Getting My Mac On

52 macs in 52 weeks

June 8, 2020

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Week 14: One Pot Mac

Up until 5:00 today, I had a different recipe in mind for today’s post. There were a variety of reasons I had selected it, and I WILL make it – probably in the next couple of days for next Sunday’s post, as some of the ingredients I got that led to picking it will need to be used sooner rather than later – but as so frequently happens with me (too frequently), the day got away from me and by the time I actually started to cook, I realized that it was a lot more labor-intensive than I was interested in that late in the day.

For one thing, I had just washed a sink load of dishes and wasn’t looking forward to dealing with another big batch that the prep for that recipe would create.  

Also, the brick of cheddar cheese that I just KNEW I had was missing.  Either (a) the Twilight Zone’s blue men hadn’t returned it yet; or (b) I used it last week and didn’t replace it. One of these things is true.

So in the interest of saving time and labor (what some might call lazy, I call efficient) I decided to switch directions and try out a one-pot type recipe where you cook the pasta right in the milk and then add everything else, rather than boiling it separately and creating a cheese sauce in a separate pan. It’s the fastest/easiest one I’ve made so far, so I’m kind of feeling like a genius right now. (Unfortunately, that’s also the problem with procrastinating – when things turn out alright and there are no consequences, it reinforces the behavior.  Definitely need to work on that!)

One Pot Mac

Adapted from


Note – measurements below reflect the fact that I cut the recipe in half. My freezer is kind of overloaded with leftovers of past recipes and I’m still maintaining that cleaned out fridge, so I didn’t want another huge batch.

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 2½ – 3 cups whole milk (see notes)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (see notes)
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat milk on low-medium heat until it just comes to a simmer.
  • Add the macaroni and cook until tender. Because the heat is low, this took longer than normal, about 12 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and add butter, cheese, and salt and stir until cheese is melted.


It came out great and with SO much less effort! It’s not fancy but very much the good old-fashioned style that we all love. This would be a great weeknight addition when you need something quick and easy but still want it tasty.


  • Toward the end of the cooking time, it looked like too much of the milk had cooked off so I added another splash.  This might not have been necessary after all, but it didn’t hurt anything – and the result was a very creamy sauce.
  • I had a variety of little containers of leftover cheese from the past couple of weeks, so I went a little bit “kitchen sink” instead of straight cheddar. I didn’t end up using all of it, but due to the addition of the extra milk, I did go ahead and use a full two cups total called for in the full size recipe. I almost never recommend pre-shredded cheese as it typically doesn’t melt as well (apparently there’s some sort of coating to keep it from clumping in the bag) but in this case, I was glad I had some on hand to fill out the sauce.

Posted June 7, 2020

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