Really Easy Macaroni Cheese

I don’t suppose you can call it a date but from the very first time Pete and I met (and found out we both cook apparently amazing macaroni cheese), a ‘macaroni cheese cook off night’ was added to the ‘to do’ list in our kitchen…

This didn’t actually happen until just before Christmas and I most definitely won… 😉 So here’s my really easy macaroni cheese recipe, which is really cheap (apart from the cheese – I didn’t realise how expensive cheese was until I moved to uni, jesus!) but it’s tasty and you can keep it in the fridge (don’t freeze, it’ll go funny) and reheat it whenever you want…

Also I don’t tend to weight stuff out…

1 Because I can’t be bothered to faff about with my cheapy scales and

2 Because it requires far too much effort…

Serves: However many you want to serve – measure the pasta per person and make lots of sauce, you can refrigerate it and use it later with more pasta

Costs: Not much – a bag of flour is about 80p, milk is about £1 and cheese is likely to be in your fridge anyway

Suitable for freezing?: No! the cheese sauce will go funny and split, keep it in the fridge until it goes green (students can’t be picky!)

You will need:

  • pasta shapes, I measure using one mug per serving, so work out how many you’re cooking for and cook that many mug-fulls
  • plain flour, really cheap, and you can use it for things like pancakes too!
  • milk, I end up using quite a lot to get the sauce to the right thickness/thinness
  • cheese, I usually have a large block in my fridge – pete uses really strong cheese, but I use milder – it really doesn’t matter – you can also use more than one type
You can also add:
  • butter, not really necessary though
  • mushrooms (pete’s idea)
  • chopped up bacon (also pete’s idea)
  • tomatoes
  • anything! throw in anything you’ve got that needs using (within reason)

So you need to gently heat the milk in a large pan, just put however much you want in, but a fair amount to start the sauce off, then you can keep adding until you have enough sauce.

Don’t let it boil, but once you know it’s warm start adding the flour – you should probably sieve it to get lumps out but I never bother, you just need to be willing to stand and whisk/stir ALL the time (i mean ALL the time – don’t leave it alone or it’ll ruin)…so add a little bit, stir/whisk it, add a little more, keep going etc etc etc…it probably will have lumps but I’ve always managed to get them out by whisking all the time…

It’ll probably be getting really thick and gooey by this stage so add some more milk to it (this will also thin it and help to remove lumps)…repeat the process of adding a little flour at a time…repeat continuously until you have the right amount of sauce that you want – remember you can always cook more pasta later if you’ve made too much sauce…

Once you have the right amount, you need to add the cheese. The first time I did this I made the mistake of not trying it before I served – I’d used so much flour it just tasted like that and nothing else…it doesn’t matter if you use too much, you just need to make sure you use enough cheese to mask the taste…

Grate your cheese and add it to the sauce, stir until melted and taste it…add more cheese if you want etc etc etc…if you’re adding bacon or mushrooms, fry them off first and add them now (no rush, it’s not going to ruin, just keep stirring so it doesn’t ruin/stick to the pan)…

While this is happening you can cook your pasta…boil the kettle first to save time though! As soon as it’s ready you can pour it into the pan with the cheese sauce and mix it all together…I normally serve from there but Pete likes to put it in ovenproof dishes, sprinkle more cheese on the top and bake until crispy…you can eat it on it’s own or with potatos and vegetables…

Yummy, cheap, but not so healthy (but so so so tasty, so it doesn’t really matter) – simple!

A note for reheating: Sometimes I find if the sauce was thick to start with it’ll go kinda congealed and weird after being in the fridge…instead of reheating in the microwave, put it all in a saucepan with some extra milk – heat until the milk’s mixed in so it thins the sauce a bit, will stop it from tasting so sticky!


this is pete's work, not mine! he put bacon in this too.


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