Macaroni Cheese with Leeks

I’m not in Bali yet but almost.

Thanks for all your positive comments that the kids will be just fine.  However, because my ability to think positively is crumbling, I’ve brought in the big guns.

Macaroni Cheese with Leeks

Macaroni Cheese with Leeks

Yes, Archie (Useless) and Arabella (the Cripple), still don’t have to share the house with a live-in watch-dog but in desperation I’ve asked Drew’s PA to be on-deck to make sure the little guy isn’t being neglected.  She’s a competent woman with two grown children so can smell trouble before it starts brewing.

Only requires a few ingredients

Only requires a few ingredients

She has in hand, a five-page schedule I gave her that she’s marked-up, highlighted and sent through the photocopier to make multiple copies.  We’ve had a meeting, I’ve had some sensible texts and a voice mail saying she’s ready for action.  I’m feeling better.

Sprinkled with parmesan then into the oven

Sprinkled with parmesan then into the oven

Yesterday, I told Arabella-the-cripple I had enlisted the help of a PA to make sure the little guy won’t be neglected, abandoned or forgotten.  She broadly grinned and asked, ‘What did you do that for?’

I said, ‘Your father and I are worried you won’t get him to school on time or that you’ll forget to feed him or that you’ll leave him abandoned late at night up at the swim centre’.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

‘Are you serious?’

‘I’m worried, Arabella, because you don’t seem to be taking this seriously’.

‘You don’t think I can get him to school on time?’

An Alfie favourite

An Alfie favourite

‘No, I don’t’.  And instead of reassuring me she had his whole schedule memorised and that she was taking her role as primary care giver seriously, she rolled around on the floor laughing in hysterics as she tangled herself in her cripple sticks.  And then rang her brother and said, ‘Mum doesn’t think you and I are capable of getting Alfie to school on time, so Dad’s PA is coming at 8.30 in the morning to check on us’.  And then she resumed her hysterics and I could hear Archie laughing down the phone as well.

Everything is a huge joke and while I can laugh with the best of them, there are times I’d actually prefer some reassurance.  And I didn’t get any.  That’s when I knew the PA is going to be overworked.

A budget-friendly meal

A budget-friendly meal

In the meantime I’m continuing with my onslaught in the kitchen.  This isn’t a meal you can freeze so I’ll make another one of these the night before I leave.  It’s on Alfie’s list of ‘Best Dinners Ever’ and when I make this I know he’ll eat a big meal.  And that’s important because with him, we battle every day to make sure we don’t send him to bed having expended more calories than he’s consumed.

This mac ‘n cheese isn’t just carbs and dairy, it also has a vegetable!  Two if you count the chives.  Not bad.  Alfie doesn’t like leeks or chives but somehow they’re of no concern if folded through macaroni and cheese.

This is a budget-friendly family meal that can be made from start to finish in less than an hour – 10 minutes if you’re Jamie Oliver.

Hidden vegetables

Hidden vegetables

5.0 from 7 reviews
Macaroni Cheese with Leeks
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
Macaroni and Cheese with leeks. A budget-friendly family meal that can be made in less than an hour.
  • 500g macaroni pasta
  • 60g butter
  • 2 leeks, finely sliced and rinsed
  • 3 tbs plain flour
  • 1 ltr (4 cups) milk
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • bunch of chives, finely sliced
  • handful parmesan cheese
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C (400F).
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook pasta according to directions on the packet. Strain pasta into a colander and set aside.
  3. Using the same saucepan, melt butter. Add leeks and cook until softened. Stir in flour and continue to stir for about a minute.
  4. Gradually pour in milk, stirring all the time until the mixture boils.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. When smooth stir through pasta and chives and season.
  6. Place into a greased ovenproof dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and put into the oven for 20 minutes or until golden on top.
  7. Serve with crusty bread and a side salad if desired.


  1. It is nice to have someone you can trust to be checking on how everything is going – can you let your kids do it the first day and have the PA check up on how it going the next day and assess how much she needs to help out? And poor lady probably thought she could relax when Drew went abroad. The macaroni cheese looks great

  2. Danielle says:

    Comfort food at its best! That’s a good strategy having Drew’s PA checking in on the kids, because the two ‘in charge’ will need to up their game if they are to prove you wrong and not have the PA hovering over them 😉

  3. Too funny!!! I freeze my Mac and cheese all the time and it tastes great 🙂 Liz xx

  4. Yum! 🙂 and yay for the PA. 😉

  5. Perhaps you should pick some duty free alcohol up for the PA on your way back 😀 My brother was extremely thin growing up too and he also tucked away lots of macaroni cheese – the leek addition is a nice vegetable twist!

  6. What kind of cheese do you use Charlie? We contemplated leaving our boys this weekend but alas, we are taking them with us.

  7. It really DOES sound like you’ve brought in the big guns. And the casual attitude of your 2 oldest may indicate that was a good idea.

