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Easy, Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Shauna loves food that tantalizes the taste buds. She experiments with textures and flavors when creating dishes from scratch.

This creamy baked mac and cheese is so easy to make!

This creamy baked mac and cheese is so easy to make!

Mac and cheese is an all-time favorite in the culinary world of comfort foods.

I created this recipe years ago. It saves you the time of making a béchamel sauce and employing the precise measurements and constant stirring that process entails.

Every time I serve this dish, I get rave reviews and am asked for the recipe. At first I wanted to keep it a secret, but—hey—give the people what they want, right? I’m not your grandma, but if your guests like this recipe, I’d appreciate credit where credit is due.

Ready? Here we go!

Oh, wait, I'm not quite ready. I have to tell you I usually just eyeball the measurements in this recipe. After all, when recipes are born of imagination and experimentation, there are no rules—just eyes and taste buds. However, knowing I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you I made it a point to take note of my approximate measurements.

Ok. Now we’re ready...

Cook Time: What You Need to Know

  • Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 to 40 minutes
  • Start to finish: 50 to 60 minutes
  • Serves: 4 people (or plenty of leftovers for yourself)
  • Calories: Yes
  • Nutritional value: Comfort food for the soul
Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups dry noodles (I like to mix shells with elbows. The shells capture the cheese.)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10½-ounce) can cream of celery soup, undiluted (i.e., DON’T add water! I use Campbell’s Healthy Request; it’s lower in sodium, fat, and calories)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3+ cups shredded cheddar cheese (I sometimes do 1/2 cheddar and 1/2 blend of Monterey Jack, cheddar, and Muenster.)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, quartered lengthwise (they’re shaped like footballs)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: How to Make the Magic

  1. Boil the noodles in salted water until just al dente. You don’t want the noodles to be fully cooked because they’re going to finishing cooking in the oven.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
  3. Drain the noodles and place in an oven-proof casserole dish, at least 3-quart capacity.
  4. Add the butter and stir until melted.
  5. Add the soup and coat the noodles well. This is where eye-balling comes in. You don’t need the whole can. Add a spoonful at a time until all the noodles are coated.
  6. Add the milk, stirring to mix. You want it to be soupy at this point (see photo). It’ll thicken up when you add the cheese.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste. You shouldn’t need a lot of salt because the cream of celery is a tad salty, as is cheddar cheese, so taste before you salt.
  8. Add the cheese in batches, mixing well between each addition. When it’s pretty thick with cheese, but still creamy, you’re good.
  9. Smooth out the top and line the perimeter of the dish with tomatoes. Run them up the center as well. The tomatoes add moisture and a zingy taste to the dish.
  10. Place the casserole dish in the oven, uncovered and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cheese bubbles and the tomatoes start to blister (wrinkle).
  11. Take out of the oven (don’t forget the oven mitts!) and cover until ready to serve. This will allow the juices to combine and the mac to remain creamy.
  12. Enjoy!

I'd Like to Hear From You

How Do You Rate This Recipe?

© 2020 Shauna L Bowling

Comments

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2020:

Nell, it's really easy to make and so tasty. Every time I get a comment on this recipe it makes me crave mac and cheese all over again!

Nell Rose from England on April 22, 2020:

I am a useless cook these days, lol! but even I think I can try this. I love Mac and Cheese!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 18, 2020:

Flourish, I agree with you. I find myself leaning towards comfort foods myself these days. I made this recipe the weekend after I posted it and it really hit the spot. The tomatoes is what gives it such yummy flavor.

Stay safe!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 17, 2020:

With all this extra time on our hands this sounds like a good recipe to try. Comfort food like this is the best in times like this.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 01, 2020:

Mitara, I'm so pleased to hear this recipe is a hit with your family! Thank you for coming back with the verdict!

Be safe.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 01, 2020:

Mar, I've been on a comfort kick lately. I guess that's how I'm dealing with this situation.

Tomatoes add a nice zing to the mac. Let me know if Chef Geoff gives it a shot.

I hope you're staying well. I loved the audio email you sent the other day. Great way to stay in touch!

Love,

Sha

Mitara N from South Africa on April 01, 2020:

Shauna, I promised to get back to you.

You have out done yourself on this recipe, it is now my children's favourite, and on my list of supper ideas for the week.

To all, this recipe is magic

Take care and be safe

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on March 31, 2020:

This recipe looks extremely dreamy and creamy, dear Sha. I actually love the idea of adding tomatoes.

I will be passing this to Chef Geoff - comfort food is "right on time".

Love you and HUGS, mar

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 20, 2020:

You're absolutely right, Dora. With the black pepper and tang of the Roma tomatoes, very little added salt is needed. If you try this recipe, let me know if it satisfied your taste buds.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 20, 2020:

I love the addition of the celery soup for flavoring. I would hardly need to add anymore salty seasonings. Thanks for the recipe.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 17, 2020:

You're welcome, James. Who doesn't love mac n cheese?! It's one of my guilty pleasures. I hope you enjoy it!

James A Watkins from Chicago on March 17, 2020:

I love Mac N Cheese and I will try your recipe. Thank you for it.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 17, 2020:

RoadMonkey, I always add sliced tomato to my grilled cheese sandwiches and thought why not do the same with mac and cheese? It's yummy and so much easier than making a cheese sauce the old fashioned way. Takes less time, too.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think if you try this recipe.

Have a great day and be healthy!

RoadMonkey on March 16, 2020:

What an interesting version of mac n cheese. I always make mine the old fashioned way but it takes some time. This sounds an easy way to make it, with a slightly different taste.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Now you're talking, Girlfriend! HorsD'ovres and a game of Scrabble? Yes, please!

