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What to serve with macaroni and cheese

littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 05:51 PM

So, I just made a batch of macaroni and cheese... another current thread inspired me. It turned out well, but I just don't think I'm a fan of mac and cheese on its own. What do you suggest serving on the side to balance things out? Preferably, veggies or beans. I was thinking roasted cauliflower, but that does not add any color.

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  1. HPLsauce RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 06:18 PM

    BBQ pork ribs, collards, and green bean casserole. Unfortunately you would have had to start the ribs and greens about six hours ago. ; )

    1. QueenB RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 06:19 PM

      Roasted broccoli. Good for you and goes great with the cheese. If you eat some in the same forkful as the mac n cheese, it's almost like you're eating broccoli with cheese sauce. Really good cheese sauce...with pasta!
      Ok. That was overboard.
      But trust me, they go well together!

      2 Replies
      1. re: QueenB
        Old Spice RE: QueenB Apr 3, 2007 06:24 PM

        Ah, QueenB, I don't think you went overboard at all. You just sound like you'd really enjoy that menu...as would I. Oh, and I agree. Broccoli's a great side for mac and cheese.

        1. re: QueenB
          aching RE: QueenB Feb 8, 2013 08:54 AM

          +1 for broccoli. I think it is a perfect match with mac n' cheese.

        2. l
          LauraB RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 06:23 PM

          Sauteed greens (pretty much anything - spinach, kale, chard, etc) with garlic and maybe a little hot chili flake.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LauraB
            debbiel RE: LauraB Apr 3, 2007 07:52 PM

            Another thumbs up for sauteed greens. I really like chard with mac and cheese, but all of these would be good.

            1. re: LauraB
              FlaHurricane RE: LauraB Apr 26, 2013 06:04 AM

              I agree! Born/Raised in the south and Macaroni & Cheese to me.....screams greens!

            2. Juniper RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 06:26 PM

              I would just do a simple salad with apple matchsticks, toasted pecans, and cranberries. The fruity flavours and the nuts will enhance the cheeses you used in your mac and cheese.

              Alternatively, you could a tomato ragout, which would be a "gourmand" equivalent of using ketchup with your mac and cheese (I've seen so many people add ketchup to their mac and cheese and I have to gag each and every time - ketchup is not one of my favourite things...).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Juniper
                sueatmo RE: Juniper Oct 20, 2011 04:25 PM

                Yes to a big green salad, but I was imagining plump red tomatoes in leaf lettuce. There should be some radishes and green peppers, and a vinaigrette to be a counterpoint to the cheesy macaroni.
                Serve some nice Kalamata olives, and pilckled onions, and you have a nice dinner.

                1. re: Juniper
                  rasputina RE: Juniper Jan 9, 2013 06:26 AM

                  I love this idea! It's so classic I don't know why I never thought of it myself.

                2. littlegreenpea RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 06:43 PM

                  Awesome. All great ideas, thanks. The BBQ pork ribs sound awesome, but I'm not sure I'll have the time tomorrow. The broccoli is already in my fridge - don't know how I didn't think of that one earlier. Sauteed greens and tomato ragout sound good too. Even thought the mac and cheese was homemade, it was just so boring on it's own... these suggestions will totally help it out!

                  1. n
                    newbatgirl RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 07:12 PM

                    Years ago (many years, in fact), my sister and I went to an all-day nursery school that had a wonderful woman as the school cook. She fed us the most delicious and complete hot lunches you could imagine, all made from scratch from her own Southern/soul food recipes.

                    We especially loved mac-and-cheese day because her mac and cheese came with sauteed greens and a side of homemade stewed tomatoes. It looked pretty on the plate and tasted even better. To this day, I believe that a rich mac-and-cheese needs to be balanced by a bitter green and something sweet and tomato-ey.

                    You know this woman was something if she could get two dozen pre-schoolers to clean a lunch plate that included tomatoes and greens! We used to have to pass by her kitchen on the way to the schoolyard in the morning to play and I still remember how all of us could tell what we'd be eating that day just from the smells.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: newbatgirl
                      littlegreenpea RE: newbatgirl Apr 4, 2007 02:31 PM

                      What a great story. Now if only I had any clue as how to make Southern-inspired stewed tomatoes...

