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Broccoli and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

March 31, 2011

Mac & cheese. Oh how I love mac & cheese.

It’s one of my favorite foods on the planet (besides chocolate). Whenever it’s cold outside or I need some comfort or I’m hungry or it’s a day that ends in ‘y’, I turn to mac & cheese. I’ve had to impose mac & cheese limits on myself to keep from eating it every day of the week. I love it so much I would run away with mac & cheese and never look back.

Can you believe that until maybe 3 or 4 years ago I’d never cooked anything other than the boxed kind? Believe it. The first time I tried to make bechamel-based mac & cheese, it was a total failure. Clumps everywhere. But I love mac & cheese so much I kept trying, and you know what? It’s not hard. And the homemade stuff tastes way better than the box kind.

Let me be clear: This is stove-top mac & cheese. (Oven baked mac & cheese is dead to me.) It’s a creamy, cheesy mac & cheese with broccoli (to make it healthy) and just the right amount of spicy kick from the pepper jack cheese to warm you from the inside.

It’s perfectly delicious and satisfying comfort food that will solve all your problems and bring about world peace.

OK maybe not that last part, but it’s definitely delicious.

Broccoli & White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Printable Recipe
Serves 2-4 as a main dish, 4-6 as a side

Buy blocks of cheese and grate it yourself. It makes a world of difference! The pre-shredded stuff just doesn’t melt as smoothly. Plus, the more calories you burn shredding cheese, the more mac & cheese you can eat.

Ingredients

3 cups frozen baby broccoli florets
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 cups milk
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
2 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
salt to taste

Directions

Microwave broccoli florets in a large, microwave safe bowl according to package instructions until tender (usually 4-5 minutes). Drain off any water and set aside.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add elbow macaroni. Boil according to directions until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to form a paste (roux). Cook 1-2 minutes to eliminate raw flour taste. Slowly pour in milk, whisking briskly to remove lumps. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly, until milk mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in shredded cheese. Add salt to taste.

Add drained macaroni back to pot. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni, add broccoli, and stir to combine. Devour.

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35 Comments
  1. March 31, 2011 6:58 pm

    This looks heavenly! I LOVE mac & cheese!

  2. March 31, 2011 7:31 pm

    My mom only ever made stovetop mac and cheese when I was a kid, and so while I”m OKAY with the baked stuff…this is the comfort food that my dreams are made of. Looks luscious.

  3. The Single Girl permalink
    March 31, 2011 8:24 pm

    This looks amazing…I may have to try in the upcoming week :)

  4. April 1, 2011 12:43 am

    Broccoli in mac and cheese, what a brilliant idea! Will definitely try this…..!! Yums!

  5. April 1, 2011 3:37 am

    I agree. Baked Macaroni and Cheese has never appealed to me. I’m still on my search for the perfect stove top version so yours just might be next! It looks perfectly creamy and dreamy. :)

  6. April 1, 2011 10:54 am

    I’m really excited to try your recipe, because I’ve been searching for a great stovetop recipe (the baked kind isn’t my cup of tea either) and so far haven’t landed on the right one. Yours looks creamy and awesome.

  7. Renee permalink
    April 2, 2011 3:06 pm

    Remind me not to read your website when I’m hungry :)

  8. April 3, 2011 6:58 am

    Love the addition of broccoli in mac & cheese.

  9. April 3, 2011 10:50 pm

    What’s up with all the baked mac and cheese haters? I like all kinds of mac and cheese, but I like the baked kind a bit more. :P

    Last week I really wanted to find some kind of cheesy broccoli casserole recipe and I couldn’t find anything that didn’t look gross. This however, looks delicious, so I think I’m going to make this but bake it with some bread crumbs on top. Yum!

    • The Craving Chronicles permalink*
      April 4, 2011 8:14 am

      I mean, I would eat it if it’s the only kind of mac & cheese available. I didn’t grow up eating baked mac & cheese though, so I prefer the stovetop kind. I find it creamier and cheesier than the oven baked kind. :)

  10. April 4, 2011 6:42 pm

    I have got to try this. It looks delicious!

  11. April 4, 2011 9:38 pm

    Oh, yum! My father always adds veggies to his mac & cheese – makes him feel virtuous! I’m going to have to give this a try…

  12. nora permalink
    April 4, 2011 10:59 pm

    All I can say is wow. That looks amazing. I think we may be kindred spirits.

  13. April 5, 2011 8:32 am

    Yum!!! This is making me hungry!

  14. April 5, 2011 3:12 pm

    This looks great! Fantastic recipe.

  15. Lacey permalink
    April 6, 2011 1:11 am

    May I just say that when I stumbled this page and saw the opening line, I was hooked. I finally feel like someone out there understands my deep and undying love for mac & cheese :)

  16. José Baig permalink
    April 6, 2011 3:53 am

    Hi!
    I love this recipe. I fact I did it a couple of weeks ago for my blog lacocinitadepapa.com (dad’s little kitchen). Have a look and let me know what you think. http://lacocinitadepapa.com/2011/03/18/macarrones-con-queso-macaroni-cheese/

    Congratulations!

