Baked Macaroni and Cheese


1 (8 ounce) package whole wheat macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional, for a little extra flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix flour, dry mustard (if using), salt, and pepper.  In a large saucepan, melt butter. When melted, add the flour mixture, using a whisk to stir until well blended.
Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. Mixture will get noticeably thicker. Gradually add shredded cheese and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Add macaroni to the saucepan and stir to combine. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, if desired.
(As an aside, I topped only half of the dish with breadcrumbs. While I don't necessarily count calories, this recipe seemed rich enough to me to leave the breadcrumbs off. The hubs, however, always seems to be trying to gain weight (I know, I want to kill him, too) so I figured he would enjoy the extra richness. I tasted a bite with the breadcrumbs (for reference, obviously). Don't get me wrong. It was pretty delicious. But I didn't miss them on the part I ate without them.)
Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Note: You can also freeze this for later use. Once you've mixed the noodles with the cheese sauce allow it to cool to room temperature. Then transfer to a container for freezing. When you're ready to cook it, let it thaw and come to room temperature. Then transfer to a buttered baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and then bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling.