Budget Friendly Meals: Mediterranean Herb-Baked Macaroni Recipe

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Photo by Fotolia/azurita
Eating on a budget doesn't have to be bland. This herb-infused baked macaroni recipe makes an excellent side dish or meal of its own.

2-quart casserole dish, lightly oiled

Macaroni:

• 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
• 3 cups low fat milk  
• 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or savory
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
• 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1 teaspoon sea salt, freshly grated
• Fresh black pepper

Topping:

• 1/2 cup whole wheat or panko bread crumbs
• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta for 7 minutes, or to al dente.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for 3 minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, parsley and thyme. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese, bread crumbs, parsley and walnuts. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For more quick, inexpensive recipes and tips for saving on food costs read Budget Friendly Meals.


Pat Crocker cooks bistro-style food with her favorite herbs every week. Her latest book, The Vegan Cook’s Bible (Robert Rose, 2009), is now available. 

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