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There are two kinds of people: those who bake and those who don’t bake – their macaroni and cheese, that is. For some, the classic combination of tender pasta and a creamy cheese sauce just isn’t complete until it’s been finished in the oven with even more cheese and perhaps a crunchy topping, but for others, this hearty, comforting meal is ready to eat just as soon as the stovetop mixture is made. For Meatless Monday dinner this week, try switching up your usual macaroni and cheese routine with these no-fail recipes for baked and no-bake versions of this family favorite.
Boasting four different kinds of cheeses — Havarti, Cheddar, American and Parmesan — Food Network Magazine‘s big-batch Baked Macaroni and Cheese (pictured above) is a fill-you-up dinner that will wow kids and grown-ups alike. To prepare, create a thick, rich sauce of butter, dry mustard and the melted cheeses, and mix it with partially cooked pasta. Once in a casserole dish, top the macaroni with extra cheese and a blanket of crunchy butter crackers before baking it until the cheese is piping hot and deliciously gooey.
For something a bit lighter, try this No-Bake Macaroni and Cheese (pictured right) from Food Network Kitchens. The chefs swapped out traditional Cheddar cheese for a reduced-fat variety, but they kept the signature creamy texture and traditional indulgent taste by pureeing cauliflower with evaporated low-fat milk to make a thick sauce and adding Parmesan cheese for a traditional nutty flavor. For a bit of crunch, top with toasted breadcrumbs before serving.