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Katie Davis



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April Recipe of the Month–Cheesy Goodness

Friday, April 29, 2011 @ 08:04 AM

021Although it is starting to get warmer (at least in most places in the country), I’d say this next recipe would maybe be more fitting for the cooler months of the year. However, I am also guessing there are many of you out there who are still craving some comfort food…, at least to curl up with and escape all this rain Mother Nature seems to be dumping on us this month.  I’m starting to figure that we are really not going to get a spring this year and rather immediately dive into summer weather come Mid May. But in the meantime, no sense breaking out those spring and summer recipes when there doesn’t seem to me much sign of that or even sunshine anytime soon.  NOT THAT I’M BITTER OR ANYTHING!

So when I first noticed this recipe in an issue of Food Network Magazine, I was immediately intrigued…, Mac and Cheese soup, really?  And if you know my better half at all, you know that mac and cheese and anything like it is his FAVORITE food…almost to a downfall. Winking smile  True, I like it just as much as the next person, but I am just a wee bit pickier. Still, I was so intrigued by this recipe as a soup. I figured it had to have a similar flavor but likely be a heck of a lot lighter than you average heavily cheesy pasta dish; and as an added bonus, after reading the directions it seemed rather simple and I thought it would be a great idea to whip up on a random chilly evening.

Mac and Cheese Soup

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 servings


  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ounces elbow macaroni (1 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 1/2-inch-thick slices baguette
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 3/4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook as the label directs; drain.

Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the tomato and baguette slices on it in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Bake until the bread is golden brown, about 7 minutes.

Mince the shallots, carrot and celery in a food processor. Mist a saucepan with cooking spray. Add the vegetables and cook over medium-high heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add the milk, cheeses and macaroni and stir until the cheeses melt. Season with pepper. Top the toasts with tomatoes; serve on the soup.

Per serving: Calories 476; Fat 20 g (Saturated 12 g); Cholesterol 84 mg; Sodium 636 mg; Carbohydrate 46 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 27 g

Photograph by Antonis Achilleos


I was surprised how easily this dish came together and really was quite a great alternative to just warming up a can of Campbell’s on a cold night.  I simply followed the directions and while I was cooking the noodles themselves I went about preparing the other ingredients, including toasting my baguette slices since they seemed a little too soft to be toppers.  I also was unable to find plum tomatoes at any of 3 grocery stores I tried, so I instead I substituted sundried tomatoes, which I would not do again because these really didn’t fit well with the whole texture.  That being said…, the tomatoes are not a major player in this dish…more of a garnish…. so if you can’t find them, no worries.


I was pleasantly surprised with how creamy and comforting this dish was.  While it does taste similar to Mac and Cheese, it is really just a really great flavored creamy and cheesy noodle soup, which of course are the 3 major things you want in comfort food…right? And that being said…, while it is cheesy and creamy, it is not so heavy that you can’t enjoy it or even feel guilty about it because it is much healthier than a huge bowl of the real deal. 

Adam also enjoyed this dish, and I agree with him in that it tasted MUCH better the second day.  Something about the shallot and cheese really sitting together for more time really helped the flavor expand and bind with the noodles.  Although this soup was far from bland on the night of, it didn’t wow us as much as it did for leftovers.  Still, definitely a winner in my book and a recipe I will be repeating in the future. After all, it is always great to have good comfort food dishes on hand!

TASTE: I was pleasantly surprised with how yummy this soup turned out.  While I have had much more decadent and wonderful Mac and Cheese in my lifetime, this was just a nice alternative to the “blue box” or other types, and just as easy to put together.  Also, while this is considered a soup, I certainly didn’t feel I needed anything else for our meal. It is plenty filling and fulfilling all in one.

EASE OF PREPARATION: This dish could not be EASIER! It really just takes monitoring the ingredients and adding them at their proper time.  While some might find that annoying, I think it is nice to be able to have something to do while the dish is coming together. 

COST: This is definitely also a dish that is cheap to put together…, very few ingredients and the few it does have are inexpensive and easy to find.  Also, the portion sizes are very good, so this is money well spent when you consider how many it can feed.

COMPLEXITY: It is far from complex, and as I mentioned above really just takes monitoring and reading the directions.  What is also nice about the dish is how other fun ingredients or flavors could be added if you so desire. Once the basics are followed, there is really room to play around with what else you want to add in…just like normal mac & cheese

PORTION SIZE: This recipe made 4 rather large bowls of soup, so if you are wanting it as a meal, I would say it would feed a family of 4 perfectly. Or if you would rather it be a side dish, it could serve as many as 8 or 10…, quite a deal if you ask me.

While this recipe was far from complex in preparation or flavor, it is certainly a recipe I am glad that I tried. I now know I can make a healthier and natural alternative for my husband’s favorite food, which is a blessing considering.  I also thought it really was a great addition to our comfort food repertoire and something I will for sure be making in the future. Definitely worth the 4 ½ ‘Little Piggies’


One Response to “April Recipe of the Month–Cheesy Goodness”

  1. what a unique soup! let’s hope i can wait until next winter to make this (meaning we actually get some spring temperatures soon!)

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