I want to make a whole meal in one. Any suggestions?
Add cubed ham to the mac n cheese. Also try puréeing butternut squash and stirring it in as described in Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook. Or stir in frozen peas.
I used to make a dish in which you added broccoli to the pasta water for the last few seconds of cooking the macaroni (very al dente), strained it and mixed it with cubed baked ham, olive oil, garlic, dried oregano, salt, pepper and mozzarella, topped it with more cheese and baked it for about 1/2 hour at 350. It was really good. My daughter, who was little at the time, loved it.
Puréed Butternut is our "secret ingredient" and pureeing silken tofu works if you want to add protein without much change in flavor or texture.
Add chicken or lobster or ham. Walnuts are always good if you don't want meet. Drbabs suggested broccolit which is great. Macaroni and cheese can be like a lasagna - put anything in you love!
Cheese and milk are protein, so you don't really need to add more if you don't want to. As an alternative to the butternut squash mentioned above, I like to add some roasted cauliflower. I roast it first because I like the flavor better, then add it in to the casserole with the noodles and sauce to brown.