Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Do you still make the boxed kind of Mac & Cheese? We did for the longest time. It was just so quick and easy to pick it up at the store and fix it as a quick side dish or a something for the kids to eat. But then I started to think about all the extra preservatives and colors in there … and let’s face it, that yellow powder that comes with the box kind is not cheese.

I started playing around with some homemade recipes and came up with this version.

The recipe is from the Homemade Convenience Food eBook.

Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1½ cups elbow macaroni
  • • 1½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • • 3 Tbsp butter, cut up into little pieces
  • • ½ cup milk
  • • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil macaroni until it is just tender, then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  3. After draining macaroni, pour ½ macaroni into casserole dish. Arrange ½ of the pieces of butter on top of the macaroni, then top with ½ of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers again. Pour milk over the top and add a sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes.
  5. No more need for boxed mixes. This is just as easy, if not easier; you don't have to stand and stir a pot.

While this takes a little time, it is well worth it. If you are in a hurry, just boil some pasta, drain it, put it in a bowl and add a little butter and grated cheese. Stir it all up and serve. It’s not as good as the recipe above, but much tastier and healthier than the box kind.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese dinner with noodles



Make even more convenience foods right at home! You’ll save money, control ingredients, and avoid expensive “fast foods” when you start making your own favorite convenience foods. Click on here to find out about our informative resource Homemade Convenience Foods – and dig into over 200 recipes for handy convenience foods you can make at home.

Eliminate those prepackaged foods from your pantry, eat healthier and cheaper while still cooking fast. Order your copy today!





Homemade Pizza Bread

We’ve had pizza bread for dinner around here for as long as I can remember. We’ve made it with toast, English Muffins, tortilla pizza etc. My  personal favorite though is French Bread Pizza. My friend Christine – The Menu Mom was kind enough to share this recipe with us.

French Bread Pizza
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • ½ C pizza sauce
  • 1-2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • favorite pizza toppings
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice a loaf of French bread in half, and arrange the halves on a cookie sheet. Brush a small amount of olive oil on each half of bread, and bake for 4-5 minutes until lightly golden.
  2. Spread ¼ C of pizza sauce on each half of the bread, and sprinkle each half with ¼-1/2 C mozzarella. Arrange your favorite pizza toppings on top of the cheese. Top with remaining mozzarella.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.


For the pizza bread below I used some leftover spaghetti meat sauce and sliced up some roma tomatoes. These are great for using up left overs.

French bread pizza with hamburger pepperoni tomato and melted cheese

Spinach and Pasta

I love simple dishes that can be trown together in minutes. This particular one  is healthy and perfect for those days when you’re eating a little healthier and cutting out meat. It’s also quite frugal. Feel free to use any cheese you like with this dish.

This recipe comes from my good friend Christine – The Menu Mom. I highly recommend her meal planning service.

Spinach Pasta Toss

  • 1 can  (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups  multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup  water
  • 1 pkg.  (9 oz.) baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup  Italian cheese

Spinach pastaBring tomatoes, pasta and water to boil in large saucepan; stir. Cover; simmer on medium-low heat 10 min. or just until pasta is tender.

Add half the spinach; simmer, covered, 2 min. or just until wilted. Stir. Repeat with remaining spinach.

Serve topped with cheese.

Vegetable Chow Mein Recipe

Chow Mein is a very versatile recipe and you can tweak this basic vegetable version to include various meats, seafood and of course you can use all sorts of different vegetables in this. Got some leftover broccoli? Throw it in there. Green beans or snow peas on sale at the grocery store this week, include those.

  • 1 – 14 oz package of chow mein noodles (or spaghetti)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 julienned carrot
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped bean sprouts

Start by cooking the noodles according to the package directions, drain them and set them aside. I like to put them back in the pot and cover them with a plate or a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm while I’m cooking up everything else.

While the noodles are cooking, you can prepare your sauce. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil in a bowl and set aside.

With everything prepared, get out your large skillet or wok and heat the oil over medium high heat. One of the reasons I love these dishes is that they cook very quickly because it’s prepared over rather high heat cooked in a little bit of oil. The high temperature cooks these veggies super quick.

Add the julienned carrots, ginger and garlic to the pan and saute until the carrots have softened.

Once the veggies start to soften, add your cooked noodles and sauce. Stir until heated through. Add the bean sprouts and cook for a few minutes more.

Serve and enjoy.

Easy Tortilla Crust Pizza

I have a busy schedule and pizza is always an option but ordering out still takes a while for delivery so one day I made pizza using tortillas instead of dough..

Spray your pan with non stick cooking spray….place tortilla on pan add sauce …whatever you like on it…and cheese…place in oven 400…til cheese is melted and tortilla is crisp usually about ten min…and now you’ve got a prefect thin crust pizza…no more store bought our call in delivery for us….you can also make ahead and freeze the pizza..just place pan in freezer till frozen and put in freezer bag…when want pizza just spray pan and their it in oven..so simple.