                      1. re: newbatgirl
                        FlaHurricane RE: newbatgirl Apr 26, 2013 06:07 AM

                        This lady knew her stuff... Tomatoes, greens & macaroni & cheese. Versatile and can be made your way but the combination of the 3 just work!

                      2. j
                        justagthing RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 07:27 PM

                        I love to add sweet peas to my mac and cheese and when I was a little girl my mom would put hot dogs in our mac and cheese.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: justagthing
                          FlaHurricane RE: justagthing Apr 26, 2013 06:08 AM

                          I only add peas to the dry box mix when I'm desperate for "Mac & Cheese" but don't have time to make the real deal.

                        2. d
                          debbiel RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 07:53 PM

                          In addition to greens, how about sweet potatos?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: debbiel
                            melpy RE: debbiel Feb 8, 2013 08:48 AM

                            Too much starch. Always leery of the potato pasta starch bomb. I can just about get on board with thinly sliced potatoes on pizza but as a side for Mac and cheese it is too much.

                            What about green beans almandine?
                            My fiancé would like baked beans but I am not a fan.

                            1. re: melpy
                              hotoynoodle RE: melpy Oct 2, 2013 09:07 AM

                              beans are starchy too.

                              just the thought of beans or potato with mac and cheese makes me nappish.

                              woops. way old thread, lol.

                          2. a
                            applejuice RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 07:55 PM

                            a nice glass of "Dog House" cabernet. Pretty uncomplicated wine goes great with good old greasy pizza and will proably do the same for Mac n Cheese

                            1. Tom P RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 09:24 PM

                              In my world, um, anything goes with it. But, seriously, a grilled steak or, even better, grilled pork chops work wonderfully with Mac-n-Cheese, particularly with, as mentioned by some, some good sauteed greens on the side.

                              1. vickib RE: littlegreenpea Apr 3, 2007 09:28 PM

                                Green beans are classic. Steam them and toss with olive oil, raw chopped garlic, and parsley or basil, salt, pepper. Fabulous. Asparagus is in season right now, also.

                                1. littlegreenpea RE: littlegreenpea Apr 4, 2007 02:32 PM

                                  So, it looks like it'll be asparagus (which was on sale!) and a roasted tomato ragout tonight. Thanks again for all the ideas.... I hope to try out them all eventually!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: littlegreenpea
                                    Kitchen Queen RE: littlegreenpea Apr 4, 2007 08:11 PM

                                    L.G.pea- next time try carmelized brussel sprouts! Very yummy w/mac and cheese.
                                    or, sometimes, I saute spinach. Another good option. I have also added corn to the mac and cheese. :)

                                    1. re: littlegreenpea
                                      FlaHurricane RE: littlegreenpea Apr 26, 2013 06:10 AM

                                      You can't go wrong with a green veg and something tomato and in my humble opinion staying meatless! Good for you with your choices! Enjoy!

                                    2. jinet12 RE: littlegreenpea Apr 4, 2007 08:05 PM

                                      Collard greens or some good fresh green beans cooked with pork/bacon

                                      1. hypertomatoes RE: littlegreenpea Apr 5, 2007 11:55 AM

                                        I always like veggies with my mac & cheese. A standard of mine is garlic-sauteed spinach and thick slices of juicy tomato.

                                        1. p
                                          pasnon RE: littlegreenpea Oct 20, 2011 03:15 PM

                                          roasted brussels sprouts with bacon :)

                                          1. BananaBirkLarsen RE: littlegreenpea Oct 20, 2011 03:23 PM

                                            I like to mix spinach and mushrooms into my mac and cheese, and then have a really vinegary salad on the side -- use whatever vegetables sound good to you, the important part is that the vinegar mingles with the edges of the mac and cheese and cuts through all the cheesy creaminess.

                                            1. perk RE: littlegreenpea Oct 20, 2011 03:50 PM

                                              I think it's fine to just go with a salad....but when I want to add something, I grill sausages.
                                              It's kind of a nice combo. Chicken and apple work really well.

                                              1. weewah RE: littlegreenpea Dec 5, 2011 12:49 AM

                                                BLT's & marinated, not creamy, slaw. I am having those 3 things for supper tomorrow : )

                                                1. c
                                                  coakes RE: littlegreenpea Jan 8, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                  SO I thought I would re-ignite this thread since it gave me some options for a mac&cheese meal I'm serving 200 in a couple weeks, buffet style.

