasta, making a roux, grating a bunch of cheese and combining it all, topped with buttered breadcrumbs.

macaroni and cheese

Also, this recipe could feed an army! I’ve made it for a few large gatherings, and we’ve still had leftovers.

If you’re a cheese or mac and cheese lover, then you must try this easy variation!

macaroni-and-cheese-recipe-card

*Click or tap on recipe card to enlarge and save.

The Best Grilled Pork Tenderloin

grilled pork tenderloin

Summer isn’t over just yet.

In fact, I just ate a too-big slice of sweet watermelon with seeds on my back porch, which should tell you that it’s in full swing. When you see a big, delicious watermelon at the farm stand, you buy it and do everything you can to fit into your fridge…even if you have to eat too-big slices.

Speaking of other summer classics, grilled meats!

grilled pork tenderloin

In the past, I have lauded the tastes of grilled vegetables, but you’ll be glad to know that I’ve got a new grilled meat to share today. And the quality really blew my mind!

This recipe created one of the most tender and juicy pork dishes, which we sliced and threw on bread with garlic basil aioli for a tasty sandwich. Cheers to Bon Appetit for the recipe.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup Repost

chicken tortilla soup

This recipe has been stuck in the think fruitful archives for quite a few years.

Since it’s one of my favorites for this time of year, I thought it was time to “bring it out of the vault” if you will.

Whenever squash and zucchinis are in season, I’ve got to make a big pot of this soup. And I just discovered an even better way to make this soup shine.

It’s all in the broth, ya’ll! The chicken broth stews all day while you’re at work, chasing your kiddos or watching Netflix, and it makes this soup so full of flavor.

Then, you’ve got your veggies, spicy Rotel and all of it comes together so you can top it with avocado, cilantro, cheese and homemade corn tortilla strips or tortilla chips.

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5 Cheap & Easy Dinner Ideas

We all need cheap and easy dinner ideas, right?

I know that’s how I roll when I’m trying to stay on budget but still eat well. And there are plenty of options for all of us to enjoy flavor and be frugal.

You might notice a few things about these recipes:

  • Most are vegetarian
  • They make amazing leftovers
  • They are great for groups

So, without further ado, here are a few cheap and easy dinner ideas:

Pizza

pizza

Pizza is the perfect, fun dinner that is also cheap and quick. Grab your favorite dough, add on a few toppings and you’re in business!

Deep Dish Pizza
Perfect Homemade Pizza

Stir fry

This is another recipe that is flexible and can use whatever you have left in the fridge. Rice, veggies, stir fry, ginger- it’s all good! Put an egg on it and this will fill you up for awhile.

Weeknight Stir Fry

Bean bowls

Here’s another good use for white or brown rice. Top it with black or other beans (seasoned up) and cheese, green onion, salsa, sour cream and even guacamole!

Black Bean Bowls
Chickpea Bowls
Pinto Bean Bowls

Soup

Soup might take a little bit longer to prepare, but there are lots of varieties that will make a filling dinner with a side of crackers or bread and cheese.

6 Stellar Soups

Pulled Pork

I love making BBQ pork in the slow cooker for new families because it’s super easy and budget-friendly to make and there are many uses! From sandwiches to tacos to nachos, get ready for some good dinners and leftovers.

BBQ Pulled Pork
Pork Tacos

Weekday Chickpea Taco Bowls

chickpea taco bowls

Mexican food is always my go-to.

Whether we want a quick and easy dinner or we want to go out to a not-too-expensive and super flavorful meal, Mexican almost always wins.

Also, I grew up in Arkansas, and we have some seriously good Tex Mex there. And I took several trips to Mexico as a teenager, where I got a taste for spicy salsas, fresh lime juice on everything and carne asada tacos (not to mention bowls of posole).

chickpea taco bowls

In fact, this last week, I think we ate nachos, tacos and taquitos for several different meals throughout the week. I’m hooked to corn, beans, rice, chili powder and cumin…what can I say?!

If you’re like me and have a serious craving for Mexican or Tex Mex food, then you have got to try these Chickpea Taco Bowls. Thanks to Food52 for the recipe!

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Summer Salmon Cakes

salmon cakes

July means that it is hot.

July means that we’re in the heat of summer (bring on the tomatoes, peppers, squash and berries).

July also means that we’re all craving beach time and seafood.

For those of us who don’t get to have beach/seafood time but once or twice a season, here’s a cheap, quick and easy meal option that will give you that summer feeling: Salmon Cakes. Thanks to the Kitchn for the inspiration.

salmon cakes

These little guys are totally reminiscent of a dinner my mom would make growing up. And I absolutely loved the hint of seafood, creamy and tasty filling, and crisped outside.

Grab your favorite mayo (Duke’s, obviously), Dijon, some panko and canned salmon (get the good stuff), and you’re in business. Oh, and pick some fresh herbs from your herb garden or grab some at the grocery store. Dill is divine in this!

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