Old-Fashioned Baked Macaroni Cheese Comfort

Updated on March 15, 2020
LiteraryMind profile image

I love to cook and try new foods and recipes. I try to do my best to incorporate healthy foods, but sometimes I need a little comfort food.

Old-fashioned baked macaroni
Old-fashioned baked macaroni | Source

Chewy and Delicious Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is baked macaroni and cheese, pure and simple—no three kinds of gourmet cheese, no sour cream, and (gasp) no truffle oil.

I have made this recipe over and over again throughout the years, and I love it. Everyone I serve it to loves it, too. It has just the right amount of cheese and bakes up with a nice crust (I do love a nice crust). The buttered bread crumbs on top add just the perfect amount of texture and flavor.

This is basically a Bechamel sauce to which we add cheese. I have always had the most success with either Velveeta or American cheese. I know these are not fancy, and some argue that they aren't even real cheese, but they make a great baked macaroni. Back when I first learned how to make this recipe, the supermarkets were not filled with as a wide an assortment of cheeses as we have today.

You can make this recipe with any shape of pasta you like, but somehow it just doesn't taste right to me unless it's made with elbow macaroni.

Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings


  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (regular or soy)
  • 4 ounces cheese (Velveeta or American)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup unflavored bread crumbs

Ounce-to-Gram Conversion

1 cup = 8 ounces


  1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions and drain.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over very low heat in a medium-size pot. As soon as it is melted, add flour and stir until smooth.
  3. Gradually add milk while stirring constantly. Raise the heat to medium. Keep stirring until mixture starts to thicken. The mixture show be about the consistency of unset pudding. If it's too loose, gradually sprinkle in some more flour. If it's too thick, add a little more milk.
  4. Add the cheese, salt, and tomato paste simmer and stir until the cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from the heat.
  6. Stir the elbow macaroni into the cheese sauce and pour into a greased oven safe dish.
  7. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs around the perimeter of the oven safe dish.
  8. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees on the center shelf of the oven until the top of the macaroni is browned, about 25 minutes.
Delicious and chewy!
Delicious and chewy! | Source

I Learned This Recipe in Home Ec

I learned how to make this recipe in my Home Economics class in junior high school (JHS 127, Bronx, New York). This was back when the boys took Woodworking or Electric Shop and the girls took Home Economics so that we could all be prepared for our (proper) roles in life. For teaching me how to make this baked macaroni, I am grateful. I am not as grateful for the only other Home Ec lesson I remember, which was how to scrub a tile bathroom floor on my hands and knees.

What were you required to take in junior high or 7th and 8th grade?

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NYC public school uniforms for Home Economics, 1950s
NYC public school uniforms for Home Economics, 1950s | Source

My junior high school was considered to be modern for the time; we were required to wear full aprons, but they could be the aprons of our choice.

If I had stayed in my kindergarten through 8th-grade school, PS 83, I would have been required to wear the apron I was taught to sew, by hand, in 6th grade. It was made of snow-white percale, which we would have been required to keep immaculately clean to show what good housekeepers we would become. We were allowed to pick out bias tape for the edges in whatever color we wanted. I picked kelly green.

But the hat, yes, hat. I'm not sure it was a hat. We made it to match the apron and it wrapped over our hair and tied underneath. It looked somewhat like a cross between a 19th-century nurse's hat or a nun's habit.

Do you find this hair covering stylish?

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1 star from 1 rating of Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Horn & Hardart: The Automat

Horn & Hardart
Horn & Hardart | Source

According to my Home Ec teacher, the above baked macaroni recipe was Horn & Hardart's secret recipe, which she surreptitiously acquired from the staff at their Parkchester (Bronx) take out store. (Their secret was the tomato paste, which no one else added).

Horn & Hardart operated the first automats in Philadelphia and New York City. Basically, they were the precursor to vending machines. You put your coin(s) in and a window would open and you could pull out your food item. People worked behind the glass doors, cooking and refilling the slots.

In December 1990, I ate at the last Horn & Hardart Automat on the corner on 42nd Street in New York. We went there as we knew it was scheduled to close soon, which it did in April 1991. By then, it was more of a cafeteria-style restaurant where you pushed your tray along and received food from servers on the other side.

A few items, like pie, were behind the glass doors. The little doors all had the original nickel slots, so I guess it was impractical to expect people to use as many nickels as it would take for higher-priced items.

© 2012 Ellen Gregory

Let me know you stopped by - Will you be making some baked macaroni?

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    • rockingretro2 profile image


      7 years ago

      My husband complains that my mac 'n cheese is too "fancy" so I will make this recipe to make him a very happy camper.

