WIAW 1/16: Mac n CHEEESE

Posted by Lauren

Hello friends! I hope you had a great weekend! Since my last post on Saturday, I skied a half day on Sunday in Tahoe, ran 7 miles on Monday in the work gym, and treadmill hiked for 2 miles on Tuesday. I have speed intervals on the agenda for Wednesday, so I made sure to get a lot of rest last night! Let’s get to the WIAW action. Thanks go to Jenn for hosting this awesome link party… check it out for some cool, new blogs. If you are new to this blog, Nicole and I welcome you!

Breakfast – 9:30 AM – Oat bran and Trader Joe’s chocolate whey protein powder


I’ll miss Tahoe. The next three weekends I have things I must go to in the Bay Area, so the 8-hour roundtrip drive to Tahoe is out of the question. Celebrity chef cook-offs, surprise birthday parties, moving away bar crawls, a half marathon (a trail run, yikes, I’m so unprepared), all-day training for a new volunteer opportunity, and the SUPERBOWL.


Lunch – 12:00 PM – the taco salad you see e.v.e.r.y. week from our Taco Tuesday spread… unpictured: approximately 27 tortilla chips and a Diet Coke


Over the weekend, everyone in the cabin got into a HEATED game of Spoons. Kyle does this thing where he fakes having four-of-a-kind and slaps the table really close to the spoons. Naturally, everyone freaks out and reaches for a spoon. BUT. BUT! If you grab a spoon and no one has the matching foursome, you get kicked out. Most of us got used to his tricks, but not Todd. Elimination rounds resulted in a final match up between Kyle and Cam. Guess who won.


Afternoon Snacks – 3:45 PM – a few small bowls of Special K Cinnamon Pecan and Special K Oats & Honey


I want to write a post about transitioning from weekend ski legs to weekday run legs and how I avoid weak week run legs. See what I did there? Love homophones. Anyways, expect that blog post to come randomly in the next 21 days while I’m daydreaming about Tahoe. Yes, compression socks are crucial.


I bet you want to know more about dinner, don’t ya?

My mom and I arranged monthly dinners to ensure that we actually see each other on a regular basis. Both of us have busy work and social schedules, travel plans, races to run, and she is planning a wedding! I am really looking forward to more of these family dinners, especially if the food (AND dessert) is going to be so good!


My mom used Williams-Sonoma Mac n Cheese Starter as inspiration for tonight’s dinner. Their website describes it as a “thick, creamy sauce, ready to customize with your choice of cheese and favorite pasta shape. It’s made with whole milk simmered with a buttery roux for a classic bechamel, gently spiced with nutmeg, pepper and mustard. A rich, creamy starter for making your own version of an American classic.”


Quick n’ Easy Mac n’ Cheese


  • 1 jar of Mac & Cheese starter
  • 5 1/2 cups shredded cheese (we used blue cheese, monterey jack, cheddar)
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente and drained
  • 2 cups coarse bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a large, ovenproof casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Pour the Mac & Cheese starter into a really large sauté pan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add 80% of the shredded cheese into the sauté pan and stir until melted. Add the [cooked and drained] al dente macaroni and stir until well combined.
  4. Transfer macaroni and cheese into casserole dish, sprinkle the remaining 20% shredded cheese and bread crumbs on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.


Dinner – 7:00 PM – mac n’ cheese, crock pot pulled pork (YUM!), a simple side salad with pecans and dried cranberries, and homemade cornbread! I went back for seconds of the mac n’ cheese, my favorite part being the crispy top layer.


Dessert – 8:00 PM – chocolate caramel Godiva square and all this strawberry rhubarb PIE!


Such a tasty dinner and great company too :) After dinner we chatted a little bit about wedding details and I am so crazy excited for May! We signed up our family to run the Capitola Half Marathon on the day of my mom and David’s wedding…. we’re nuts.

One more Tahoe shot? Ok, since you asked…


Question: Favorite pie flavor? Are you a mac n’ cheese fan? Favorite type of cheese? 


Comments (6)

  1. Claire @ Flake and Cake

    Oo such pretty pictures of the snow and wow with the workouts! Looks like a great and very tasty day of eats, especially the pie. Yum!
    Claire @ Flake and Cake recently posted..WIAW: Butter Me Up!My Profile

  2. Sarah @PickyRunner

    Mac and cheese is my favorite food by far. I’ve never heard of the mac and cheese starter though! I think I know what I’m getting my mom for mother’s day…. Those monthly dinners are a great idea. I know I love my weekly family dinners when I’m home and it’s really nice to be able to sit down with family and just catch up on life.
    Compression socks are the best way to recover. Hands down.
    Sarah @PickyRunner recently posted..From an RD’s perspectiveMy Profile

  3. theresa @ aspoonfulofsunshine

    I’m generally not a fan of Mac n’ cheese but the only expception I make is if my mom bakes it in the oven, just like your mom did, so I’d imagine I would love it! That is such a great idea to plan monthly dinner with your mom, especially because you guys are so busy and it seems like you have so much to catch up :)
    theresa @ aspoonfulofsunshine recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday: Old FavoritesMy Profile

  4. Olivia @ Life As Liv

    Mac’n’cheese and pulled pork? Umm…invite me to your monthly family dinners!! I’m the best person to feed, I love all food you put in front of me and am very complimentary. :)
    Olivia @ Life As Liv recently posted..WIAW: Banana Edition + A Big ‘Ole BummerMy Profile

  5. Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers

    Key Lime.
    Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..One Last Chicago PostMy Profile

  6. Kaitlin

    LOVE CHEESE and the game spoons! Boy I made a sweet potato mac and it was DELISH! I’ve wanted to use gyruere?

    What trail half are you doing?
    Kaitlin recently posted..WIAW #23 – Scrumptious Eats…DuhMy Profile


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