    The only thing the mac and cheese is missing (in my greedy opinion) is some crumbled bacon.:) I’ve frozen the mac and cheese and though it may dry out a bit on reheating in them microwave, it’s still good. Freezing just the sauce and then thawing it before pouring over cooked pasta and baking improves things a bit though it’s not much of a saving in time … I just like to make big batches of sauce.

  8. Will the PA be reporting to us how ‘the cripple’ and ‘useless’ are performing – you should put her on here as well Charlie;)

  9. I’m glad you’ll get to relax to your bones now that the PA is on the job. You need that.

    I’d be happy eating this with Alfie. 🙂

  10. I’ve been looking for a good mac and cheese recipe for my two, so will try this one out. Bali sounds good and I think the back up plan is a good one. If for nothing more than it gives you peace of mind. Have a wonderful trip and I look forward to all the news via your posts.

    When things settle we must really catch up for lunch too.

    Best Caro

  11. I really think Archie and Arabella will make you proud and the PA will not be overworked. .

  12. Well, sounds like you’ve got all bases covered now. Hope you can relax in Bali and have good time out from being a super-full-time mum!

  13. Can’t say I blame you for pulling in reinforcements – I think I’d do the same if they were available. And knowing there is back-up will help you relax a little more, too.

  14. Hi Charlie, well this certainly looks like a wonderful meal, love that you added leeks, have a great time on your trip!

  15. I think they just enjoy tormenting you. Everything will go off without a hitch! 🙂 Have fun and enjoy your time off! 😉 xx

  16. Great decision to my way of thinking! But the very competent sounding PA will probably have to check in in the afternoons also with Alfie’s varied and busy schedule!! Like you I have a very good sense of humour. but . . . . but now you can get away without a worry in the world, so have the bestest of times and raise a glass sometimes for all of us poor cold folk Down Under.

  17. Always nerve-wrecking leaving the young ones… your macaroni cheese sounds comforting! xx

  18. Definitely wise that you enlisted the help of a capable adult. It will be interesting to see just how much she is needed!!

  19. I have been trying to find/pick a good Mac and Cheese recipe for sometime now, but I find there’s such a difference between good and bad recipes and without tasting them I’ll never know. Well, looks like I’ve found it. I have no doubt this will be delicious. You’ve not steered me wrong yet. And with Alfie’s ringing endorsement it has to be a winner. Can’t wait to try it! And very good call on the PA! You’ll rest easier now.

  20. Hmm, I wonder if Drew’s PA is going to be given all of Arabella and Archies duties… I can imagine some elaborate stories coming up. Oh no, that was awfully nasty of me. Sorry.
    Love a good Mac ‘n Cheese. Hardly make it though.
    Have a wonderful week ahead Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  21. Oh, I do know what you are going through! How the youth of today have changed. The things I did for my younger brother and sister. Evrey Sat and Wed when Im at work, I worry about Laith. Thankfully he’s low maintenance and can get his own food etc, but still. So, I totally understand your anxiety. The PA is a smart move!
    This Mac and cheese, looks fabulous! If only I can get my child to eat pasta :(.

  22. So the inclusion of leeks totally qualifies this dish as a vegetable dish right? And I bet the kids will be fine. My mum always took the hard line of accountability to generate responsibility 🙂

  23. Pure, unequivocal Comfort Food! Yummmmmmmmmmmmm xx

  24. Love the way it looks sticky with cheese, ahh! Such an irresistible dish, Charlie!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  25. Oh your kids crack me up. 🙂 Glad you’ve done what it takes to reassure yourself that all will be well while you’re gone. 🙂

  26. I like your backup plan. No need to have any stress while you’re in Bali—that just doesn’t seem right! P.S. terrific looking mac and cheese!!!

  27. Yes the laughing is never reassuring. Good job you have Plan B in place. Mac and Cheese perfect mid week meal to fill up hungry little boys. Have a great holiday.

  28. I actually laughed aloud at this post. Glad you have back-up in place. You will feel a lot better knowing someone is there.

  29. I love that – 10 minutes if you are Jamie Oliver.
    Whether the PA is in reality necessary or not, it will give you peace of mind that the little one is being looked after and that is more than worth all the hysterics.

  30. Glad you found someone to check on things while you’re away! You’ll worry much less while you’re gone, I’m sure. I’ll bet Archie and Arabella will end up coming through fine, though. I think. 😉 Anyway, lovely dish — thanks.

  31. Your posts are hilarious, Charlie! I couldn’t stop laughing, but very good call on the PA. And this recipe looks delicious and so comforting 🙂

  32. Mac and cheese would be so comforting at this time of year. Hope you have a fab time in Bali!

  33. This mac and cheese looks fabulous! Love the addition of the leeks. Somehow I just realized I could rate your recipes. Please know that this isn’t the only one I would give five stars. 😉

  34. You are a smart mother and the PA will give you a little peace of mind. I don’t need the extra calories but I would enjoy a nice plate of your mac and cheese. 🙂

  35. This is a recipe that would tempt me! It qualifies as comfort food, and from what you’re describing, I hope the PA is staying for dinner. I think she may require a little comfort herself along the way, 🙂

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