  17. April 7, 2011 2:39 pm

    Hey Theresa,

    This mac & cheese looks delicious! (I prefer stovetop to baked as well–it’s gooier.) Random: I lived in the Shenandoah Valley for a couple years, it’s such a beautiful area.

    Nicole
    nomjar.tumblr.com

  18. April 7, 2011 3:38 pm

    So simple, yet why I haven’t I done it yet? Love the pepper jack cheese.

  19. April 7, 2011 5:38 pm

    I love broccoli in my mac and cheese (two of my favorite foods)! I grew up with the baked version but this looks awfully good and I will have to give it a try.

  20. April 13, 2011 8:30 pm

    This looks like such a comforting dish. I mixed mac n cheese and broccoli together for the first time last week and loved it.

  21. GSmooth permalink
    April 16, 2011 12:35 am

    Sorry……..mac and cheese with broccoli is like pizza with brussel sprouts. Secondly, TRUE mac and cheese fanatics know that true mac and cheese is just that………..mac and cheese…….butter and milk. Flour? Uh….no.

    • Natalie permalink
      April 16, 2011 4:28 pm

      You have to make a ROUX for your mac and cheese or it will be thin a watery… I don’t know where you learned to cook but I would take a refresher course somewhere else.

    • Phie permalink
      June 20, 2011 12:07 am

      Broccoli and cheese are a great combination, and why not give an unhealthy recipe a kick by adding a bit of nutrition (especially if the broccoli is steamed!)? I’m not generally a mac & cheese type of person, but this recipes makes me want to try it because of the broccoli (which is one of my favourites) and pepper jack cheese.
      Plus, ‘mac & cheese’ can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it has some sort of macaroni and cheese in it it. Adding flour to it gives it a thicker sauce, which allows for a creamier taste. Majority of cheese/cream sauces include flour, so it is not unusual (and if you look at other recipes for mac & cheese, you will see this).

  22. April 17, 2011 6:15 pm

    Yum! And it seems so much healthier adding that little bit of broccoli in! I love it!

  23. April 26, 2011 11:52 am

    Now this is something different, white cheddar on a mac and cheese. And the broccoli is a brilliant idea, I cant wait to try this at home.

  24. Brandon P permalink
    April 28, 2011 11:07 pm

    Added some peppered bacon bits to the top of this YUM. Great recipe!

  25. April 29, 2011 11:20 am

    This looks really tasty. I like the idea of adding vegetables :)

  26. Jessica permalink
    May 9, 2011 5:12 pm

    I’m prepping the ingredients for this right now–so excited to try it tonight for dinner!

  27. Lauren permalink
    May 9, 2011 6:53 pm

    This recipe looked delicious and I had high hopes that it would taste the same. I love mac and cheese so it was right up my alley. I was disappointed, however. Now let me say that life is full of opinions and many would disagree, but I found this bland and uninteresting. I was surprised because I spent some money and purchased an excellent sharp cheddar imported from Ireland and some nice pepper jack (and used more of both than was called for because I wanted this to be REALLY cheesy), but it didn’t matter; the flavor was lackluster and disappointing. I didn’t even want to eat it as is and threw some drops of my favorite, flavorful hot sauce on top and mixed it in, but it didn’t help. Again, I realize that everyone’s taste is different, but I didn’t care for this recipe at all.

  28. Mason permalink
    May 26, 2011 9:29 pm

    I just tried this recipe, but I ended up using some habanero cheddar instead of white cheddar. It was SO spicy, but also very delicious. I think next time ill try it your way with the white cheddar.

  29. Alan permalink
    June 6, 2011 2:59 am

    Looks good, but I couldn’t be bothered with converting ounces to grams and pounds to kilograms. I thought you people in the Northern hemisphere had decimalised some years back. What happened?

    • Sammie permalink
      June 20, 2011 12:10 am

      You are blaming your laziness on the Northern Hemisphere?

      Sad.

  30. emilyflippinmaruna permalink
    June 6, 2011 7:03 pm

    This looks super yummy! I’ve listed it in a lunch post on my blog, The Handmade Experiment. http://emilyflippinmaruna.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/must-make-monday-lets-do-lunch/

    Thanks!

  31. June 23, 2011 11:16 pm

    I love “Macaroni and Trees” as my mom deemed mac & cheese with broccoli. This recipe sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it! I’ll probably use a little less milk and toss in a little fat free sour cream to add a little zip.

    As a vegesaurus, this is one of my go to comfort dinners when it’s just me at home. (paired with some extra fruit or veggies somewhere, of course :) )

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