Striving Bean

Sassy or Nice: Baked Macaroni and Cheese and Beans

Mac and Cheese and Beans

Half with parsley, the other half without

It’s cold here in the Upper Midwest.  Spring is too many weeks away. Punxutawney Phil fails us yet again. We tend to swaddle ourselves this time of year with bulky scarves, blankets, and bubbling hot baked treats.

What is the most comfy of comfort foods? Homemade mashed potatoes? Meatloaf? How about…
Baked Macaroni and Cheese and Beans.

I made this with organic dairy and Eden Foods Organic Navy Beans (no added salt). My colleague Wendy gets all the credit for this yummy recipe.  Thanks for sharing Wendy!

Sassy or Nice: Baked Macaroni and Cheese and Beans
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups (1 to 1.5 cups) uncooked macaroni
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 – 3 cups grated extra sharp cheddar, or any combination of cheese. The sharper/drier the cheese, the less you need to use.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 OR 2 cups cooked white beans (I used one 15oz. can of navy beans)

Optional, if you’re feeling sassy:

  • 3 OR 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 OR 2 teaspoons dry or prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup  (0.5 cup) white wine [reduce milk to 2 1/2 cups (2.5 cups)] Topping, also optional:
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs (or you can make toast and then crumb it)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Cook and drain the pasta, set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • In a large sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. If you’re using garlic, add that now and saute until golden. Whisk in the flour and stir while the flour toasts. You want the paste to be a nice deep golden color, bordering on tan.
  • If you’re using wine, add that first. Pour in the milk, continuously stirring (prevents lumps). Heat the roux, stirring regularly, until it’s as thick as you want your sauce to be. Season with salt, pepper, and mustard if you’re using it. Add the cheese about a half cup at a time, stirring until it melts.
  • Gently stir in the cooked pasta and beans. Pour everything into a casserole dish.
  • If you’re doing the topping, toss the breadcrumbs with the parm and parlsey, and maybe a little black pepper. Sprinkle this over the mac & cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and a little toasted at the edges. If you’ve used the topping, look for a nice deep golden color in the topping.

Our family weighs in:

  • Daughter declared “This is SO delicious!”  And then she saw the beans.  There was a scene.  Next time I may puree the beans.
  • Son declared it delicious too…then followed his sister’s lead.
  • Husband liked it and had seconds.
  • Me: ditto, like the husband

Chef’s Notes

  • We made the non-sassy version.  I hope to try the sassy version some day.
  • Serve with roasted broccoli – we made a kid friendly version of roasted broccoli.  Salt, olive oil, 2 heads of broccoli, and a clove of sliced garlic. Roast in a tinfoil lined pan at 425F for 20 – 25 minutes.  Or if you are really feeling sassy, give this Amateur Gourmet Roasted Broccoli a try.

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4 thoughts on “Sassy or Nice: Baked Macaroni and Cheese and Beans

  1. BT

    Definitely puree the beans next time. No one will ever know they’re in there then! (My mother tells me she used to sneak tons of vegetables into meatloaf that way when we were kids. Who knew?!)

    Speaking of pureed beans, I somewhere have a recipe for “faux fettucine alfredo” made primarily with pureed white beans. It is fantastic. I fed it to be very un-beanish brother and his wife a few years back and they loved it. Then I told them what it was made from, and they dubbed it “faux fredo” and declared it inedible. Sigh. But it was truly fantastic. You may be able to find a recipe for it and try it on your family.

    Wanted to let you know that I successfully froze my first batch of beans. It was easy! My goal now is to have batches of all different kinds of frozen beans on hand so I can get us off canned. Much thanks for this idea.

    1. strivingbean

      Hi BT – Faux fettucine sounds delightfully sneaky. Funny how they liked it before they knew about the secret ingredient :-) We love alfredo sauce – I’ll have to search for it. Thanks for the tip.

      And good for you – freezing your first batch of beans. It’s super convenient!

  2. Ashley Burt

    I agree about the pureed beans. I have a great mac and cheese recipe that calls for pureed chickpeas. It is awesome and the kids don’t even know that they are eating something healthy.

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