A simplified version of your favorite comfort food!
Are you looking for a mouthwatering mac and cheese made with real cheese and whole wheat pasta that can be ready in just 20 minutes? Then look no further! This easy stovetop mac and cheese is exactly what you are looking for. With just 10 minute prep time and 10 minute cooking time, you may never feel the need to make boxed versions ever again. Why have mac and cheese made with bright yellow powdered cheese when you can have the real deal made with authentic ingredients? And no baking required!
All you have to do with this recipe is prepare your cheese sauce while the whole wheat pasta is cooking. Just add your milk, Neufchatel cheese, grated Parmesan, and cheddar, followed by the pasta, and voila– it’s ready to enjoy!
Mac and Cheese Origin Story
Ever since Kraft put mac and cheese in a box, every American child has grown up eating this iconic dish. While it certainly has Italian origins, mac and cheese is now as American as apple pie. The story goes that Thomas Jefferson brought back the recipe from his sojourn in Italy, along with a pasta maker. One evening he was hosting a dinner party and his daughter, Mary Randolph, made her version of the Italian dish with macaroni and Parmesan cheese for his guests. Of course, later on, Parmesan cheese would be replaced with cheddar cheese, most likely due to its affordability. But that’s the story of how we got this iconic dish!
Putting the Parmesan Back in Mac and Cheese
At some point, the mac and cheese recipe strayed away from its origins with the replacement of Parmesan with cheddar cheese. While there’s nothing wrong with that, the dish has become a bit one-dimensional. In this recipe, we kept the cheddar and brought back the Parmesan (and then even added in some Neufchatel cheese for good measure). Now we have a mac and cheese that’s got the sharp taste from the cheddar, the nuttiness from the Parmesan, and the creaminess from the Neufchatel. That’s what we call the perfect trifecta of cheeses for mac and cheese!
Stovetop Mac and Cheese Sides
While some might consider mac and cheese to be enough, I prefer a side dish to round out the table. With 21 grams of protein per portion, you don’t need to cook any meat or anything too complicated. Side dishes can be something easy that doesn’t require any cooking like sliced apples or carrots. I, however, prefer something with a little more flavor. With the richness and creaminess of this stove top mac and cheese, our herbed arugula and couscous salad with pistachios is fresh, easy to make, doesn’t take much time, and has all the flavors I enjoy in a side salad. Or you can go with an easy and delicious classic cucumber and tomato salad if you want to add a little crunch to your meal.
Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces whole wheat pasta
- 1 cup milk 2%
- 2 ounces Neufchatel cheese
- ½ cup parmesan grated
- ¾ cup cheddar cheese 2% shredded
- ¼ teaspoon mustard dried
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper ground
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the package. Save 1/4 cup pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the milk is heated, add in the Neufchatel cheese and stir until melted.
- Once the Neufchatel is melted, slowly whisk in the grated parmesan, followed by the shredded cheddar.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, add the it directly into the cheese sauce, do not rinse. Stir until combined. Add in 2 tablespoons of pasta water to loosen up the sauce if desired. Serve immediately.
Have you made this recipe?
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