Noodling Around with Mac & Cheese

Noodling Around with Mac & Cheese

Baked until bubbly, punched up with everything from bacon to broccoli, this classic steals the spotlight time after time.

Donnell Jones-Craven

Food and Beverage Manager, Savory Fare Cafe
Emory University Hospital at Midtown Campus
Atlanta, GA

“Mac and cheese is a classic that our customers definitely enjoy. I developed the recipe for Black Skillet Ham Mac and Cheese Casserole for my two eldest children while we were living in Northern California. They developed their culinary palates at an early age, so in order to satisfy their grown-up appetites, I reinvented a kid favorite with finesse.

“A casserole dish would be the traditional way to cook this, but my wife suggested, ‘Why not try a black cast iron skillet and layer some of the cheese?’ I thought that was a great idea because it adds so much to the flavor, giving everything that ‘sizzle factor.’ It also makes for a unique presentation.

“For a Latin twist, I add diced green chiles, cumin, Monterey Jack cheese and diced bell peppers. When I want to make it a little bit French, I top it with seasoned bread crumbs mixed with melted butter and Gruyere cheese. Adding blanched broccoli florets make it a complete meal with protein (the ham), carbohydrates (the pasta) and a vegetable.”

To get the recipe for Black Skillet Ham Mac & Cheese Casserole, go to [3]

Jim Pfifferling

Director of Dining Services
Louisburg College
Louisburg, NC

“Customers can get exactly what they want at the made-to-order mac and cheese bar at the main dining hall. It's totally customizable, starting with plain macaroni noodles. We make sure not to overcook them, and then the customer decides from there.

“They can add in different types of cheese, bacon, jalapenos and more. If there's an item on the salad bar — such as broccoli — that's not at the mac and cheese station, then that can be added, too.”