Co-op Blog

10 Cheesy Recipes for National Macaroni Day

There’s a long list of foods that bring out childhood nostalgia in all of us: sloppy joes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken nuggets. And of course, a warm and gooey bowl of mac and cheese. Some of us ate boxed mac and cheese after school, and some of us got the homemade version. Regardless of how you enjoyed mac and cheese, July 7th is national macaroni day, so if you need an excuse to dive into a delicious dish of cheesy noodles, now is the time!

Check out some of our favorite macaroni recipes ranging from cheesy and nostalgic to elegant and delectable.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

baked mac and cheese

Utilizing both whole-wheat macaroni and butternut squash, this baked mac and cheese recipe is full of a variety of flavors and textures.

Take note, though, that this recipe is designed for a big crowd, so consider cutting down the portions if you’re making it for just a few people.


  • 2 pounds butternut squash (or 2lbs sweet potatoes, with or without the skin)
  • 1 pound whole-wheat elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 16 ounces low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 slice whole-grain bread


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Slice squash in half and discard the seeds. Bake cut side down on baking sheet lined with parchment until soft, about one hour.
  2. Cook macaroni according to directions on the package.
  3. Pulse bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Reserve.
  4. Whisk flour in a heavy pan to remove any lumps. Gradually add 1/4 cup of cold milk. Heat the remaining 3/4 cups of milk in the microwave. Add the hot milk and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth, over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Take off the heat. Whisk in beaten egg.
  5. When the squash has cooled, scoop out flesh and puree in a food processor.
  6. Puree the cottage cheese in the food processor.
  7. Add the pureed cottage cheese, squash, cheddar cheese, Dijon, nutmeg, and cayenne to the white sauce. In a large bowl, combine sauce and macaroni, tossing to coat evenly.
  8. Coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Pour macaroni and cheese into pan. Blend olive oil with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture over the macaroni. Bake until bubbling and brown (about 35 minutes).

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

stovetop mac and cheese

When you think of childhood mac and cheese, this recipe probably comes to mind.

The cheese is creamy and saucy and the noodles are cooked to perfection.

This particular recipe incorporates cream cheese, medium cheddar, muenster, and fontina.

Toast up some Breadfarm bread to go with it too, for a double dose of carbohydrate heaven.

Find the full recipe at Bon Appetit

One-Pot Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

cauliflower mac and cheese

If you want to go with a mac and cheese recipe that’s secretly kind of healthy, check out this creamy dish that’s filled with pieces of cauliflower!

You get all the things you like about mac and cheese, the cheese, the cream, and the noodles, but there are also pieces of cauliflower so you can get in your veggies too.

Find the full recipe at Half Baked Harvest

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

bacon mac and cheese

If you aren’t eating bacon with your mac and cheese, you’ve got an expereience coming your way.

It adds another level of savory, salty goodness that’s everything mac and cheese deserves to be.

For a little kick of heat, consider going with cracked-pepper bacon.

Find the full recipe at Edible Seattle

Southwestern Mac and “Cheese”

southwest mac and cheese

If you’re living a plant-based lifestyle, you can still get down with macaroni deliciousness!

Nowadays, there are so many high-quality plant-based cheese options that taste and melt just like the real thing, and we offer a good selection of them here at the Co-op!

Either mix up the homemade no-cheese sauce that’s called for in this recipe, or sub in your favorite plant-based cheese or sauce.

Jalapeños, corn, black beans, and ancho chile powder give this macaroni recipe a nice kick of heat.

Find the full recipe at Forks Over Knives

Mac and Cheese with Buffalo Chicken

buffalo mac and cheese

If you want to add a little extra spice and protein to your mac and cheese, consider this buffalo chicken mac recipe from Bon Appetit.

Here the chicken is deep-fried, but if you want to incorporate grilled chicken instead, you certainly could. Just don’t forget the spicy buffalo flavor!

If you wanted even more heat and texture, you could add diced jalapeños or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Find the full recipe at Bon Appetit

Macaroni with Summer Squash, Salami, and Ricotta Tomato Sauce

macaroni and summer squash

Here’s a unique take on mac and cheese that incorporates summer squash, salami, and ricotta tomato sauce.

This macaroni recipe is more of a pasta salad of sorts, as it doesn’t feature the stringy, gooey cheese that you’re most used to.

Find the full recipe at Food & Wine

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese with Lobster

lobster mac and cheese

Here is another mac and cheese protein add on that we really suggest trying. Lobster and mac and cheese together is pretty special, and fancy too!

It’s the perfect yummy, decadent meal for an at-home date night, especially when it’s served with a toasted piece of Breadfarm bread and a glass of Washington state white wine.

Find the full recipe at Fine Cooking

Macaroni Salad with Chorizo and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

chorizo macaroni salad

While mac and cheese is definitely the go-to meal for macaroni noodles, let us not forget about macaroni salad, too!

In this recipe, chorizo and smashed cherry tomatoes create a light dressing of sorts to bring all the ingredients together.

And as far as the greens go, you’ll want to utilize something denser like beet leaves or kale so they don’t get warm and wilty from the heat of the chorizo.

Find the full receipt at Food & Wine

Mac & Cheese with Collards

mac and cheese collard greens

Here’s another nostalgic mac and cheese recipe that incorporates crunchy breadcrumbs and healthy collard greens into the mix.

Collard greens not only add a beautiful color and texture to this dish, but they boost the calcium, too.

If you don’t have collard greens on hand, feel free to sub in chard, spinach, or even kale.

Find the full recipe at EatingWell


By: Leigha

Leigha is the Marketing Assistant at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op.