baked macaroni and cheese casserole

Valentine’s day has come and gone, and I learned one major lesson this year. Buying scratch-n-sniff valentines may seem like a good idea, a very retro and hip idea, but scratch-n-sniff stink bug valentines are NOT a good idea. Never a good idea, really. And if my children’s teachers are reading this, or if any of the moms of the boys in their classes are – I am so very, very sorry.

Though I was treated to Chinese take-out on Valentine’s night, Sam and I had our real Valentine’s celebration later in the week. Thursday morning, we typed out childcare and kitty-care instructions for Grammy and taped the note to the refrigerator door. After shoving our swimsuits and flip-flops and bottles of SPF-50 into a suitcase, we dusted off our neglected passports, kissed the kids goodbye, gave the cats scritches under their necks, and headed off to the airport to catch our plane to Mexico.

We spent a full two and a half days lounging at the infinity pool, looking outward toward the swaying fronds of the coconut palm trees lining the beach and the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico just beyond. We read a lot, finishing two books a piece, and we occasionally braved the frigid temperatures of the pool. I gorged myself on guacamole and salsa. I learned that Mexico’s version of “mild heat” in a pepper is not quite the version I’m used to.

I completely relaxed. It felt good to finally catch my breath.

I’ll share some photos soon, once I download them off my camera’s memory card, maybe this weekend. First, I must share this macaroni and cheese recipe with you. I was inspired to make this after flipping through the pages of an old, spiral-bound community cookbook, it’s yellowing pages chock full of recipes for mysterious dishes like “Sara’s Jello Surprise” and “Aunt Jean’s Spam Casserole.” I found a few recipes for macaroni and cheese casseroles made with a no béchamel technique — just the combining and baking of grated cheese, eggs, and milk, with already-cooked noodles. After fiddling around with the method and ingredients, this is the recipe I came up with.

I made this last Sunday, before we headed out of town, in hopes that my kids would think I was the best mom EVER for leaving them with such cheesy goodness to eat while we were away. But it didn’t work out that way. It never does, really. My son was quick to declare that he did NOT like macaroni and cheese, and he refused to eat it. Refused to even sample a bite.

I swear, I think someone replaced that child with a blonde, blue-eyed impostor.

Yield: 6-8 servings.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Macaroni and cheese casserole should always be present at pot-luck dinners and church suppers - or at any social gathering involving Southerners and food. This version of macaroni and cheese is the dish you'll want to show up with.


8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
8 ounces Colby cheese, shredded
8 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish and set aside.

In a large pot of salted water, cook elbow macaroni according to package directions, until al dente, about 7 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together in a medium bowl the melted and cooled butter, milk, eggs, sour cream, salt, and white pepper. In a large bowl, combine the cooked and drained pasta, the butter and milk mixture, and the shredded cheeses. Stir well. Pour into the casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.

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11 Responses to “baked macaroni and cheese casserole”

  1. 1
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — February 21, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    I agree that mac and cheese is a must! Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

  2. 2
    Jenny — February 21, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

    So glad you had a relaxing time. When I moved to New York fourteen years ago – Jim’s family had never eaten homemade macaroni and cheese – they were GOBSMACKED that I made it from scratch. Now my SIL and nieces make it…so proud. This mac & cheese looks great.

  3. 3
    Maria Raynal — February 21, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

    The boy will come around, promise! My four-year old nephew is firmly enconsed in the plain pasta with olive oil stage. Glad you enjoyed your getaway!

  4. 4
    DessertForTwo — February 21, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

    I’m so glad y’all had a wonderful little Valentine’s Day.

    Stunning photos and dishes too, by the way 🙂

  5. 5
    Patty Hetrick — February 22, 2012 @ 12:49 am

    This is my kind of macaroni and cheese! Can’t wait to make it:) And love your blog!

  6. 6
    Kathryn — February 22, 2012 @ 4:53 am

    What a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine’s Day – it sounds so idyllic. Macaroni and cheese is one of my all time favourites, rather worryingly I expect I could finish off the whole thing!

  7. 7
    Di — February 23, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    Since July, when I began enjoying your “Merry” blog, I decided to venture further into the food-blog world expecting to find more useful and delicious recipes/food ideas. I didn’t. Yours is the only one that offers uncomplicated recipes and ideas which do not require elaborate equipment or compex processes with ingedients that my husband will eat! I appreciate the relative simplicity of your recipes and wish there were more of them! I’m 62 years old with a full-time job in New York City and a draining commute. It’s wonderful to be able count on you to deliver both fresh ideas and old favorites that are not too demanding. Thank you, thank you for a mac & cheese recipe WITHOUT bescamel! PS … I don’t know a five year old who eats dressed pasta …. just keep trying!

    • 7.1
      Merry-Jennifer — February 23, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

      Thank you SO much for your comment. You’ve just made my day!

  8. 8
    Di — February 24, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    Happy to hear I made somebody’s day! Enjoy your weekend.

  9. 9
    Mirtha — March 6, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

    just stumbled upong your blog today… lost track of which links lead me here, but I am liking it! My 7-year-old son will not eat mac&cheese. not even home-made. He is the only child (or adult) I know who does not like mac&cheese.

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