                                                  I was thinking of toppings. I do stove top M&C because it's faster, and served fresh nothing beats the creaminess of it. But for those who can't even think of M&C without it being baked with a topping, what's the topping of choice, and how would that topping work if it weren't baked?

                                                  I thought it would be nice to have a topping bar, like a salad bar, with a few options.

                                                  So what options would you have for toppings? Bacon? Crushed potato chips? Jalapeno? Thai chilis?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: coakes
                                                    nlgardener RE: coakes Jan 8, 2013 02:48 PM

                                                    Panko browned in butter

                                                    1. re: coakes
                                                      critter101 RE: coakes Jan 8, 2013 03:25 PM

                                                      Caramelized onions, crisp fried bacon bits, diced ham, chow mein noodles. Think of a salad bar - any of the toppings will probably work.

                                                      1. re: coakes
                                                        sueatmo RE: coakes Jan 8, 2013 10:08 PM

                                                        Cheez It crackers browned in butter.

                                                        1. re: coakes
                                                          rasputina RE: coakes Jan 9, 2013 06:26 AM

                                                          I do homemade breadcrumbs for the topping.

                                                        2. s
                                                          SocksManly RE: littlegreenpea Jan 8, 2013 12:40 PM

                                                          Extra cheese, obv.

                                                          1. EWSflash RE: littlegreenpea Jan 8, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                            A green salad or some cooked frozen (or fresh!) spinach.

                                                            1. mudcat RE: littlegreenpea Jan 9, 2013 04:18 AM

                                                              A nice pork roast and a green salad

                                                              1. thymetobake RE: littlegreenpea Jan 9, 2013 06:41 AM

                                                                I love tomatoes on mac n cheese. I just pile them on after the mac is in my bowl.

                                                                I love the idea of peppers. Might be nice if you sauteed them a bit first. It would be like chile con queso mac. Yum.

                                                                I prefer the stove top kind also.

                                                                1. j
                                                                  jnky RE: littlegreenpea Jan 9, 2013 06:45 AM

                                                                  A Southern Staple....Salmon Patties :)

                                                                  1. p
                                                                    Puffin3 RE: littlegreenpea Jan 9, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                                    Yeah I'd go with the broccoli and/or roasted red peppers. You're looking for not only visual and taste counterpoints but also a textural ones.

                                                                    1. f
                                                                      FlaHurricane RE: littlegreenpea Apr 26, 2013 06:03 AM

                                                                      This may not be exciting to most but I have made the same meal every Sunday for almost 16 yrs. My whole family has come to expect and demand it so I oblige. As I said maybe boring to some...... Macaroni & Cheese, Thick sliced tomatoes sliced 15 minutes before serving and sprinkled with salt, sugar and light pepper, either collard greens or turnip greens or a mix of both and corn bread. We're Southern (bet you guessed that) and this is our "Sunday Supper" 4:00pm on the dot, whole family and if you're late, what's left is slim pickins.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: FlaHurricane
                                                                        naguerea RE: FlaHurricane Apr 26, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                        Nice post FlaHurricane, and it made me laugh.

                                                                        1. re: FlaHurricane
                                                                          Iansamnate RE: FlaHurricane Sep 28, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                          Ooh fla, super excited to try the greens, I just found an excitingly yummy slow cooker recipe for them after reading your post... Thx!

                                                                        2. tim irvine RE: littlegreenpea Sep 28, 2013 07:06 AM


                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: tim irvine
                                                                            Puffin3 RE: tim irvine Oct 2, 2013 08:30 AM

                                                                            I like to mix in a can of white solid albacore tuna and some frozen peas, a couple of drops of 'truffle-inspired' oil, with some super thin slices of onions and tomatoes on top then a sprinkle of crushed potato chips on top then into a hot oven until I see the sides bubbling hot. I serve this on a nice bed of iceberg lettuce.

                                                                            1. re: Puffin3
                                                                              Puffin3 RE: Puffin3 Oct 2, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                              Or served with some KFC, coleslaw, baked beans, fries, gravy, bean salad, potato salad and a muffin. LOL

                                                                          2. h
                                                                            hovirag RE: littlegreenpea Oct 2, 2013 08:40 AM

                                                                            roasted pepper in the oven, take the black coat off and marinade it in oil - delicious!

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