Baked Tomato Mac n Cheese Casserole

Ever since I gave birth to my son, the only time I make a casserole is when it’s for Thanksgiving or Christmas. After a long day of cooking and tending to my baby, it’s not something I want to do on a weekly basis. But this week, with all those gorgeous tomatoes from our CSA farm nearby, it was easy! This recipe takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and has 8 servings. It also freezes well so you can enjoy some during the winter months as well!

prep: 10 mins cook: 35 mins additional: 10 mins total: 55 mins Servings: 8 Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 sleeve buttery round crackers (such as Ritz®), crushed

¼ cup flour

1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni

2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese

1 quart half-and-half

2 cups chicken broth

6 tablespoons butter

fresh ground black pepper to taste

4 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes; drain, return macaroni to pot, and stir tomatoes into the macaroni. Cook over medium heat until the macaroni absorbs some of the liquid from the tomatoes, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir flour into melted butter and cook until bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly stream half-and-half and chicken broth into the butter mixture while stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook while stirring continually until thickened and bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Melt mild Cheddar cheese and sharp Cheddar cheese into the butter mixture one handful at a time, stirring to incorporate each addition before adding the next. Season the cheese mixture with pepper and pour over the macaroni; stir to coat pasta evenly. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and top with crushed crackers.

Bake in preheated oven until crust is golden brown and the liquid is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts:

Per Serving: 889 calories; protein 34.1g; carbohydrates 62.6g; fat 55.4g; cholesterol 156.3mg; sodium 922.4mg.

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