Tag Archives: macaroni cheese

Macaroni cheese

Hubby and I were on babysitting duties, so we decided that instead of taking the easy way out and ordering in, we were going to make something. We needed something that was quick and easy and decided to turn to one of our favourite recipe books, The Hairy Bikers One Pot Wonders and seeing as our grandson loves pasta, we settled on their Macaroni Cheese recipe.

This is their thoughts on this dish:

"Yes, mac 'n' cheese all in one pot! No faffing about making a cheese sauce. The dish works because the starch from the pasta is released and combines with the milk and water to thicken the sauce. Magic!


1 tsp olive oil
15g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
100g smoked bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried thyme
500g macaroni
750 ml whole milk
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
200g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and black pepper

How did I get on?

The first step was straightforward, heat the olive oil and butter in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion and bacon and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Turn up the heat, then continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and has rendered out much of its fat. Don’t worry if the onion browns, it will add to the flavor.

Next we had to stir in the garlic and thyme. We did get some fresh thyme out of our garden, rather than using the dried thyme. The macaroni was then added, with the milk and water, then stir in the mustard. We had some single cream left over, so we substituted some of the milk for that.

Mustard going in. We forgot the macaroni(!) so that was added after!

We had to bring this to the boil and leave it to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the macaroni is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. It needs a loose texture so you need to add a little more milk or water if necessary. Then we had to preheat the grill.

Finally, add the tomatoes and 150g of the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted, then leave the pan over a low heat for a further five minutes and the last step was to sprinkle over the remaining cheese and put the dish under the grill until the cheese has melted and browned.


This dish was very easy to make, we found that it was best to keep stirring the macaroni so it didn’t stick to the bottom of the casserole dish. The flavour was delicious, the tomatoes just popped in your mouth. This served four people, so there was plenty for us two and a little mouth and the leftovers still taste great when you have it for lunch the next day. But don’t take my word for it, Harry liked it too!

Just as an aside, we used a Le Creuset casserole dish, it may be a little more expensive than your normal dish, but it retains the heat really well, it is easy to clean and the food stays warmer for longer on the table, plus it comes in lots of amazing colours!

Le Creuset casserole dish

Creamy butternut squash pasta bake


I’ve never been fond of Macaroni Cheese, I’m not sure why, but this dish has never appealed to me, but after mooching through Tom Kerridge’s book, A Fresh Start, I saw this recipe for Creamy Butternut Squash pasta bake. I like butternut squash, so I thought I would give it a go.



575 calories per serving

  • 1kg butternut squash, cut into chunks (about 2 cm)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g macaroni
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce

  • 60g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 60g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the topping

  • A handful of sage leaves
  • 40g sun-blushed tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin oil (or use olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

How did I get on?

The first thing that needed to be done was to cut the butternut squash into chunks. So for that, I called upon my husband, or rather my husband volunteered as he didn’t want to see me chop my fingers off!  Here’s how he got on:

After he had cut up the butternut squash, not quite as fast as in the video, we put it on a roasting tray, drizzled it with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, where it cooked on the top shelf for 25 minutes at 220ºC/Gas 7.

Once it was cooked and cooled, then comes my favourite part, you put three quarters into a blender and blitz it together.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the macaroni until al dente.

For the sauce, melt the better, add the floured stir for one minute. Then add the milk and whisk until it thickens slightly. Then add the Parmesan and nutmeg and stir until the cheese has melted. Grab your butternut squash puree and stir it through. That’s the most difficult part over with!


Drain the macaroni, add to the sauce and stir well. Tip into a deep baking dish and scatter over the rest of the butternut squash, sage, sun-blushed tomatoes and breadcrumbs. Drizzle with the oil.

This is placed in the middle shelf of the one, turning on the oven grill at the same time (I have to admit, I forgot to do this!).

Bake for ten minutes and then take out and scatter the pumpkins seeds evenly over the surface and return to the oven for a further five minutes.


The finished dish

This dish was very tasty, a change from your normal macaroni cheese dish. It wasn’t hard to prepare, the most tricky bit being the sauce. There wasn’t much preparation apart from the butternut squash, so once you had prepared and roasted this, the rest didn’t take very long at all.

This makes enough for six people, so if that’s too much, you can freeze it and just defrost it and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes.