Neelys Macaroni and Cheese Recipe – Easy Kitchen Guide

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By Dr. Leah Alexander | Published on August 11, 2023 | Last Updated on August 19, 2023

Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese comes straight from the popular Food Network show Down Home with the Neely’s. Hosts Pat and Gina Neely bring their unique take on classic southern recipes to each episode, making it not just a cooking show but an experience.

Their macaroni and cheese is a fan favorite, combining the creamy goodness of cheese sauce and the tangy taste of spices for a dish that’s sure to be devoured. With this simple process you can make your own version of Neely’s classic at home!

In this article, we’ll provide the instructions for Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese, as well as helpful tips on how to make it even better. So grab your ingredients and let’s get cooking!

Neelys Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

What is Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese?

Neelys Macaroni and Cheese is an American dish created by the popular cooking show Neely’s. There are a few variations of the dish, including adding vegetables and breadcrumbs for added nutrition and crunch.

The classic procedure calls for cheddar cheese as the base of the cheese sauce. The Neely’s add their own twist with dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to give an extra flavor punch.

The combination of all these ingredients makes Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese a comfort food classic that’s totally indulgent.

What does it taste like?

Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese is a rich, comforting dish that will satisfy both adults and kids alike. The creamy cheese sauce has a smooth texture with the gentle heat of cayenne pepper adding an extra level of flavor complexity.

The bacon gives it a smoky, savory taste, while the crushed potato chips add a crunchy texture and salty flavor. The Parmesan cheese on top gives it a sharp, nutty finish. The dish also has the perfect balance of cheesy richness and subtle spiciness that can be adjusted to your liking!

How did I first get introduced to Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese?

I first got introduced to Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese when I stumbled upon their show on the Food Network. Patrick and Gina Neely are a couple from Memphis, Tennessee who have been featured on the network for several years now.

Their show is a favorite of mine, as it has an energetic feel that pairs perfectly with their down-home southern recipes. When I watched their show on making macaroni and cheese, I knew that I had to try it.

I was immediately taken by the unique flavor profile of their dish. I was also impressed by how easy it was to make – all you need is some simple ingredients and a few steps!

I followed their instructions closely, and when I finally took my first bite, I knew that Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese was going to be a regular in our household.

I’ve been making this macaroni and cheese for several years now, and it never fails to impress. It always brings a smile to people’s faces when I serve it!

How to make Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese?

Making Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese is a quick and easy process that anyone can do. Here are the steps and ingredients for making this creamy cheese dish:

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Ingredients

  • Butter: Salted or unsalted butter can be used in this recipe. Unsalted butter is preferred to control the saltiness of the dish, but either type will work.
  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour adds a creamy texture and flavor to the macaroni and cheese sauce.
  • Milk: Whole milk or 2% is recommended for the best flavor, but any type of milk will work.
  • Mustard: Dry mustard is used to add a hint of spiciness to the macaroni and cheese sauce.
  • Nutmeg, Cayenne Pepper, Salt & Pepper: These spices add a subtle depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Hot Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce: Both of these sauces give the mac and cheese a more complex flavor.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Cheddar cheese is the classic choice for this recipe, but other cheeses such as gruyere or fontina can be used as well.
  • Cavatappi Pasta: Cavatappi is a tubular pasta with ridges that hold onto the sauce and other ingredients. Other tubular pasta such as macaroni or penne can be used instead.
  • Potato Chips: Crushed potato chips are sprinkled on top of the mac and cheese for a crispy texture and subtle salty flavor.
  • Bacon: Bacon adds a smoky, savory flavor to the dish.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan cheese is used for topping the dish and adds a sharp, nutty flavor.
Neelys Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Step-by-step instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Make the Cheese Sauce

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and whisk together for 2 minutes until combined and slightly thickened. Gradually add 4 cups of warm milk while whisking constantly, then add 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, a dash of salt and pepper, a dash of hot sauce and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Cook until the mixture thickens to the desired consistency.

Step 3

Add the Cheese

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese until melted.

Step 4

Assemble the Dish

Place the cooked cavatappi pasta into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the top, stirring gently to combine. Sprinkle 1 cup of crushed potato chips, 5 slices of crumbled bacon, and 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Step 5

Bake

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Tips

  • For a creamier macaroni and cheese, use half & half instead of milk.
  • To make the dish even more indulgent, add 1/2 cup heavy cream while making the cheese sauce.
  • Add finely chopped vegetables such as bell peppers or broccoli to the macaroni and cheese for added nutrition.
  • For an extra crunchy topping, add 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs to the top of the dish before baking.
  • If you prefer a more cheesy macaroni and cheese, double the amount of cheese in the sauce.
Neelys Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Neelys Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Neely's Macaroni and Cheese comes straight from the popular Food Network show Down Home with the Neely's. Hosts Pat and Gina Neely bring their unique take on classic southern recipes to each episode, making it not just a cooking show but an experience. Their macaroni and cheese is a fan favorite, combining the creamy goodness of cheese sauce and the tangy taste of spices for a dish that’s sure to be devoured. With this simple process you can make your own version of Neely's classic at home!
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Author: Dr. Leah Alexander
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 553kcal

Equipment

  • pot
  • 3 Cups
  • baking dish

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour/Bread flour
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp of ground dry mustard powder
  • 3 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg freshly grated
  • 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk warm
  • 1/2 dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 lb cavatappi pasta cooked al dente
  • 1/2 dash of the hot sauce
  • 3 strips of Cooked bacon crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup potato chips crushed

Instructions

Preheat the oven

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Gently turn your oven dial to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and let it heat up before you begin cooking.

