everyone’s invited!

by Janetha on March 15, 2012

in recipes

i had a party last night.

it was last-minute, but it turned out to be quite the rager. there were so many guests! everyone was there.

oh, did i mention that this party was in my mouth? yeah.

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mac & cheese is a favorite in our house. i like to put random twists on the classic dish. case in point: healthy mac & cheese, healthy hamburger helper, and four cheese chicken mac.. just to name a few.

last night i wanted to try making mac & cheese using a method i’d read about—cooking the noodles in milk instead of water. i had been meaning to try this for months!

of course i can’t make just mac & cheese, so i decided to add in lots of things. and then i dubbed it party mac. everyone was invited.

the hosts, of course, were the milk and the mac.


the regulars showed up.. they are always the first to show up when they see macaroni on the menu. typical.

three  kinds of cheese

and then there were the random guests that were eager to join in the fun.

asp pep onion saus tom

unfortunately, the mushrooms weren’t invited. they had to stay behind in the fridge and babysit the grapes.

parties are the perfect place to get sauced up.


and it’s always more fun with a little spice.


what’s a party without dip? i will tell you: no party at all. so we had to invite the ranch.


oh, and let’s not forget the guest of honor!



okay.. i think all the guests are accounted for. time to party!

this is how we do it. (name that song.. bonus points if you sang that sentence in your head!)

toss the macaroni and milk in a pot (no, not that kind of pot.. i know this is a party and all, but come on) and turn the heat to medium.


once the milk is simmering, immediately turn the heat to low and add the ranch dip.


stir to combine, and then make sure you stir the mixture frequently. i can’t stress this enough. if you don’t stir it, the milk will curdle up. not that i would know from experience or anything…

meanwhile, grab a skillet, put it over medium high heat, and spray it with oil.


toss in your veggies and sauté for ten minutes.




time to add the garlic and sausage, then sauté for another couple minutes.


remove from heat and put a lid on it. because hot boxing and parties go hand in hand. (i will forgive you for not getting that joke, mom. actually, it’s better if you didn’t.)


once all the milk has soaked into the noodles, test them out. if they need to be a bit softer, add a splash or two of milk and KEEP STIRRING until the noodles are perfectly plump and tender.



add the cheese, stirring continuously until it is fully melted.


next, stir in the yogurt, hot sauce, mustard, worcestershire sauce, basil, and oregano.


finally, stir in the veggie & sausage mixture and the tomatoes.


serve immediately! it won’t last long.


party mac
makes four servings
total time: 30 minutes


  • 4 oz dry elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz + 2-3 TB milk (i used skim)
  • 1 TB ranch dip seasoning
  • any veggies you have in the fridge. i used:
    • 5 stalks asparagus, diced
    • 1 bell pepper, diced
    • 1/2 red onion, diced
    • i think broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, or peas would all be super good in this!
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 2 italian chicken sausage links, diced
  • cheeses of choice totaling 4 oz. i used:
    • 2 oz reduced fat sharp cheddar
    • 1 oz asiago
    • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 4 oz plain nonfat chobani greek yogurt
  • 1 TB hot sauce
  • 1 TB mustard (i used trader joe’s garlic mustard aioli)
  • 1/2 TB worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained (or use a fresh tomato)
  • diced green onions or chives for garnish


  1. combine macaroni and milk in a large pot. place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, then immediately turn to low.
  2. add ranch dip seasoning and stir to combine. stir macaroni very frequently, every minute or so, so the noodles don’t clump up.
  3. meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and spray with oil. i used olive oil.
  4. add asparagus, bell pepper, and onion. sauté until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.
  5. stir in garlic and sausage and sauté for two more minutes.
  6. remove skillet from heat and cover with lid until ready to use.
  7. are you still stirring your macaroni?! i hope so. by now, most of the milk should be soaked up into the noodles. taste a noodle, and if it is still a bit hard, add 2-3 TB of milk. keep stirring.
  8. once your noodles are completely soft, stir in the cheeses. stir constantly until all cheese is melted.
  9. add yogurt, hot sauce, mustard, worcestershire sauce, basil, and oregano. stir to combine.
  10. remove pot from heat and stir in the vegetable & sausage mixture and the tomatoes.
  11. garnish with green onions or chives, if desired, and serve immediately.

IMG_2873 IMG_2875

nutrition information per serving based on my ingredients:


i say this makes four servings, but if i am being honest (and i am!) then it will make one janetha-sized serving and one marshall-sized serving. the boy likes to eat, and this was delicious.. so there were no leftovers in sight. plus, it’s friendly enough in the nutritional department that you won’t wake up with a food hangover.

in my book, that is a sign of a successful party!

xo. janetha g.

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STUFT Mama March 16, 2012 at 8:33 am

That sounds like my kind of party. :) Love it! I’m so trying this once I’m bakc on the cheese. Party TIME! :) Have a great weekend!

Errign March 16, 2012 at 8:40 am

I loved your party jokes, and this looks totally deeeeelicious!

Destini March 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

You make me laugh so much all the time! Hilarious post!! I also had mac and ‘cheeze’. Mine was of the vegan variety. But this loooks amazing :)

Vanessa March 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

That looks like the most amazing mac n cheese ever. I think I might have to give it a whirl. The BF would be in Heaven!

Heather @ Better With Veggies March 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hahaha – I totally sang that song in my head, couldn’t help it. :) I also visualized a little dance to go along with it, involving some terrible dance moves, of course.

Samantha March 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

Wow that looks AWESOME! Hot sauce AND Mustard in one dish makes me very very happy!

I totally sang “this is how we do it” AND LMAO at the “hot box” comment!

