Cooking The Books – The Well Plated Cookbook’s Ultimate Mac & Cheese Broccoli Cheddar

We’re super excited to kick off our brand new series, Cooking the Books, with this guest post from our friend Haley Strong! Each installment of this series will review a cookbook the only way a cookbook can be reviewed — we make it, we eat it, and we share our thoughts with you! What are you waiting for? Keep scrolling to dive in to this new and exciting series:


We’re getting to that time of  year where comfort food is a necessity, and what’s more comforting than Mac & Cheese?
Erin Clarke has finally come out with her first cookbook after years of writing healthy, easy recipes on her successful blog Well Plated by Erin.
Her philosophy is simple – you shouldn’t have to give up the flavors you enjoy to have a healthy meal. She wants her recipes to be easy, satisfying, and approachable. The ingredients in her recipes are ones that are easily found at your local grocery store. Erin also applies these philosophies to The Well Plated Cookbook.

broccoli cheddar mac and cheese

I was really excited by the premise of this cookbook. I sometimes find myself struggling to make healthy meals, often reverting back to some of the easy staples in my arsenal that maybe don’t give me enough of the veggies I should be eating. I also live in a small town and it isn’t always easy to find all of the ingredients some recipes call for. I’ve made a few of Erin’s recipes before, though, and I’ve really enjoyed them!
As I flipped through the book, I made a mental list of all of the things I was excited to try, and that list was long. I’m definitely looking forward to making my way through this book.
This Mac & Cheese was the perfect place for me to start. There are four variations of the Mac & Cheese – the Classic, Broccoli Cheddar, Tomato Basil, and Spicy Cajun. I went with the Broccoli Cheddar for a nice little meatless Monday dinner.

mac and cheese 

This recipe was a real crowd-pleaser with my husband and mother. They both adored the addition of the broccoli to the dish. I liked it, but there are a few changes I would make for next time. I would reserve a bit of the melty cheese to sprinkle on top with the parmesan, so that when I broiled it, the dish would have a nicer cheesy crust. I would also sprinkle some toasted breadcrumbs on the top for another little bit of texture.
I can’t wait to test out the other variations of this Mac & Cheese, and all of the other recipes in the Well Plated Cookbook!

I don’t know about you, but Haley’s review has me salivating. Grab a copy of Erin’s book ASAP (lucky for you, it’s available with 2-day shipping on Amazon Prime!)

If you’re planning on trying this recipe out, here’s everything you’ll want to have on hand:


Ingredients (for Broccoli Cheddar variation)

broccoli cheddar mac and cheese
  • 1 pound short whole wheat pasta (shells, penne, rigatoni, or elbow macaroni)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ small yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus additional to taste
  • ¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups shredded melty cheese (sharp cheddar, fontina, Gouda, or Gruyere)
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 small head broccoli (about 8 ounces) finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

Other Materials:

The Well Plated Cookbook (duh!)

Dutch Oven (or similar heavy-bottomed pot)

Spatula Set


9″x13″ Casserole Dish


broccoli cheddar mac and cheese

You’re well on your way to a night of deliciousness!

In case you’re missing any of these materials, here are some recommended products:



What do you think of our new series? Are you dying to try this recipe? Let us know in the comments!

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