(Thank you, Pauline Brookins, for sharing this super easy thin crust pizza recipe.)

My Thoughts on Homemade Tortilla Pizza

I’ve made these in the past, but completely forgotten about them. We had them for dinner last night. I used store-bought tortillas last night, but you can certainly make them with homemade flour tortillas as well.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Tortilla Pizza
Recipe type: Main
  • flour tortillas
  • pizza sauce
  • toppings
  • shredded cheese
  1. Heat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Put a flour tortilla on a pizza pan. Spread tomato or pizza sauce on the tortilla then add your favorite toppings and cheese.
  3. Bake for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges of the tortilla start to brown.

I made these last night. Here are a few pictures:

Let’s start with some Salami Pizza.

Before baking

And here’s what it looked like when it came out of the oven.

This one is very kid-friendly. You could also use pepperoni or make just cheese pizzas.

For myself, I got a little more adventurous with black olives, ham and fresh basil leaves.

Here’s what it looked like when it came out of the oven… the basil didn’t look so pretty, but still tasted really good. I think I’ll add them only at the last minute of baking next time I make these.

The Pizzas where a big hit for dinner and we’ll be making them again very soon.


Cheapie Cavatini

Use any amounts you like, this is just what I do for a quick dinner.

16 oz rotini noodles, uncooked
cook, drain and rinse

stir in 1 can black olives, drained
1 pkg pepperoni
1 jar spaghetti sauce

add whatever else you like!

Homemade Pizza

The great thing about making your own pizza is that you can top it with whatever you like. This is also a fun family activity!

Homemade Pizza Crust:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2tbsp. shortening
  • 1/4tsp. salt
  • 1 package yeast (fast acting)
  • 3-6 cups of flour (depending on the size of the pizza you are making)

Dissolve yeast into the hot water. Add remaining ingredients with the water.
You should have a ball of dough if done correctly.
Divide the dough in half and spread onto pizza pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Spread sauce over crust (recipe follows).

Homemade Pizza Sauce:

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 chopped green peppers
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on low for about 1 hour.
Spoon over crust and add your favorite cheese and other toppings.

Bake completed pizza in oven at 350 degrees again until cheese is melted and pizza is hot.

Make even more convenience foods right at home! You’ll save money, control ingredients, and avoid expensive “fast foods” when you start making your own favorite convenience foods. Click on here to find out about our informative resource Homemade Convenience Foods – and dig into over 200 recipes for handy convenience foods you can make at home.

Eliminate those prepackaged foods from your pantry, eat healthier and cheaper while still cooking fast. Order your copy today!

Noodles Eggs And Hotdogs Skillet Meal

  • 1 package (or recipe) wide egg noodles
  • 2 T. oil, margarine, or butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 package hot dogs, sliced into 1/2″ wheels
  • 4 eggs (may use more or less as desired)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook egg noodles. Meanwhile, heat oil in large frying pan and saute onions until translucent. Add hot dog wheels and brown. Beat eggs with salt and pepper. Drain noodles and add to frying pan. Stir, then add egg mixture and stir. Cook until eggs are done.

My mother used to make this for us in the years following WWII. It became one of our “comfort food” dishes, especially with ketchup.

Mac 'n Cheese Made With Reconstituted Powdered Milk

Credit for this recipe goes to the  University of Illinois Extension – Family Nutrition Program and our friend, Julie Henry, who asked the question – How long does reconstituted powdered milk stay fresh in refrigerator?

In my research, and in my experience, the answer is: Reconstituted (prepared) powdered milk will last, if it is covered and refrigerated at 40 degrees F, 3 to 5 days.

And, I found the great recipe I've posted here.  Thank you, Julie, for asking!

I found this recipe particularly interesting because you actually cook the macaroni in the milk; you don't cook it ahead of time in water.  If you use whole wheat noodles, just think of all the nutrition that stays in the dish instead of getting washed down the drain in the cooking water.

Try this recipe but be sure to tweak it to suit your family's taste, and budget.  Velveeta-style cheese works just fine, but you can add more flavor if you wish with Parmessan cheese or sharp Cheddar cheese.  I just use up what I have on hand.  You may also want to add some tomatoes, onion, or even leftover meat or chicken.  Once you have the basic recipe, you can turn it inside out and upside down!

Mac 'n Cheese

  • 1 quart prepared (reconstituted) nonfat dry milk
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 2 cups cheese, shredded or finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Pour milk into large pot and put over medium heat, bringing just to a 'bubble' (do not boil hard).
Turn burner heat down to low and stir in the uncooked macaroni.
Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
Stir in butter or margarine, cheese, and salt; stir gently so butter and cheese melts.
Pour mac and cheese mixture into a baking dish.
Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until browned on top.

