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A lot of stories claim that mac and cheese was created by Thomas Jefferson, Marco Polo or the cooks of China. My favorite theory? An Italian housewife invented it to introduce non-Italian Americans to macaroni. —Stephanie Sorbie, Glendale, Arizona
This was a recipe that came about when I asked my two sisters what they would like to see added to traditional Mac and Cheese to make it a little special. One said Pepper Jack Cheese and the other said black beans. I liked both of the ideas and this is the result. The black beans add color and nutrition. The Pepper Jack cheese adds zip and fun.—Andrea Johnson, Freeport, Illinois
I've been cooking and baking for many years, but I've only recently begun creating my own recipes. By adding diced ham, tomatoes, several cheeses and a hint of Dijon mustard, I turned this super creamy mac and cheese into the ultimate comfort food. —Kathy Yarosh, Apopka, Florida
My husband is a self-proclaimed mac-and-cheese connoisseur and says that this is his favorite version. The Italian seasoning and tomatoes really complement the pasta and cheeses. —Adriane Mummert, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
The wonderful homemade goodness of this creamy macaroni and cheese makes it a staple side dish in my mother's kitchen and in mine as well. It has tender noodles and a crowd-pleasing golden crumb topping.
-Maria Costello, Monroe, North Carolina