Shells and White Cheddar

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White Cheddar Shells

Well, we made it to Canada…it wasn’t pretty, but we made it. See this post incase you don’t know what I’m talking about. The flight to Boston {from PDX} was rough and Blake was exhausted the entire time but refused to nap and chose to scream instead. LUCKY ME. I had occasional glimmers of hope when he’d actually sit still for 5 minutes to eat some snacks, but generally, he was just a cranky almost 2 year old for the ALMOST 6 HOUR FLIGHT. #killmenow

I deserve a freaking medal for keeping my shiz together, ya’ll.

The poor man sitting beside us had to get up 47 times to let us out of our tiny 11E & F dark hole of horror to walk to the bathroom or to the front of the plane to stretch our legs/buy time/try to make my son happy. I think that man was understanding, but I did get a few side eye looks that made me second guess his opinion. But he did make a phone call {wtf} {through wifi I presume?!} and was on a business call for 45 minutes during the flight talking loudly and being obnoxious to everyone around. So, I didn’t think too highly of him either.

So, whatever.

ANYWAYS. Moral of the story: I MADE IT. In one piece. And life feels like it’s worth living again, so hallelujah for that.

Also, I forget how much I love my family until I see them again. They are just wonderful people that I need to spend more time with. Last time I was here was the Christmas I was pregnant with Blake! Can you even believe that? And now he’s almost 2! Good grief, time flies when you’re a parent. #guilty Within the first 20 minutes of arriving, Blake became bff’s with his Grandpa Ernhofer and Uncle Matt! That poor boy misses his daddy, so these will be fun substitutes for a few days.

And its kind of super ironic that on the day I arrive in Canada is the day that I’m posting a recipe that involves copious amounts of extra sharp canadian white cheddar!  Friends, meet my saucy white cheddar shells and cheese. The ultimate dreamboat of a stovetop mac and cheese: smooth, velvety, cheesy, creamy sauce stirred together with pasta. Not much food gets better than this, ya’ll!

It comes together relatively quickly and tastes oh so good, especially with lots of black pepper.

Here’s how to make it {and you totally should!!}:

Two types of cheese

Start by grating some cheese! I used extra sharp white cheddar and Beechers Flagship cheese. A brilliant combination, if I do say so my self.

Two types of cheese shredded

You’ll need to grate half a pound of each. Set this aside!

Cheese sauce

For the actual base of the sauce, we’re going to make a béchamel, so that means melt some butter into the bottom of a pot.

Cheese sauce

Whisk in some flour and cook a minute or two.

Cheese sauce

Whisk in some milk and heat slowly to thicken ever so slightly. You want to heat this slowly so that the milk doesn’t ever come to a boil. If it does, that usually means your milk will curdle and your sauce will be grainy. Totally edible and delicious, but the texture will be a little off. {See my recipe notes on what to do if this happens to you!}

Adding cheese

Once your sauce has thickened, whisk in all that grated cheese, 1 handful at a time until it’s all melted in and you have one heck of a sauce.

Cooked pasta shells

To that, add in some cooked pasta to complete the dish.

Pasta Shells with cheese sauce

Stir around and enjoy the sauciness that is this dish. I love a lot of sauce, so that’s why the name ‘saucy’ is in the title. I’m so original like that.

White Cheddar Shells

Hello gorgeous!

White Cheddar Shells

Spoon this into bowls and serve! Feel free to add in more black pepper on top if you like. Not necessary, but totally amazing!

White Cheddar Shells

That’s obviously how I ate mine!! <3

Anyways, have a wonderful weekend! I’ll see you on Monday, friends!



Shells and White Cheddar
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Shells and White Cheddar

This homemade Shells and White Cheddar is the ultimate dreamboat of stovetop mac and cheese: smooth, velvety, cheesy, creamy, all stirred together with pasta.
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lbs shell pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 3/4 cups milk I used 1%, but anything is fine
  • 1/2 lb Beechers Flagship cheese grated
  • 1/2 lb sharp white cheddar grated
  • healthy pinch nutmeg just under 1/8 tsp
  • salt & lots of pepper to taste


  • Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta until al dente. Set aside.
  • Place hot pot back on the heat and melt butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to smooth out any lumps. Cook 1 minute over medium heat. Pour in milk and whisk again. Cook 5-6 minutes until sauce starts to thicken slightly. Try not to boil the milk**! This will cause it to curdle, making your sauce grainy.
  • Sprinkle in grated cheeses 1 handful at a time, whisking in to melt before adding in remaining cheese. Add in nutmeg, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour in pasta and stir to coat. Serve immediately.
  • ** if your sauce curdles and has that grainy consistency, use an immersion blender to creamify it! It totally has worked for me in the past and makes all the difference!


Calories: 857kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 574mg | Potassium: 475mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1114IU | Calcium: 697mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: shells and white cheddar

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21 Responses
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  3. sophie reese

    If I make extra sauce — Can I bake this with bread crumbs on top. If so, how long and what temp do you suggest????? Thank You—–Sophie

  4. Jess

    Welcome to Ottawa! I live just out in the valley. I hope you enjoy your stay!! You will have to try Smokes Poutinerie while your here! Its the king out poutine. It’s to die for! The even have a vegetarian poutine! If your looking for an amazing little town with amazing little shops come to Almonte! You won’t regret it! It’s only 25 mins outside of the city. A great day trip on the weekend 🙂

  5. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    A lot of macaroni cheese recipes I see online look really dry to me, so I LOVE how saucy this one is! Perfectly creamy and cheesy 🙂

  6. Janet

    You’re on the Canadian east coast? Oh dear, I hope you and your kids like to shovel! Or that you packed raincoats, depending on where you are. I hear it’s supposed to rain in Halifax tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – it looks delicious. I’ve been wanting to try some homemade mac & cheese with my step-sons and I think this one might just be the ticket. Can’t wait to give it a try! Enjoy your visit with your folks.

  7. Lori

    Lauren my kids would LOVE this! I live on the east coast, so no Beecher’s cheese here. Any suggestions on what I could substitute?

    Thanks! Can’t wait to try it!

  8. Jen @ Carlsbad Cravings

    So happy you made it one piece! there is nothing like visiting family! These shells look divine – delicious, versatile and easy enough and easy enough to make very night! BTW I just registered for your conference and am SO excited!!! I’ve been closet stalking you for some time without leaving comments. huge fan 🙂

      1. Julie

        I live in Tennessee, we do not have Beechers Flagship cheese. Can you refer something similar I can substitute. I was hoping to make this tomorrow.

  9. mary

    2 of my 3 kids get motion sickness so when we travel i give them KIDS dremamine (All 3 kids get a grape flavored chew tablet). They always fall asleep in the car or plane!!! (note: I give my 4 yr old only half…it’s enough for her)

  10. Karen

    Looks delicious! Sorry your flight was so difficult. I remember those days! Not fun. Enjoy your family! You live too far away! Same with me. Always good to go home.

  11. Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek

    So glad you made it. Doesn’t sound like it was fun but hopefully you will be staying long enough (a month!) and be having so much fun that those memories will fade.
    This mac and cheese looks amazing. Pepper I LOVE pepper.