You can add buttered bread crumbs to the top for a crunchy topping if you wish.

This Mac 'n Cheese dish is so easy to make, you may never again buy one of those boxed mixes!

p.s.  If you have questions about reconstituting (preparing) powdered milk, click here for more information: Reconstituting Powered Milk

Cheesy Baked Ziti

  • 3 3/4 cups ziti mostaccioli (about 12 oz.)
  • 1 48-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning dried crushed
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 16-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley dried, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded (about 1 cup)

This recipe makes 6 servings.

Lightly grease a 3-quart oblong baking dish. Cook ziti or mostaccioli in salted water according to package directions, cooking for the minimum suggested time; drain.

In a medium bowl or in the jar, stir together spaghetti sauce and herb seasoning. Remove 2 cups and set aside. Stir remaining mixture into pasta. Place half of the pasta mixture in baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese on top.

In a medium bowl, beat egg. Stir in ricotta. Parmesan, parsley and salt until blended. Spread in dish over mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining pasta. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Spread remaining spaghetti sauce evenly to edges of dish, coating all pasta. Cover loosely and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Bake casserole, uncovered, in a preheated 350° oven for 55 minutes or until very hot in center and edges are bubbly. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 3 to 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Serve with a large spoon.

Baked Ziti Pasta

Beefy Baked Ziti

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup onions chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning dried crushed
  • 1/16 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces ziti (1 cup)
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese low-moisture part-skim, shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese grated

This recipe makes 4 servings

Preheat oven to 350°. In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, brown beef with onion and garlic, breaking up meat as it browns.

Stir in water, tomato paste, herb seasoning and pepper. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.

Meanwhile, cook ziti according to package directions; drain. Stir ziti into beef mixture. Spoon into a 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is hot and bubbly.

Homemade Egg Noodles

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • pinch of salt

Place flour and salt into a large bowl. Beat eggs and milk together in a small bowl and pour into the large flour bowl. Add butter last and mix

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead dough until it smooths out (about 5 minutes) and place back into the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Add some more flour to your work surface and turn out the dough.Roll the dough out flat until it is only about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into whatever length or width you need.

Let the strips air dry. Boil in salted water for about 3 minutes.

*Tip: A quick and easy way to cut neat lines in your dough is to use a pizza wheel.

Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Boil macaroni until it is fork tender and drain. Grate cheese while macaroni is boiling. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Put a layer of macaroni into the bottom of the dish. Add a few pats of butter on top of the macaroni. Then a layer of sharp cheese. Complete layers to the top of the dish with a layer of cheese on top. Pour milk over the top and salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Everyone loves mac and cheese and this is the easiest and best recipe to try. You won’t be disappointed.

Recommended – Crockpot Cooking Made Simple

Ready to learn more about crockpot cooking? Get my Crockpot Cooking Made Simple ebook today and find out how you can work this into your meal plan, how to choose a good crockpot and most importantly how to convert your favorite recipes to work in a slow cooker.


Homemade Macaroni & Cheese Recipes

Easy Macaroni And Cheese:

  • 1 lb box elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb extra sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1 qt milk
  • salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil macaroni until it is fork tender and drain.
Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Place a layer of macaroni. Cut butter into small pieces and place some on top of macaroni followed by a layer of cheese.
Continue until your dish is full. Pour milk on top and bake for 1 hour.
Macaroni Salad:

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1/2cup Kraft Miracle Whip salad dressing
  • 1 medium chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Boil macaroni until fork tender and drain. Cool the macaroni and add salad dressing,tomato,celery,onion,salt and sugar. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

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Baked Mostaccioli

  • 1 cup onions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons parsley dried flakes, crushed*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes undrained
  • 2 teaspoons oregano dried leaves, crushed*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil leaves dried, crushed*
  • 1 cup petite peas thawed
  • 1 8-ounce package mostaccioli (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded (about 1 cup)

This recipe makes 6 servings.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 2-quart oblong baking dish.

In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, saute onion in oil until almost tender. Add parsley and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, place tomatoes with juice in a blender container. Cover and blend until tomatoes are chopped. Add to sauted vegetables along with oregano, sugar and basil. Cook and stir for 12 minutes.

Stir in peas. Cook 3 to 5 minutes longer or until mixture is reduced and thickened.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a second skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain off fat. Sprinkle with salt.

In a large bowl, stir together pasta, meat and one-half of the sauce. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta and Parmesan cheese.

To assemble, place half of the pasta mixture in baking dish. Spread with ricotta mixture. Add remaining pasta mixture and top with remaining sauce.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until very bubbly.

Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Bake 3 to 5 minutes longer or until mozzarella melts.

*If using fresh, use three times the amount of dried herb or to taste. Fresh herbs should be chopped or minced.

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