Create a Cheese Sauce

  • Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium pot over medium heat, add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and whisk together for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes thick.
  • Gradually stir in 4 cups of warm milk whilst continuously whisking until the mixture thickens.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, a sprinkle of nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, some salt and pepper to taste, a few drops of hot sauce and a hint of Worcestershire sauce. Cook for another couple of minutes to reach the desired consistency.

Incorporate Cheese

  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 3 cups of freshly grated cheddar cheese until it melts into the sauce.

Assemble the Dish

  • Evenly spread the cooked cavatappi pasta over a 9×13-inch baking dish, pour the cheese sauce over top and mix gently.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup of crushed potato chips, 5 slices of crumbled bacon and 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the Oven

  • Put it in to preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
  • Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Notes

  • For a creamier macaroni and cheese, use half & half instead of milk.
  • To make the dish even more indulgent, add 1/2 cup heavy cream while making the cheese sauce.
  • Add finely chopped vegetables such as bell peppers or broccoli to the macaroni and cheese for added nutrition.
  • For an extra crunchy topping, add 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs to the top of the dish before baking.
  • If you prefer a more cheesy macaroni and cheese, double the amount of cheese in the sauce.
Keyword: neelys macaroni and cheese recipe

Nutrition Information

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What to serve with Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese?

Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese is a highly customizable dish that pairs nicely with almost anything. For a classic side to go along with it, roasted or steamed vegetables such as green beans, carrots, or Brussels sprouts are always a great choice.

A simple salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber is also a light yet flavorful option. For a more indulgent pairing, consider serving the macaroni and cheese with roasted or grilled meats such as chicken, steak, or pork chops.

If you’re looking for something lighter, fish such as salmon or tilapia can be served along with the cheesy dish. When it comes to dessert, why not serve macaroni and cheese as an indulgent side dish?

It can be Served with some freshly made whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate chips or cherries, this creamy cheesy dish can make for a heavenly treat. Or if you’re in the mood for something different, you can also try serving the macaroni and cheese with a classic apple crumble.

How to store leftover Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese?

Leftover Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It’s best to reheat the dish in the oven or microwave.

For extra flavor, you can add a drizzle of olive oil or butter when reheating. If you’d like to freeze the macaroni and cheese, it should be stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

To reheat, thaw the dish overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through.

Can pregnant women eat this?

Yes, pregnant women can enjoy Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese as long as it is made with pasteurized dairy products. Pregnant women should always be sure to choose cheeses that are labeled “pasteurized” or “made from pasteurized milk” to avoid any potential risks of listeria contamination.

When preparing the dish, pregnant women should also make sure to cook the pasta al dente and reheat the macaroni and cheese thoroughly before serving. To be sure that it has been heated through, an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit should be reached.

In addition, pregnant women should avoid adding extra ingredients such as bacon or hot sauce to the dish if they are high in sodium. Pregnant women should always consult their physician before consuming any food to ensure that it is safe for them to eat.

Overall, Enjoying a comforting bowl of creamy macaroni and cheese is a great way to indulge your cravings while keeping you and your baby safe.

FAQs 

What is the best cheese to use for Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese?

Cheddar cheese is typically used, but other creamy varieties such as Gruyere or Gouda can also be used for added flavor.

Can I make this dish vegan?

Yes, macaroni and cheese can be made vegan by substituting the butter and milk with non-dairy alternatives such as vegan butter and almond or coconut milk. You can also use vegan cheese instead of cheddar cheese and omit the bacon.

How can I make the dish gluten-free?

You can substitute the all purpose flour with an equal amount of a gluten free flour blend, and use gluten-free pasta for a gluten-free version of the dish.

Can I make this macaroni and cheese creamier?

Yes, you can make the macaroni and cheese creamier by adding 1/2 cup heavy cream while making the cheese sauce. You can also add extra cheese to make it even more indulgent. For a lighter version, try substituting half & half for the milk.

Wrapping Up

Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide on how to make Neely’s Macaroni and Cheese. I hope you found it helpful in creating your own version of this classic comfort food.

Please share this article with your friends and family and leave a comment if you have any questions or feedback. We will be happy to help you.

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Author Profile
Dr. Leah Alexander

Dr. Leah Alexander, M.D., is a board-certified Pediatrician in New Jersey and has been working at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000.
She also has a passion for culinary arts that extends beyond the medical realm. After completing culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, she started Global Palate, LLC, a catering firm, in 2007. She ran her own six-year-old catering company and served small group parties as an owner and executive chef.

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