Creamy macaroni and cheese casserole recipe that also freezes & reheats well

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You know what I love about macaroni and cheese? It can be a side dish at a potluck or the main meal for dinner. Leftovers always taste better the next day, and it freezes well. It may be one of the most versatile dishes I make. The recipe below is no exception. This sauce is super creamy, thanks to the addition of cream cheese, making it the perfect template for whichever meal you need next.
I like to keep the basic recipe vegetarian, which allows me to go any way I like with it. Sometimes I'll add shredded chicken and other times it will be cooked bacon. When I'm looking to sneak some extra vegetables into my diet, I'll add sautéed spinach or broccoli. The possibilities are endless, so have some fun with it.
Cooktop Cove
Creamy macaroni and cheese casserole
5 minutes
30 minutes
35 minutes
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13 casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook until the mixture starts to brown, about 3 minutes.
Slowly add the milk in a steady stream. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the milk has thickened.
Add the cream cheese and cook until melted.
Add the cheddar and monterey jack cheeses, one handful at a time, whisking until the cheese is melted before adding the next handful.
Add the hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta, stirring to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and bake until the sauce is bubbly, about 20 minutes.
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