Healthy Mac and Cheese | Food Network Challenge

We love to enter cooking challenges from Food Network Canada. It lets us mix up ingredients and try combinations we typically would not try.

This month’s challenge is Cheesy Mac’ N Rib.

We altered from the original recipe by using wild rice elbow pasta (gives more of a bite). We did not use mayonnaise – used thick greek yogurt instead and made a smaller patch of homemade pasta with more garlic and milk and asiago cheese.

We used whole wheat bread and spread the greek yogurt on both sides and put the elbow macaroni and carmelized onions on one side and the pulled pork with no bbq sauce on the other side with some old cheddar crumbles and grilled with the panini press.

We were impressed with the flavours and how not one ingredient stood out.


Here is the original recipe:

Cheesy Mac ‘N Rib

Yield: 4


  • 8 slices buttermilk bread
  • 8 ounces soft unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces mayonnaise
  • 4 cups of your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups of pulled pork
  • 1 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 12 slices sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Beat butter and mayonnaise in a mixer until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure complete mixing. Set aside.
  2. Prepare your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe. When finished, spread evenly into a sheet pan or casserole dish to a thickness of about 3/4-inch. Cover with plastic wrap and cool in refrigerator.
  3. Cut the chilled macaroni and cheese into squares that are slightly smaller than the diameter of your bread.
  4. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Add sliced onions and cook over a medium/high heat stirring frequently until onions have caramelized. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Heat up BBQ sauce and add pulled pork. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes over low heat.
  6. Generously butter one side of each slice of bread with the butter/mayo mixture. Be sure to butter to the very edges!
  7. On unbuttered side, layer as follows: One slice of cheddar cheese One square of chilled macaroni and cheese One slice of cheddar cheese ½ cup BBQ pork mixture ¼ cup caramelized onions One slice of cheddar cheese Top with slice of bread, buttered side out.
  8. Use a flat, non-stick griddle and bring to a medium heat (approx. 340 degrees).
  9. Lay sandwiches on hot griddle and proceed to cook on one side until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes). A bacon press or heavy pan may be placed on top of sandwiches to help with interior melting. Flip sandwich and repeat.
  10. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute before cutting. Enjoy!



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