Simply Healthy Family: Baked 3 Cheese Mac with Slow Roasted Tomatoes


Baked 3 Cheese Mac with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Sometimes you need comfort food, but in a grown up sort of fashion. Maybe it's because I have 4 kids and  my food choices are all I really have control over most of the time when it comes to gourmet or fancy but every so often, I like to indulge in comfort food gone swanky. 

Don't hate me, but I   hate   boxed Mac and Cheese.  Yes, there have been more times than I would like to admit that in a pinch I have made a pot of the boxed stuff but only when I added a can of tuna and a  lot  of hot sauce (is that strange?) to make it a bit more palatable. Maybe I'm an alien... 'Roswell' ........ Get it?..  Hot sauce. Yeah, o.k.  I watch lame t.v. series 10 years after they were (or weren't) in.  Again, 4 kids people.

So, how do you turn mac n' cheese into gourmet? Well, I'll tell you. You turn to your ridiculously large stack of Cooking Light magazines! Plant yourself on your favorite comfy arm chair on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee, expertly tuning out the kids, or better yet commission your loving husband to take them swimming for an hour so you can flip through old issues of your trusty menu planner and  Voila!   Mac and Cheese Gourmet!

 Update! Two of my favorite food bloggers are hosting a Mac and Cheese party! They've asked for all of our favorite M&C recipes new and old to put together a fabulous list of Oooey Gooey Goodness.

“Come join Mac and Cheese Mania at Rachel Cooks andNutmeg Nanny sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO – Win prizes!” i

I actually found this recipe for Baked 3 Cheese Macaroni in a Cooking Light magazine several years ago and have made it several times. Most recently for my 3 year old daughter, Mona Claire's birthday.  I love the fontina, white cheddar and Parmesan Cheeses  in here and the  slow roasted tomatoes are just the tangy, sweet punch of flavor  that I need to make me drool and feel a teensy bit gourmet if only for a moment.

Slow roasting your tomatoes are a perfect way to celebrate the end of tomato season. If you don't have the time, or extra tomatoes on hand, use a package of sun dried tomatoes instead. But trust me, slow roasting them brings out a flavor that you just can't replicate in a package.

adapted from a Cooking Light Magazine issue many many years ago.....

Will Need:

8 plum tomatoes (cut into 1/4" thick slices - ~ 2 lb)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
3/4 t salt  (divided)
4 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
1 lb uncooked multi grain whole grain elbow macaroni (such as Barilla Plus) (or non-gluten macaroni, such as spelt or quinoa)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 c flour
5 c milk
1-1/2 c  (6 oz) shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
1 c   (4 oz) shredded fontina cheese
1/2 cup (2 oz) grated fresh Parmesean cheese
1/2 t butter
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
fresh cracked  pepper
1/2 t paprika

Putting it All Together: 
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a baking sheet w/cooking spray (or spread oil on). Arrange tomato slices in single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle oil over tomatoes. Sprinkle w/thyme, 1/4 t salt and garlic. Bake 35 min or til tomatoes start to dry out. 
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. 
Place butter in large Dutch oven. Sprinkle in flour and whisk until combined and just golden brown. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 8 min or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Add cheddar, fontina and remaining 1/2 t salt, and pepper, stirring until cheese melts.
Remove from heat. Stir in roasted tomatoes and pasta. Spoon into a 13x9" baking dish coated w/oil. Combine grated Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and paprika; sprinkle over pasta mixture. Bake 400°F., 25 min. or until bubbly.

Have a wonderful and Gourmet sort of day!!

This post is linked to:

Tasty Tuesday's


  1. My idea of the perfect comfort food is THIS post with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. You think that's overdoing the cheese?? At least I've got some veggies (actually tomatoe's a fruit right) in the mix ;D Looks divine!

    Would love to get your thoughts on my most recent hotel renovation when you get a chance! Hope to see you soon!

    Peace. Love. LOL!

    Haute Khuuture Blog

  2. Anonymous8/22/2012

    Ok, I thought I was the only person who ate hot sauce on her boxed Mac & Cheese with tuna...and blamed it on possible being an alien. Found your site via pinterest. Will follow now that we seem to be kindred hot sauce sisters.

    1. Haaahaaaa, that made my day! ;)

  3. I grew up on homemade mac and cheese so the boxed stuff just never did it for me. The roasted tomatoes are the perfect grown up addition to this fabulous comfort food!

  4. Hi Gwen. I agree. I can't stand the boxed stuff. Especially when there are recipes (and pictures) like this floating around. How could we not give our bodies the very best? Thank you for sharing this with me!

  5. Now that's my kind of comfort food.

  6. Sorry if this posted twice... wanting to make this for thanksgiving... do you think the prep can be done the night before and then bake the next day? If so, should the sauce be kept separate until ready to bake? I am omitting the tomatoes (picky family- I would love them), should I still use the spices listed for the tomatoes in the pasta instead? Thanks!

    1. Hi Becky, you should be fine adding the sauce to the cooked pasta, covering it and refrigerating overnight. Bake the next day as suggested. You can add the spices to the sauce. You can always serve the tomatoes on the side, I love them!

    2. Thanks Gwen! I will be making the tomatoes for myself :)

    3. Thanks! I will def try the tomatoes for myself! I love sundried tomatoes!!


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