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My Mother’s Mac and Cheese

I remember my mother sending me to the store for 15 cents worth of cheese. The butcher would cut off a slice from a gigantic wheel covered with a wax-coated cloth. Mother would then blend that cheese into this tasty dish. Today, the memory of her cooking is like food for my soul. —Phyllis Burkland, Portland, Oregon
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. Bake: 1 hour
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • In a bowl, combine macaroni, tomatoes, onion salt, pepper and 1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese. Pour into a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Dot with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 15 minutes longer.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 373 calories, 22g fat (16g saturated fat), 75mg cholesterol, 759mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 2g fiber), 16g protein.

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  • JulieGr
    Oct 17, 2020

    So do you measure the elbows dry two cups or two cups of cooked elbows? It makes a difference.

  • Nannerpie
    Aug 1, 2020

    Do you have to add the tomatoes?

  • Kathy
    Apr 15, 2020

    Phyllis thank you. My mom has been making this for years with one small twist. This is the very first time I've talked to anyone who has even heard of it. Funny that we also call this moms mac and cheese. The twist? She added a few drops of Worcestershire sauce to each layer. She got the recipe from gramma when we lived in Estacada 65 years ago.

  • Deanna
    Jan 12, 2020

    I love baked Mac n cheese. Reminds me of being a kid. I have my own recipe which is the original Betty Crocker that I tweaked with shredded cheddar. I like to use other pasta shapes. I wanted a recipe which used real cheese and Velveeta to try to achieve a creamier consistency. This worked! I used this cheese ratio with my BC recipe which has dry mustard and Worsteshire sauce. Doubled the sauce because I used a whole box of pipetti pasta instead of elbows and increased to 6 oz of the Velveeta. I got a creamy delicious dish with the flavor my family loves. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sheryl
    Dec 8, 2019

    For those of us who know mac and cheese out of a box, this is different. I've also tried many other baked mac and cheese recipes, but I think I prefer this over a saucy version. This is certainly a recipe you can play with. Here are my suggestions: *Yes, you need to cook the noodles first, like the recipe says! *I added more cheese, and I put in a combination of Tillamook medium cheddar, and pepper jack. *I used one 14.5 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes, but we will try two next time. Total preference. *I added some chopped, lightly sauteed spinach (about 1/2 a regular size bag, but could do a whole one). *Put in more of the spices. I used Trader Joe's onion salt (1tsp), 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and plenty of sea salt/pepper, and Hungarian paprika. Not to sound gourmet, I just happen to have this and I like it. Regular or smoked Paprika would be great too, or none at all! *I also added about 2 tsp of honey mustard. Probably will add a bit more next time. *After mixing everything together, taste the mixture to see if it needs anything more. *I topped it all with breadcrumbs (optional, but yummy) and dotted with the butter. *I also added the cheese on top after baking covered for 35 min. Then only cooked for 10 minutes more. I realize this is a lot of instruction/suggestions, but it really turned out superb! My husband wanted seconds, which is always a compliment. :) We'll keep this on our rotation for sure!

  • Robert
    Sep 1, 2019

    No comment left

  • Debbie
    Mar 31, 2019

    I make quite a few recipes that call for uncooked pasta because it will cook in the oven or on the stovetop with all the Ingredients. Just curious with this recipe did you pre boil the noodles? I didn't and a lot of the noodles were still crunchy.

  • susie414
    Jan 1, 2019

    now that's mac and cheese! very similar to my family recipe - no sauce, just cheese!!

  • Marianne
    Dec 19, 2018

    My family too has made a similar Mac n Cheese for at least 6 decades. This is not what most people think of when they eat Mac n Cheese. This type doesn’t get ‘dry’ it gets brown and crusty in spots. We fight over those. Since I was raised on this type of Mac n Cheese I think all the others are like eating cheese soup and macaroni. LOL As with most recipes you are welcome to add or subtract. We add lots more cheese. 8 oz velveeta 8 oz American and the cheddar recommended. If you had hate the brown bits, take it out early.

  • Bettylynn
    Oct 21, 2018

    No comment left