I had my eyes on the Panera Bread mac n’ cheese as my mom and I walked through the grocery store. As I picked it up, my mom told me her version of “we have food at home,” by saying “I can make a whole thing of mac n’ cheese that’ll taste just like that at home!” I wasn’t so sure about that, but she was right. One serving of the mac n’ cheese is $5, and an entire box of pasta is $1 in comparison. I figured I’d let her try out the recipe she found online. Because she is such a great cook, I trust whatever she makes. I also decided to join her in making the mac n’ cheese, because I never cook, and I really need to learn and participate. My stomach suffers greatly when I live in my apartment and have to cook for myself, and I need to learn how to fix that issue I have. So, with all of that being said, here are the ingredients we used to make an at home version of Panera Bread’s mac n’ cheese.
¼ cup of unsalted butter
A box of pasta of your choosing
¼ cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of milk
2 cups of heavy cream
2 cups of shredded white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of dry mustard
First, you’re going to boil the pasta until it’s cooked, then drain it and put it back in the pan like you normally would with pasta for mac n’ cheese. In a separate pan, turn the stove up to medium high heat and add the butter until it melts. Whisk in the flour for a minute, then turn down the stove to just medium heat and add in the milk, heavy cream, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk together those ingredients until it begins to bubble. Then, turn down the stove to low heat and add in the cheddar cheese. Continue to mix all the ingredients together until it is all melted. Then it should be ready for serving. Eat and enjoy!
In my opinion, the mac n’ cheese tasted very similar to what they have at Panera, though I think I added too much pepper, so it was more “spicy” than the original dish they serve at the restaurant. That was probably due to the recipe though, because a teaspoon of pepper is quite a lot. My mom also decided to add some garlic powder to the recipe for taste which I couldn’t really notice much but that’s a good thing! If it was too strong, it would be overbearing and ruin the taste. I would suggest adding a dash of the garlic powder to your rendition of this recipe when you make it and a dash of pepper as well. We used spiral noodles for the pasta, and it only took about a half hour to make all together. Playing around with this recipe at home to adjust it to your liking can be a fun way to fill your time during quarantine. Plus, it makes enough mac n’ cheese for days! So you won’t have to cook another meal for dinner one day that week. I know what a force it is to have to cook every single meal, especially when that’s all you seem to do anymore lately. Enjoy this comfort food at home in this difficult time in life.
The website we followed to make our mac n’ cheese is pasted below!