Mac & Cheese Mania!

by | Eat Like A Firefighter, Everyday

I have a problem. I love cheese. You may think, “Amanda, that is not a problem.” But no dear readers, it most certainly is. You see I sat down to write this post and was sifting through the mac & cheese recipes submitted to the cookbook, and I just couldn’t choose one. Because I love cheese. I kept feeling like I’d be denying our members by not giving them an extra big cheesy sneak peek into the cookbook. I plan on giving this peek by sharing some extra cheesy love. So in reality, my cheese loving problem is your gain (and my waistline’s gain to be real).

The irony of this post is two fold as well. You see, both of these fantastic recipes come from the exact same teeny tiny town in Central California. That’s the first ironically funny part. The second: that teeny tiny town? That’s where I was raised! This fire family we have can be a small one at times but boy am I glad it is. One of these recipes does come from my family (my mom specifically) and you’d think I’d simply default to that; but when I sat down to choose I decided to make them both and taste test. I could not choose a winner! So, for all these conundrums I find myself in, you the reader come out on top! (P.S. please don’t tell my mom)

If you’re looking for a sure fire hit to bring to the fire station I have got you covered on this one. Both of these recipes can feed a large crew and easily be doubled or scaled down.

This first one comes to us from Fire Wife Eva Brotemarkle. Eva is from Hanford, California and has been married to her firefighter for 12 years and they have four kids (one more when I come crash her Thanksgiving for the mac & cheese).


Mac & Cheese


1 pkg. (7 oz.) elbow macaroni

1/4 c. margarine or butter

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. ground mustard (dry)

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 c. milk

2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed

1/3 c. cream cheese


1 1/2 c. cheese crackers, crushed (parmesan & sharp flavored recommended)

1/4 c. butter


Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Cook and drain the macaroni as directed on package. Melt the margarine in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in the milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Stir in cheese until melted. Remove from heat and stir macaroni into cheese mixture until well coated. Spoon into the casserole dish. For the topping, in small sauce pan melt 1/4 cup butter, stir in crushed crackers and sprinkle over macaroni mixture. Bake uncovered 30 minutes or until hot in the center.

I’ll say it again, I love cheese! Just writing this recipe down makes my mouth water!

This second recipe is just different enough that you must try making both. And it comes from my mom’s kitchen! So, I’ll introduce myself: hi I’m Amanda Smith from San Diego, California. My firefighter and I have been married a little over two years and it’s just us, so I like to go back home and see my family (pictured below) a lot. I’m from a small town called Hanford in Central California. That’s where my mom, Michele Alexander, lives. She makes this recipe a lot and it is always a major hit, even with my super picky brothers.



Crispy Cheesy Mac & Cheese

2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni

1/2 c. + 4 Tbs. butter

2 1?2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1?2 c. sour cream

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cheddar cheese soup

1?2 tsp. salt

1 c. whole milk

1?2 tsp. dry mustard

1?2 tsp. black pepper

1.5 c. panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 300ºF. In a large saucepan, boil the macaroni for six minutes; drain. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter, add shredded cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Mix in sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper, stir well.  Turn heat to medium low and stir until cheese mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and add the drained macaroni and stir until well incorporated. Transfer into a greased oven safe dish (pyrex works best). In a small saucepan, melt remaining 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) of butter. Once melted, mix in panko bread crumbs. Evenly spread breadcrumb mixture onto the top of the pasta dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 300ºF, or until breadcrumbs are browned and the corners of dish are bubbling.



Give either one (or both) of these recipes a try and share your photos and experiences with us on Facebook and Instagram. Let the cheesy goodness begin!

Want to Eat Like A Firefighter?


Eat Like A Firefighter” is a collection of recipes and tips from firefighters and their families who have learned that staying healthy saves lives, staying flexible saves marriages and staying together through it all is family.”  This cookbook is a padded cover 3 ring binder with full color tabbed dividers, 300 recipes and 20 additional pages full of cooking tips for health, simplicity and other firehouse tips that anyone can employ.

Healthy and Simple.  Scalable for large or small crews.  Perfect for families and anyone needing flexible, tasty and easy to fix dishes.

Limited Qualities remain.  Get your copy while supplies last.  There will not be reorders of this cookbook so be sure to get your orders in before we run out!

Too late.  This awesome collection of recipes SOLD OUT quickly.  Unfortunately we will not be going back to print with this anytime soon.  BUT, you can get it in eBook format now!

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