Suzie from Carson City on March 16, 2020:

I have to eat it all myself?? Gee.....what a shame. If you don't eat dessert very often, WHY am I bringing dessert?? How about HorsD'ovres instead? See ya at 6 !! Scrabble after dinner?

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Paula, I'm afraid you'll have to eat the whole damn thing yourself. I don't eat dessert very often - usually only on my birthday. And I'm not all that big on chocolate. I'm more the key lime pie, apple cobbler type. My favorite candy bar is Pay Day. What does that tell you?

Suzie from Carson City on March 16, 2020:

Chocolate cream pie with tons of whipped cream. Will that be OK? If not, I can probably eat the whole damned thing myself.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Paula, dinner can be whenever you want it to be! What's for dessert?

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Linda, I want some too! As I told Ruby, I took these pics long before I posted the recipe. Had I made it this weekend I'd be having some for lunch today. Guess I need to make mac n cheese next weekend.

Suzie from Carson City on March 16, 2020:

What time is dinner? I'll bring dessert.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Ruby, it is easy. Now I wish I had some. I actually took these pics long before I posted the recipe.

I was busy this weekend making corned beef and cabbage because I knew I wouldn't have time to do it thru the week. I think next on tap needs to be this mac n cheese recipe!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Bill, then I take it your response to my poll question is you'd rather eat the boxed stuff, huh? LOL

I've got plenty of food in my house, too. What we're lacking is toilet paper. As soon as it hits the shelves, the hoarders swarm leaving the rest of us empty handed. Sheesh!

Stay safe, my friend. Now is the time to appreciate the fact that you're an introvert!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on March 16, 2020:

I haven't had breakfast yet, and I want a big heaping bowl of this right now, calories be damned. Gosh, this sounds good sis. You can cook for me any time.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 16, 2020:

Now, who wouldn't try this dish? It looks soo good, and it seems easy to prepare. Count me in.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 16, 2020:

God I love mac n cheese. Bev and I were laughing yesterday. We have a case of mac n cheese in the cupboard, so we're good during the virus scare. lol Be safe my friend.

love,

bill

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

I look forward to their feedback, Mitara. Thanks!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Mike, I'm so sorry to hear that. I'll be over to your corner some time today to check out your latest post.

My sympathies to you and your family, my friend.

Mitara N from South Africa on March 16, 2020:

Will let the kids know that they brought a smile to your face. They will be so glad.

They like the little cherry tomatoes, it has a sweetish taste. Thats the only way I got them to eat some veggies :)

Plan on making it this week, so quick and easy. I will be sure to visit and give you some feedback

Mr Archer from Missouri on March 16, 2020:

Cheyenne, its been a long winter. I published my first article in six months last night, first time i've been on hubpages since October. Her father passed in October and we have been struggling ever since. Spring in springing and hopefully Life will allow us to get back on track. Thanks Cheyenne, for asking. Take care, ok

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Mitara, you've put a smile on my face. Please come back and let me know how you and your kids like this dish.

I'm actually surprised the tomatoes appeal to them. When I make it my son picks the tomatoes out. However, the flavor is still there, which is important. No worries, though. That just means more tomatoes for me!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2020:

Mike, it's so good to see you! How are you? How is your father in law? And your wife and son?

This mac recipe is so easy, Mike. I hope you enjoy it.

Mitara N from South Africa on March 16, 2020:

I will definitely be trying it,

especially for my kids, they saw it and said mum, you have to make this dish for us.

Mr Archer from Missouri on March 15, 2020:

I think, perhaps, I need to try this sooner than later! I enjoy a good mac n cheese and have never been able to make a homemade one that I really enjoy. This might be it. Thanks Cheyenne! Take care.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 15, 2020:

Barbara, it is delicious. I prefer creamy mac and cheese over dry mac. Too many mac and cheese recipes have cheese pull, but no moisture. This recipe satisfies both.

Thanks for checking it out!

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on March 15, 2020:

that looks so good!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 15, 2020:

Mitara, thank you for your comment. You're welcome and I hope you try it.

Mitara N from South Africa on March 15, 2020:

That looks delicious!

Thank you for sharing

manatita44 from london on March 15, 2020:

All right. I'm convinced! See you soon!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 15, 2020:

Manatita, we should all make sure we don't overindulge, but occasionally "giving in" is perfectly okay. You can always opt for gluten free pasta. The fact of the matter is, complex carbs such as found in pasta are essential to your body's metabolism. It's the sugars and starches that we need to curtail.

It's also been shown that full-fat is better than fat free because sugars are added to fat free foods. Those are the carbs we need to limit.

The tomato adds flavor in addition to nutrients such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

As for the cheese, well, that's what makes this dish a comfort food and perhaps a guilty pleasure. Frankly, I can't do without cheese in my diet.

The choice is yours, but this dish is delish!

manatita44 from london on March 15, 2020:

Seems 'cool.' Worry about the carbs though but looks great. You are very honest with your recipe.

Calories: Yes

Nutritional value: Comfort food for the soul.

I like that! Is it for women like me? Chuckle. The tomato idea is creative.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 15, 2020:

Umesh, the milk I used when creating this recipe was fat-free. The Hood brand, which I can't find anymore, actually had the consistency of 2% milk. Now, I use full-fat for this recipe and any others that call for milk. I actually only use cow's milk for recipes. For drinking and milking cereal, I use unsweetened almond milk.

Thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 15, 2020:

This is an interesting recipe. I would prefer to mix diluted milk rather then the whole one. High in calorie but would go once a while due to its deliciousness. Thanks.