Guilty Pleasure Mac and Cheese


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups shredded gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or crushed cracker crumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F for conventional ovens or 350°F for convection ovens.
  2. Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Gradually add the milk and heavy cream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue cooking and whisking until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and dried oregano. Stir well to combine.
  6. Add the shredded gouda cheese to the sauce and stir until melted and smooth.
  7. Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir until well coated.
  8. Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs or crushed cracker crumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Church Mac and Cheese is the best!

Growing up, church picnics were a staple of my summers, and the one thing I always looked forward to was the mac and cheese. It was creamy, cheesy, and always had a crispy breadcrumb topping. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before, and to this day, I still crave it. That’s why I decided to create my own version of this classic dish.

This mac and cheese recipe is a labor of love. It’s not health food, and it’s not meant to be. It’s meant for friends and family gathered around a table, enjoying each other’s company and indulging in something extra tasty. It’s the perfect dish for a holiday dinner like Easter, or any special occasion where you want to treat your loved ones to something truly special.

The key to this recipe is the combination of cheeses. Gouda gives the mac and cheese a rich, smoky flavor, while cheddar adds a sharpness that balances out the creaminess of the sauce. I also like to add some herbs to the mix, like thyme and parsley, to give it an extra pop of flavor.

When it comes to the topping, I use a combination of breadcrumbs and cracker crumbs. The crumbs get toasted and crunchy in the oven, adding a nice texture to the dish. And of course, I always finish it off with a generous layer of melted gouda on top.

This recipe is my way of paying homage to those church picnics of my childhood. It’s a dish that brings people together and creates memories that last a lifetime. So the next time you’re looking for a comforting, indulgent meal to share with your loved ones, give this church mac and cheese a try. I promise it won’t disappoint.


Some homework for those who truly love Mac and Cheese!

  1. “The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Ever” from Southern Living:
  2. “New York-Style Macaroni and Cheese” from Food Network:
  3. “Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese” from Delish:
  4. “Baked Mac and Cheese with Breadcrumbs” from Martha Stewart:

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Tangy Buffalo Chicken Dip – a tailgate classic


  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce (I prefer Texas Pete, but choose the brand of your liking!)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • Tortilla chips, for serving


  1. Preheat conventional oven to 350°F (180°C) or convection oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken, cream cheese, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, blue cheese, and green onions. Stir until well combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe baking dish.
  4. For conventional oven: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dip is heated through and bubbly on top. For convection oven: Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the dip is heated through and bubbly on top.
  5. Remove the dip from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  6. Serve warm with tortilla chips on the side. Enjoy!

The story of my famous Buffalo Chicken dip!

Let me tell you about my famous tangy buffalo chicken dip recipe! It started when I was experimenting with different ways to make buffalo chicken wings. I decided to create a dip that had all the flavors of the wings, but was easier to make and share with friends.

Now, every time I get together with neighbors or friends to watch a game or hang out, they always ask me to bring my buffalo chicken dip along. It’s become a staple of tailgates, get togethers, and parties, and I take pride in knowing that everyone enjoys it.

My secret to making the BEST buffalo chicken dip is using my favorite hot sauce, Texas Pete. It’s the perfect balance of heat and flavor that really brings the dip to life. While I’m a bit partial to Pete, I would encourage my readers to pick the sauce of their choosing to make this recipe their own. I also use a blend of shredded chicken, cream cheese, and sour cream to give it a creamy and tangy texture.

When I make this dip, I always serve it hot and bubbly straight out of the oven. It’s perfect for dipping chips, crackers, or even celery sticks. And if you’re really feeling indulgent, you can even spread it on a slice of bread for a delicious sandwich.

If you want to try making this dip for yourself, the recipe is really simple. Just mix together the chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and spices, then bake it in the oven until it’s hot and bubbly. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s sure to impress your friends and family.


More Reading for great tailgate food ideas:

  1. “50 Tailgate Food Ideas That Will Score Big on Game Day” from Taste of Home:
  2. “25 Easy Tailgate Food Ideas That Are Total Crowd-Pleasers” from Delish:
  3. “101 Best Tailgate Food Ideas” from What’s Cooking America:
  4. “20 Tailgating Recipes to Make for Your Next Game Day” from Food Network:

Curious to know more about the UpFront Foodie? Check out our “About” section to learn more!