Before I even begin, let me start by telling you that this meal is my absolute go-to meal when I want to be sure my kids eat! Not pizza, not burgers but Macaroni B’halib which literally translates to macaroni in milk in Arabic. The most simple and rustic dish that can be whipped together in a matter of minutes but wholesome as can be.
I said this dish was super simple and I was right. It could even be classified as the poor man’s mac and cheese because we don’t even add any cheese to the dish (you could) but it is so creamy that you don’t even need it. Here’s a roundup of ingredients you’ll need:
1 pound egg noodles (or any pasta you like)
1/2 gallon (8 cups) whole or 2% milk
10 Tbsp butter
10 Tbsp flour
additional butter for topping
salt and pepper
Pantry staples that we all have on hand, if you want to make it cheesy, add in some cheese or sub some chicken stock for milk to give it a richer, less cream heavy flavor.
White Sauce (bechemel)
This dish begins with creating the white sauce, it is a classic bechemel which begins with a roux of butter and flour. The butter and flour mixture is a thickening agent for the milk and gives you that luscious cream sauce.
A quick melting of butter, whisking of flour and finally adding your milk makes this ultimate rich sauce. You can absolutely stop here, which is how my family enjoys it. But if you are looking to add a little extra, feel free to add in your favorite cheese.
This incredibly rich sauce mixed with simple spaghetti is it! Pour into your favorite large baking tray and bake with a breadcrumb topping to give your family a filling meal.
While this dish is intended to be as simple as possible. Here are a few ways you can jazz it up.
Milk Substitute: Feel free to replace all or half of the milk for vegetable or chicken stock. The result is still absolutely creamy but lends itself well if you’d like to add in other items to create more of a casserole.
Cheese: While this dish truly doesn’t need the cheese, if you’re looking for something with more bite, add in your favorite cheese. Be sure to wait to add your salt until after cheese is incorporated. Some favorites include sharp cheddar, Gruyere or even Velveeta for that ultimate creamy consistency. Check out this mac and cheese recipe on the blog.
Add-ins: This recipe is simple and basic but you can absolutely add in some shredded chicken, broccoli, mushrooms or other items and bake it up exactly the same way. I prefer to use part chicken stock if I’m going to add in some protein.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! As always, I love seeing your creations. Please leave a review or share your dish with me on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. For more delicious recipes to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
A simple delicious meal without breaking the budget.
1 pound egg noodles, or your favorite noodle
10 Tbsp unsalted butter
10 Tbsp all-purpose flour
8 cups of whole milk (or half milk and half chicken stock)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I like using panko)
additional butter for top (about 2 tablespoons)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese (or your favorite melting cheese)
2 cups shredded chicken
1 cup par-cooked broccoli
1 cup cooked mushrooms
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a large baking tray with high sides. I use a 14″ round tray similar to this. You want high sides as you’ll be pouring a lot of liquid. This deep rectangular tray would also work.
Set pot of salted water on stove to come to a boil and cook pasta as directed. While pasta is cooking, prepare your sauce.
In a heavy bottomed pot, begin making your Bechamel sauce. Cut 10 tablespoons of butter and place in pot on medium-high heat. Once butter begins to melt, add in your flour.
Whisk this mixture until all the flour is incorporated and begins to form a paste.
Once the mixture begins to boil, slowly add in your milk/broth mixture. I begin with 1 cup, whisk then continue to add the rest.
Turn your heat to high and continue to whisk, to ensure the bottom doesn’t stick. You’ll whisk until the mixture thickens and comes to a slight boil. Could take 5-10 minutes depending on your stovetop.
Once your mixture is thick, you may choose to add in cheese. If you are not adding any cheese, salt and pepper to taste. I typically add 2-3 teaspoons of kosher salt but varieties of salt are different so start with 1 teaspoon and increase as needed.
Once your pasta is done, drain and add to your large baking pan. Using a pair of tongs, separate pasta noodles to span the pan. If you’re using any add-ins (chicken, broccoli, mushrooms) add in at this time.
Next pour your sauce mixture right on top of your noodles. Using the tongs, move your pasta around to ensure they are evenly distributed in the pan. Continue to work pasta and sauce.
Top with panko breadcrumbs and break up 2 tablespoons of butter into little pieces to scatter across top.
Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes and finally broil the top slightly to get a nice brown topping.
Remove from oven and let set for 20 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!
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