March 17, 2022

“Forget Your Diet” Mac & Cheese

The title for this Forget Your Diet Mac & Cheese is pretty straight forward. This recipe isn’t for the health conscious, however, it is pure, luscious, smoky, creamy and delicious comfort!

“Forget Your Diet” Mac & Cheese

The title for this “Forget Your Diet” Mac & Cheese is pretty straight forward. This recipe isn’t for the health conscious, however, it is pure, luscious, smoky, creamy and delicious comfort! It is rich, and because of this, it is best shared with family and friends.

By the way, this Mac & Cheese is just as much for special occasions as it is for “just because” moments. Nonetheless, no matter the reason, I hope you and your loved ones enjoy!

“Forget Your Diet” Mac & Cheese:

Béchamel Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup salted butter (I prefer Kerrygold Grass-Fed Salted Butter)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups room temperature heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt (more or less to preference)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 oz. Smoked Natural Gouda Cheese, grated
  • 7 oz. Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, grated and divided (or use any fuller-bodied cheese packed with umami. Mix and match and have fun!)
  • 18 oz. Brie, cubed (rind optional)
  • 1-2 cups pasta water (more or less, to loosen the sauce)

Mac and Cheese:

Method for Forget Your Diet Mac & Cheese:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grate and prepare all your cheeses, then reserve 1 cup of the grated cheese for the topping. Cook the pasta according to “al dente” instructions and reserve 2 cups of pasta water. Rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent sticking together, then set aside.
  2. Next, to make the béchamel sauce, using a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat then stir in 1/4 cup of all purpose flour and cook. Stir constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble (about 2 minutes). Avoid letting it burn by streaming in the cream. Continue to stir. (The sauce will thicken while it cooks.) Allow it to gently bubble then add the sea salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.
  3. Then, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the cheeses.  Whisk in small circles for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts thoroughly. Patience is key. When ready, remove from the heat then transfer the sauce over the pasta, and gently fold together until the shells are thoroughly coated in the cheese sauce.
  4. Afterwards, prepare the topping by tossing together the panko bread crumbs and 1/2 cup reserved grated cheese. Then, evenly sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese and transfer into the oven to bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on top.
  5. When finished, remove from the oven, garnish with chives (optional).
  6. At last, share and enjoy!


  • To save time grating cheese I will sometimes place the harder cheeses in a food processor and use until course, but fine.
  • If leaving the rind of the brie cheese, it will not fully melt. Omit the rind if you prefer not to have that taste and texture.
  • I use Panko bread crumbs because they are crispier, though regular bread crumbs work too!
  • The cheeses here are a guideline for what I use. As long as you have enough melting cheeses you really cannot go wrong. Feel free to even swap the brie for Velveeta for all I care! Simply mix and match the cheeses to your preference and enjoy! In fact, I encourage it! That said, share with friends and family and figure out what satisfies your inner circle to create the ultimate recipe for your group.
  • For more recipes to create or pair alongside (like this Jalapeño Apple Celery Slaw), visit the Kitchen Journal.