    • oddobjective profile image


      7 years ago

      I like to try different mac 'n cheese recipes. They are a family favorite.

    • BelleBanks profile image


      7 years ago

      Yum. I love homemade mac and cheese.

    • Mamabyrd profile image


      7 years ago from West Texas

      I am embarrassed to say that I love Kraft macaroni from a box. I really need to try this recipe. It looks delicious!

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 

      7 years ago from United States

      There are so many great mac and cheese recipes and this is another one to try. Thanks for the recipe. Love it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      First time I've seen tomato paste as an addition - can't wait to try it next time!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yummy, the macaroni looks so delicious.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      As an interesting read, I recommend it to my lenses.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      7 years ago

      Such a clever, wonderful, personalized recipe lens. Blessed, sent out by google plus and linked to my own comfort food lens - the chicken pie.

    • Jack2205 profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks delicious. I will try it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Now I know what I'm making for dinner tonight.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This baked macaroni and cheese looks wonderful.

    • Ardyn25 profile image


      7 years ago

      Your recipe looks awesome, I'll have to give it a go sometime. Thanks for posting it! Nothing beats home made mac and cheese.

    • MikeRobbers LM profile image

      MikeRobbers LM 

      7 years ago

      I love home made macaroni with cheese & the bread crumb crust .. thanks!

    • HenkWillemse profile image


      7 years ago

      I love macaroni and cheese, thanks for the great lens.

    • bwet profile image


      7 years ago

      very yummy looking lens. would love to eat them!

    • justmelucy profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens. Made me hungry. It also brought back some good memories in school. I love the bread crumb crust. Is there any other way?

    • natalier1210 profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome........ mac and cheese is my favorite food...... yumyum......yumyum.........yumyumyumyum. I Could go on for ever. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mmm... mac and cheese is definitely a comfort food of mine. Thanks kindly for sharing this - blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • queenofduvetcover profile image


      7 years ago

      oh my, that looks delicious!

    • thememorybooksh1 profile image


      7 years ago

      I love macaroni, thanks for the recipe.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 

      7 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Love mac & cheese and this recipe sounds great! OMG - Horn & Hardart's - I used to go to one in Washington DC with my grandmother! ~~Blessed~~

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 

      7 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Definitely comfort food...looks delicious. Enjoyed this lens.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      7 years ago

      I've rarely met a macaroni I didn't like, and this looks like a particularly lovable macaroni. Ah, cheese and carbs, putting all to rights in the world one dinner at a time ;)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This looks really delicious. Yum.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My recipe is very similar... except for the tomato paste. Thanks for showing the pic of the tomato paste tube, for future reference.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It sounds delicious - just the thing for a comfort food - simple and tasty

    • radhanathswamifan profile image


      7 years ago

      I love cheesy stuffs..

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      7 years ago

      We were at a restaurant last weekend where they had mac & cheese on the kiddie menu. It looked really good, and I noticed that a lot of adults were ordering it. Can't wait to try your recipe!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just reading this has made my mouth water! I love macarone, but never imagined it with cheese or milk. YUM! I bet it tastes like heaven. And the tomato sauce. My my, I want that. Good work!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yummy! I will be trying this recipe tonight, if I can wait that long. :-)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I did not grow up with baked macaroni so I have no hankering for it. I do it with the grandchildren as they love it. We have not used tomato paste yet.

    • Rosaquid profile image


      7 years ago

      I love the tomato paste idea. It would certainly add a savory touch. Thanks for sharing about the Automats. I've noticed them referred to in books. It was great to see the photo. Thanks for the lens and congrats on your well-earned Front Page honors!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      An old fashioned chewy baked mac and cheese sounds like it should come with a major comfort food alert, I think it should be made in a shallow container to get more of the yummy goodness on top. You surprised me with the tomato paste, that I can imagine adds a nice depth of reasons to want seconds!

    • JoAnneEvans LM profile image

      JoAnneEvans LM 

      7 years ago

      Old fashioned macaroni and cheese is my absolute favorite comfort food. This is the recipe that my mother passed on to me when I left home, some 25 years ago, except we don't add the tomato paste. The breadcrumbs is an added crunch to the smooth sauce and noodles. Great yummy lens!

    • Camden1 profile image


      7 years ago

      I can't wait to try this...I've been looking for a good, old-fashioned macaroni and cheese recipe!

    • jolou profile image


      7 years ago

      I love home made macaroni and cheese.

    • bigjara lm profile image

      bigjara lm 

      7 years ago

      wow this lens is making me super, super hungry!!


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