Now that it’s Fall, I’ve notice my cravings for comfort foods are beginning to ramp up. Warm, gooey, yummy, home-cooked meals. And since my boyfriend loves macaroni and cheese (and I love cheese in general), mac & cheese seemed to be the perfect dish to kick-off of my Fall Foods List. I usually make my mom’s mac & cheese recipe (which is excellent), but while I was at the grocery store picking up the ingredients, an idea sparked. Why not try creating my own mac & cheese recipe? After all, how wrong can you really go with combining noodles and cheese?
So there I was, standing in Publix staring at the array of cheeses, trying to decide which ones to choose. That’s when the goat cheese caught my eye. Then the marbled sharp cheddar. Oh, the choices! Once I gathered my cheeses, I headed toward the pasta aisle. Elbow macaroni? Nah, too boring and traditional. Penne pasta it is. Then I was distracted by one more thing: ranch. Ooohhhh how I love ranch. On basically everything. Hmm … ranch in macaroni? Okay sure, why not. But then I remembered seeing commercials for Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup and wanting to try it.
I know, who want’s to eat canned cheese? This girl!
And the result? Oh my goodness … quite possibly the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had! Yes, it’s that good.
Here’s what you’ll need to add to your shopping list:
Penne pasta (or rigate), 1 packet ranch mix, 1 can Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup, 4oz. goat cheese, 1 brick marbled sharp cheddar cheese, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, milk (regular, almond or soy will all work), a stick of butter, and salt and pepper.
First, boil the noodles in a large pot. Once cooked, drain and return to the pot on low heat. Add the milk and butter; mix until butter is melted. Add cheddar soup, marbled sharp cheddar (sliced) and shredded cheddar. Stir until all cheese is melted, then add ranch and S&P.
Transfer into a glass baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Then, take a bite and tell me it’s not simply amazing :).
The goat cheese mixed with the three other cheeses makes it extra creamy, and the ranch adds a nice little kick without being too overwhelming.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
Four Cheese Ranch Macaroni
1 16 oz. box Penne pasta noodles
1 c. milk
1 stick butter
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz. marbled sharp cheddar brick cheese
1 can Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup
4 oz. crumpled goat cheese
1-2 T. Hidden Valley Ranch mix
Salt & pepper, to desired taste
1. In a large pot, boil the noodles (I like to add a teaspoon of salt to the water.) While the noodles boil, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the noodles and return to the pot on low heat.
2. Add the milk and butter. Stir until the butter is melted.
3. Add the sharp cheddar, shredded cheddar and Campbell’s cheddar soup, mixing until melted and combined. Then add the goat cheese, mixing well. Stir in ranch mix and salt and pepper.
4. Transfer from pot to a large, oven-safe baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until top begins to turn a golden brown.