Semi-Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I have a great from scratch macaroni and cheese recipe that I will share at some point, but this recipe is for all of you whoMacaroni and cheese bake don’t have enough time, have picky eaters, or want to indulge in that classic blue box once in a while.

My niece came over the other day and while she isn’t a picky eater for the most part as she will try anything, she is pretty specific about her mac and cheese. First, it has to be that bright orange that almost all American kids are used to. Second, the serving has to look close to what she has seen on the box. Third, it has to “taste right” as she says.

Well, it was a cold day that she was coming over and after we snowshoeing, something warm for lunch sounded good. My sister-in-law has my second niece on the way – only a month to go – so when I talked to her the other day, she mentioned that she has been craving gooey foods. Between the two of them, I figured a semi-homemade mac and cheese bake would satisfy all and be quick to make in the morning before they arrived.

2 boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese cooked and prepared according to the box directions.

1 can of cut green beans (peas also work well)

1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (orange not white) divided

1 large egg beaten well

1 cup of crushed Ritz Crackers

3 tablespoons of butter melted

Grease a 9×9 inch baking dish and pre-heat your oven to 350°F. In a large sauce pot cook the two boxes of Kraft mac and cheese according to the box directions. Add the powder mix and milk all in the same pot so as you normally would. Then add half of the shredded cheese and stir together.

Cooked noodles

Adding more cheese

Let the mac and cheese cool until only warm, not hot. You can test this by sticking your finger in the middle of the pot. If you can let your finger sit there for a minute and it isn’t burning, it is cool enough (this is all so that your egg doesn’t cook as soon as it hits the hot noodles). Add the can of cut green beans to your mac and cheese and the beaten egg and fold together until well combined.

Adding the beans

Pouring in the beaten egg

Put the mac and cheese mixture into your baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Mac and cheese

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt your butter. Then add the crushed Ritz Crackers and mix until all the crushed crackers are lightly coated with the melted butter.

Melted butter

Ritz crackers

Crushed Ritz crackers

Mixing the crackers and butter

Crumble the crackers over the top of the mac and cheese.

Crackers over the top

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the mac and cheese is bubbly and the cracker topping is golden brown and crispy.

Macaroni and cheese bake

Yum! Mac and Cheese

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