I'm back!!! Copy-Cat Panera Mac 'n Cheese

So sorry to all of you who have been waiting and waiting and waiting for new recipes! I have two excuses:

The first is the craziness of our summer. We were on the go ALL THE TIME. When I had time to cook, I was making my old stand-bys...the quickest and easiest recipes I could find! Which leads to my second excuse...

PREGNANCY! I am currently 22 1/2 weeks pregnant with our little boy :) For the majority of the summer, I didn't feel like trying new recipes, let alone even look at food! I am feeling much better now and we are so excited to meet our little Caleb - sometime around the 24th of January! Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment...

Isn't he cute?? We sure think so :) Now...onto the recipe! I'm not sure why it took me so long to discover Panera's Mac 'n Cheese. It is heaven in a cup! I saw a few copy-cat recipes on Pinterest, so of course I needed to give one a try! This recipe is from the blog, 'Smells Like Home.' I didn't expect it to be AS good as Panera's...and it wasn't...but it was darn close! And soo delicious! Enjoy...

16 oz. shell pasta or other small pasta shapes
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
4 oz. white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces
8 oz. extra sharp white Vermont cheddar, shredded
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (like Frank’s)

In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1-1/2 minutes whisking constantly.

Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.

Remove sauce pan from the heat and add cheeses by the handful, allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce. Return the sauce pan to the heat and stir in the pasta. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve hot in bowls with spoons.


  1. making this tonight for the second time! thanks!

  2. oh my this is soo good I have had for the past three night :s

    -Jahy from NYC

  3. Happy to hear you both enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by :)


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