BroccoliHut March 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

Delicious food and fantastic photos–love this recipe! I also love the font you used for your photos. Do you mind if I ask how you made it or where you found it?

Naomi(onefitfoodie) March 16, 2012 at 11:07 am

haha your posts always make me smile and we both know I need that right now :)


Lisa March 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

This looks delicious! I love making mac n’ cheese “fancy” by adding unusual ingredients. One of my favorites is adding a little cayenne pepper to it. Spicy mac! MMM

Michelle March 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

OMG! That looks amazing and is making my mouth water as I read along. I think I need to have a party also :-)

Life's a Bowl March 16, 2012 at 11:51 am

This party mac sounds absolutely delicious! And who doesn’t love a party?! And love that all of the ingredients are usually in my pantry/ fridge :D

Jessica Y March 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I am legitimately laughing out loud in my cubicle.

Danielle @WorkItWearItEatIt March 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

hahah I legit laughed out loud through this entire post. Loved it. Looks sooo delicious!

Calee March 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

This looks like a party! You just gave me some more ideas for pizza toppings tonight.

We’ve been obsessing over mac and cheese in our house … and by we, I mean the BF because he’s not made a GF option yet. He even made some with pepper jack and bacon last week. Jerk.

I might have to make this with quinoa noodles, but without all the spiffy add-ins … because I really just want some freaking mac and cheese. Thanks for sharing~!

elise March 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

well arent you a little fiesta ball of fire. the captions on this were hilarious. can you please please pleaaaaaaaaaase change the blend retreat date so i can see you?? ugh. when are you coming to santa monica again? did i mention aaron rodgers was in town last night? i was working so i didnt hang.

Janetha March 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm


Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli March 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Lord.have.merrrrrrrcy! I could seriously eat half that pot without a problem!

I only developed a taste for mac ‘n cheese after I moved out of my parents house, where all I ever knew was “the blue box blues”…then my college roommate opened my eyes to the wonderful world of FLAVORFUL processed cheese…Velveeta! Pretty sure that and cereal were the only things that got me through college (a surplus of carbs helps soak up all the alcohol, right?).

I’ve only made homemade mac ‘n cheese a few times, experimenting with different cooking methods. I do NOT like the baked kind…I’m sorry, but a dish of crusty cheese and soggy noodles just doesn’t appeal to me and the crock pot method takes waaaaaaaaaay to long. Now that I’m finally feeling a little better, I may just have to make some for BB this weekend. He’s been such a trooper putting up with me and my grumpy “I can’t do anything fun” attitude all week…it’s the least I could do! Haha!

Oh and ps, this was the cutest post ever! Love the captions!

Karen January 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm

“I do NOT like the baked kind…I’m sorry, but a dish of crusty cheese and soggy noodles just doesn’t appeal to me and the crock pot method takes waaaaaaaaaay to long.”

Ditto!!!!!!!!!!! I am with you ALL the way sister. I cannot stand BAKED Mac & Cheese. Whoever started that should be flogged, well not flogged, but at least spanked! What a shameful thing to do to macaroni. And the heck is the deal with the crumbly bread crap that restaurants and some people put on their Mac & Cheese? I will NEVER understand that at all! I don’t know who started that little trend either, but that is just an indefensible thing to do to Mac & Cheese. In fact, it’s down right sadistic, criminal, sacrilege, and unethical!!! Shame on them. Mac & Cheese should ALWAYS be made on a stove top, NOT in the oven!!!!! Let’s shout it from the roof tops, “NO MORE BAKED MAC & CHEESE WITH BREAD CRUMBS, EVER!!!

bonnie March 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm

SUCH a cute post, J! Just now catching up. Pinning this recipe too because Mikey would LOVE it! Great theme to your recipe post and thanks for sharing some cheesy goodness with us. ;)

Tamara March 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Yum, that looks reaaaally good (and fairly easy!). Thanks for sharing (and in such a fun way)!!

Julie March 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm

This looks absolutely amazing and I love your comments on everything!

Jess March 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm

OMG. Can you puhleeze just cook for me every single day?? I’m in LOVE with your recipes!! Currently addicted to the protein pancakes and now this?? Genius. And I’m drooling. That is all.

Katie | wholelivingimprint.tumblr.com March 20, 2012 at 9:56 am

Wowzersss another really tasty looking recipe!!!! Going to have to make this one too!


Kait March 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm


kristen @ livinlifeinlouie April 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm

this looks AMAZZZINNG. And I love the pool party comment. I have to make this for my son soon!

Becca April 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm

YUM! This was amazing! I love my Mac and cheese recipe, but this will have to go in the rotation as a healthier option, what with all those veggies and all :) Thank you!

janetha @ meals & moves May 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

Thank you for the feedback! Glad it was good!

Lili June 1, 2012 at 12:29 am

I been reading your blog, and ur inspiring (: ,, I am pretty short so its so great to see someone almost the same height look so great. I also love love your earings in some of your pics.. Can I ask were can I get them or something like that? I ordered the Body for life book, and hoping to get some great results also.. Nervous about weights, never did weights, i run tho sometimes; so cardio wont be bad. I lover ur blog and ur pics.. I am also going to make one of ur recipees in the mornings.. So stocked..
Id love any advice or tips.. (:

Janetha June 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

the earrings are from http://etsy.com/shop/tifthapeach

Catherine June 10, 2012 at 3:02 am

Your recipe has changed my life! I never never thought of cooking mac this way, it’s incredible. I even got a bit OTT and photographed it for my blog. That is the extent of my love for this humble dish xxx

Janetha June 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Thank you for the feedback!

Jess @ Operation Skinny Jeans December 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Omg this looks AMAZING! YUMMM!! Love your blog!

Janetha December 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Thank you, Jess!

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