Take-out Tuesday, Magic Mac & Cheese, 1-2-3

If you’re craving macaroni and cheese, don’t grab that blue box with powdered cheese~

macaroni 1 2 3 thepaintedapron.com

This recipe is just 3 ingredients, milk, pasta and cheese


Yep, really!   It is sorta magic…

mac and cheese thepaintedapron.com

Boil your pasta


Shred a flavorful cheese like smoked Gouda or extra sharp cheddar, or use a combo


Put well drained pasta into a greased baking dish and cover with cheese


Pour milk into dish until it just covers pasta.  Season with salt and pepper


Bake for 45 minutes or so

mac and cheese thepaintedapron.com

The milk and cheese marry to form a cheesy sauce and the top develops a crust

magic mac and cheese thepaintedapron.com

Pretty magical, yes?

magic mac & cheese 1 thepaintedapron.com


Magic Mac & Cheese, 1-2-3

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 4-6 oz smoked Gouda or extra sharp cheddar cheese or combo
  • 1-2 cups 2% milk
  • salt and pepper


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salting pasta water with 1 T of salt before adding pasta.* Cook pasta until just done, and drain well. While pasta is cooking grate the cheese and grease or spray casserole dish. Add drained pasta to dish. Cover with cheese and add enough milk to just cover pasta. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until set and golden


*salting water before cooking pasta makes the pasta much more flavorful
Keyword easy mac & cheese, mac & cheese, macaroni and cheese, pasta casserole

Juicy Details

Use any kind of pasta and cheese you like, and add breadcrumb topping if desired

Assemble ahead of time and refrigerate to bake later

Baking time will depend on size and temperature of dish, so check after 30 minutes and continue to watch every few minutes until done

Reheat leftovers in a covered casserole at 325


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Memories by the Mile

13 Responses to “Take-out Tuesday, Magic Mac & Cheese, 1-2-3”
  1. Lynn says:

    Cheesy crust sounds good:@)

  2. Mary says:

    Sounds wonderful and oh so easy Jenna! I like that this could be adapted to make just small amounts or individual ramekins of mac ‘n cheese too 🙂

  3. Ellen says:

    I think we all need to make a pot of this for tomorrow because it is going to be pretty cold. Of course, a lot of people are already cold. There is nothing like Macaroni and Cheese to warm the tummy and improve the mood.

  4. Wow…seriously…I always made the cheese sauce then poured over the pasta…this is great!…love an easy recipe!

  5. Kitty says:

    Wow, such an easy meal, Jenna! We all need these go-to recipes and this is a winner!

  6. I have been longing for mac and cheese. This recipe sounds easy and delicious, and I just happen to have smoked Gouda on hand.

  7. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Jenna,
    I love Pasta baked in the oven, your magic Mac N Cheese looks awesome. Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Real Soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. Miz Helen says:

    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great weekend and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  9. How delicious, it’s making my mouth water. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] family favorite is good ol’ macaroni and cheese…I have several easy recipes, Magic Mac & Cheese 1-2-3, Lightened Up Mac & Cheese, No Boil Mac & […]

  2. […] can’t go wrong with Magic Mac & Cheese 1-2-3, all you do is put cooked pasta in a dish and add cheese and milk and it bakes up like magic, no […]

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