One pot meals for communal kitchens

Venturing into my old dorm hall, Jennings Hall, I asked University of Florida freshman, Hanna Harwood, what her favorite things to cook in her dorm are.

“I like to get creative and recreate meals from my favorite restaurants,” she said. “I don’t have the luxury of going out to eat, so I started searching copycat recipes for my favorite dishes.”

One of her favorites to recreate is Panera’s mac & cheese. Considering this is one of my favorite menu items Panera offers, she had me hooked.

“There are hundreds of recipes online for it, but I like this one because everything is made in one pot and there are so little ingredients” Harwood said.

I immediately set aside 30 minutes of my time to make this. I ventured to Publix and picked up the only two ingredients I didn’t already have: extra sharp white cheddar cheese and dijon mustard.

“It’s really fun when everyone in the kitchen is super impressed with what you are making,” Harwood said. “You basically throw all of the ingredients into one pot and let it do its magic.”

Copycat Panera mac & cheese

2 cups pasta

2 1/2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tbsp. butter

1 cup (4 oz.) grated extra sharp cheddar



I gathered my ingredients, and got to cooking.


I chopped up the cheese (because what college student has a cheese grater?).


On medium heat, I added the milk, butter, mustard, salt and pasta.


I let that come to a simmer, and then turn the heat down to low. Stir continuously for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked in the milk.


Add the cheese. I added some regular shredded cheddar, because why not?


Let it sit with a lid on for about 5 minutes and enjoy immediately!

img_5362       img_5363

Thank you Hanna Harwood, thank you.


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