A Can of What?

When you come to our site looking for recipes and food ideas you are usually getting Curt, who cooks 90% of the time in this household. But I do some of the cooking and there are a few recipes that I still make that I have been making since we were first married. Back then I probably cooked 50% of the time but as our schedules changed, Curt was home earlier than I was and he enjoyed cooking so I just let him run with it. I ended up with clean-up duty but that was fair.

Last night I made one of my newlywed specials that has been a family favorite even if the recipe contains a can of condensed soup! Horrors!! Recipes with  soup have always gotten a bad rap. For one thing, too much sodium but also because it’s not in the spirit of field-to-fork, or of  using the purest ingredients possible, or just because of the times we live in.  Soup is considered a cheat, or not good enough. Only new brides who know zip about cooking use “those” recipes and then they learn how to really cook later, right? Has my husband ever used a can of soup in his recipes? No! Does he love  “Quick Macaroni and Cheese Deluxe”? Yes!

“Quick Macaroni and Cheese Deluxe” is the original name of the recipe I gleaned from a Family Circle magazine back in the early 70’s (We were married in 1973). It has since been called Jeanne’s Macaroni and Cheese and after Nathan was born, Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese. And it was never confused with squeezy cheese (Cheese Whiz?) stirred into hot noodles that Nathan ate when he was a little guy. We never got into Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Had to draw the line somewhere.

Over the years I have tweaked the original recipe but the basic structure remains intact. Last night I cut the recipe in half for the first time since there are only two at our dinner table now, so the pictures you see will be a half recipe even though I’ll be giving you the full recipe.  A full recipe for two generates leftovers, or it should. I have to say I made this for one of our friends one evening. A friend who is a very good cook and tries many types of cuisine in her cooking and she liked it. At least she said she did and even had seconds. So here goes…   My changes, alternatives are in italics.

Jeanne’s Macaroni and Cheese
(originally Quick Macaroni and Cheese Deluxe)

4 servings

1 package (8 oz.) elbow macaroni  or cellentani, gemelli, fusilli and campanelle are fun too.
1 can cream soup (chicken, mushroom, or their variations) I’ve tried others but these work the best.
1  1/2  C. shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese (or both) I rarely use Swiss.
1/2 C real mayonnaise
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt (I never use this anymore since the soup has plenty of salt in it)
1/4 tsp cayenne or black pepper (use less cayenne to suit your taste)

1 10 oz. package of frozen vegetables, lightly cooked and well-drained. Or use fresh veggies blanched. I have used limas, edamame, corn, peas, beans, cauliflower or combinations. They shouldn’t be fully cooked because they are going to bake in the mac and cheese.

I used edamame

1 C. diced cooked chicken, ham. turkey. I have used canned white chicken, but leftovers work great. Tried lobster once, don’t!

Leftover smoked chicken

1. Cook pasta, drain, keep hot.

2. Meanwhile combine soup, cheese, mayo, dry mustard, (salt), pepper in a large bowl.

Cheese, soup, mayo mixture

3. Add macaroni, stir.

noodles stirred into sauce

4. Spoon cooked veggies over the bottom of a lightly buttered, deep ( 2 qt) casserole. Top w/ the chicken. Spoon macaroni mixture on top. I also add a light layer of shredded cheese, usually parmesan, and bread crumbs, this creates a nice crust on top. Lately I’ve been doing a layer of half veggies/meat, a layer of noodles, then remaining veggies, meat and noodles.

Layer in veggies and meat

Ready for the oven

5. Bake in 375 degree oven for 40 minutes until bubbly hot. Yes, it said “bubbly hot” in the original recipe. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

This is a half recipe


It’s great comfort food.


4 thoughts on “A Can of What?

  1. I can’t wait to try this recipe. My brother and sister-in-law were just here from South Carolina and mentioned that Mac and Cheese is their favorite comfort food when they are not feeling good.
    I will try the recipe and then send to them.

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