Easy dinner recipes: Three mac ‘n’ cheese dishes to celebrate Friday

It’s Friday. You made it. Celebrate with mac ‘n’ cheese.

Queen and Diva’s mac ‘n’ cheese: With no fewer than four types of cheese, mac ‘n’ cheese couldn’t get much better than this version. Extra rich and creamy, the secret ingredients include a can of mushroom soup and sour cream for tang. Assemble it ahead of time, if you’d like, then refrigerate until ready to bake.

Palazzio’s mac ‘n’ cheese: This take on the classic comfort food combines no fewer than three kinds of cheese, with some prosciutto thrown in for a little extra love. You’re welcome.

QUICK & EASY: 99 terrific recipes in about an hour or less

The Bistro’s mac ‘n’ cheese with grilled chicken: You want it all? This mac ‘n’ cheese has it. Grilled chicken, pancetta, bread crumb topping -- oh, and plenty of cheese. Yeah ....


You can find the recipes below.

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RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less


Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 12 to 16

Note: From Sebrena Smith and Sean Swayze.

1 pound bag elbow macaroni

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 pound Velveeta cheese

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup milk, or to taste

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

8 ounces goat cheese

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the package until al dente. Drain.

2. While the noodles are cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper. Whisk in the sour cream and melted butter.

3. Stir the macaroni into the bowl with the egg mixture and set aside.

4. In a large saucepan, heat the Velveeta cheese, cream of mushroom soup and the milk over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted and incorporated with the soup and milk to form a nice sauce consistency. Add additional milk to thin if the sauce is too thick. Remove from heat.

5. Stir the sauce in with the macaroni, then stir in half (1 cup each) of the cheddar and jack cheeses. Place the macaroni mixture into a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

6. Spoon the goat cheese in dollops over the macaroni mixture, then sprinkle over the remaining cheddar and jack cheeses.

7. Bake until the cheese topping is melted and the sauce is bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

Each of 16 servings: 458 calories; 20 grams protein; 27 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 30 grams fat; 18 grams saturated fat; 110 mg cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 1,023 mg sodium.


Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 8 to 12

Note: Adapted from Palazzio in Santa Barbara.

2 pounds penne pasta

2 cups heavy cream

4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

4 cups shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

3 ounces prosciutto, diced

5 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil.

2. Add the pasta to the water and cook to al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Drain.

3. While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl combine the heavy cream with 3 cups each of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, the Gorgonzola cheese, the prosciutto and the eggs.

4. After draining the pasta, turn it into a large bowl and toss with the cheese mixture to coat evenly. Spread the pasta into a 13-by-9-inch greased baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses over the pasta to top.

5. Cover the baking dish tightly with a greased layer of foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the topping is lightly browned, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

Each of 12 servings: 725 calories; 37 grams protein; 60 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 38 grams fat; 22 grams saturated fat; 199 mg cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 1,037 mg sodium.


Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: 8 to 10

Note: Adapted from The Bistro at Four Points by Sheraton Bakersfield.

Macaroni base

1 (1-pound) box Cellentani (corkscrew) pasta

1/4 cup minced shallot (2 large shallots)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 quart heavy cream

8 ounces Boursin Garlic and Fine Herb Gournay cheese, crumbled

1. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a medium, heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat until hot. Saute the shallots in the olive oil until lightly colored, then add the heavy cream. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and reduce by half, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Whisk in the crumbled cheese until melted and incorporated, then stir in the pasta.

4. Remove from heat and reserve the base, still in the pan, in a warm place.


4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Drizzle the chicken breasts with the olive oil, and season each side of each breast with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and rosemary. Grill the chicken over moderate heat until the flesh is firm and the juices run clear, and a thermometer inserted reads 165 degrees. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm until needed.

Mac ‘n’ cheese assembly

1/2 cup diced pancetta

2 tablespoons oil

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Prepared macaroni base

Prepared chicken

4 teaspoons chopped parsley

4 teaspoons white truffle oil

1. In a medium saute pan, cook the pancetta in the oil over medium-high heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes

2. Strain the pancetta, leaving any fat in the pan.

3. Heat the pan with the fat over medium-high heat and sprinkle over the bread crumbs.

4. Saute the bread crumbs until darkened and toasted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and drain the bread crumbs on a paper towel.

5. Heat the macaroni base over medium heat until hot, stirring frequently. While the base is heating, slice the chicken into strips.

6. Stir the chicken into the base, then stir in the crisp pancetta, parsley and white truffle oil, tossing to coat.

7. Divide the mac ‘n’ cheese among 4 serving bowls and top with the crisp bread crumbs. Serve immediately.

Each of 10 servings: 739 calories; 24 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 53 grams fat; 29 grams saturated fat; 204 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 278 mg sodium.


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