Cooking with Liz: A Comfort Food for All Ages


Liz Berndt, Staff Writer

“What do you want for dinner?” yelled my mom from the kitchen, a common occurrence throughout my childhood.

This was (and is) never an easy question to answer. I am a picky eater, but not how you would expect. My mom says I have a “sophisticated palette” and finds it difficult to feed me.

When I was little I refused to eat white bread, peanut butter, lunch meat, anything frozen, and practically all “normal” after school snacks. My favorite ice cream was green tea, not chocolate, vanilla or strawberry; actually, I hated them. For some reason, although I refused to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I loved Annie’s box Mac & Cheese. This box brought my mom some relief and at times peace at the dinner table.

I still enjoy box Mac & Cheese, but have discovered an incredible “older version” of this nostalgic meal.

Homemade Mac & Cheese is wonderfully mouth watering. A delicacy that can only be created with 12 ounces of Extra sharp cheddar cheese and ½ a cup of heavy cream. Pure decadence.

Although long and intimidating, this recipe is actually really easy, in essence you need to boil a box of pasta, put it in a pyrex and pour homemade sauce on top.

The Sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons dry mustard (this is a surprising ingredient. I hate mustard, but love it in the sauce.)
12 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar (white, yellow, or a mix of both), coarsely grated
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

  1. Melt butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk in flour -this is called a roux. It is to make the sauce thicker. You need to be careful not to burn this part of the sauce approximately 3 minutes, it will bubble a little and smell almost like almonds, after bubbling immediately whisk milk into pan- Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes.
  2. Whisk in cream, mustard, cheeses, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth and remove from heat. Poor onto the pasta in the pyrex dish.

Bread Crumbs/ Toppings
¼ Baguette Ripped up (about ½ inch cubes nothing perfect)
¼ stick of butter
1 Clove of Garlic (Crushed, grated, or minced whatever you prefer)
2 Tablespoons Parsley Chopped if I desired

  1. Put all these ingredients in a saucepan and brown the bread. Add to the top of the pasta pan and grate cheddar and Parmigiano cheese. Put in the oven Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees or until bubbling and golden brown. (Serves six easily!)


I made this for the Gonzales family, just last week, while babysitting Nicola (and her two brothers). She was shocked we could make a wonderful home cooked meal “all by ourselves.” It’s a delicious and easy meal that can truly satisfy all ages.

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