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Sep 6, 2007 11:15 AM

Best macaroni and cheese in a box [moved from What's My Craving]

Is there a such thing as really good macaroni and cheese in a box?
I am craving it and i don't remember the last time I had this.
What brand should I get tonight?

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  1. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner DELUXE. I prefer it over Velveeta or any other overpriced brands such as Annie's, etc. Be sure to get the Deluxe which comes with the gooey (already hydrated) cheese pack. I've attached a photo w/ my reply (click to enlarge).
    BTW, Sharp Cheddar is best.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      Thanks. I bought a box of Annie's last night and it was aweful. There wasn't enough cheese sauce.

      1. re: Monica

        I think all Annies are not created equal. I really like their Peace Pasta Parmesean and the Old Wisconsin Cheddar. Other flavers have just been OK.

        1. re: adventuresinbaking

          totally agree with you on Annie's. i tried the one w/whole wheat pasta and it was just awful, but have enjoyed some of the other flavors.

      2. re: Cheese Boy

        I have to agree, the Kraft Deluxe is way better than the Velveeta or the powdered varieties. They also make a sharp white rotini version that I loooove.

        Not boxed, but Trader Joe's frozen mac and cheese is sickeningly good.

        1. re: jessicheese

          Trader Joes Forzen Mac N Cheese is cheesy crack. it is so so good.

          1. re: ledc

            One day, TJ's is gonna make it's way to the Orlando area and be camped out on the sidewalk for the grand opening. I miss my TJ's.

            Give me Two Buck Chuck's or Give Me Death!

            1. re: bkhuna

              We're finally getting Ikea later this year, so I'm hoping that Trader Joe's is the next awesome national chain we get here in O-Town.

              1. re: bkhuna

                I lived in Orlando for six months doing Disney College Program, and I missed TJs soooo much. I had my mother send me care packages from LA with all my fave TJ products. I would make the drive to Winter Park to shop at Whole Foods, but it wasn't the same as TJs. Does the Whole Foods in Winter Park still do that great Thanksgiving tasting feast? That was awesome...especially while I was away from home and didn't have the traditional Thanksgiving to look forward to! I wish the Whole Foods near me would do that. I even wrote to them to ask them to start it last response.

                But back to the topic, I tried the TJ frozen mac 'n' cheese, and really liked it. I made it into about 3 or 4 meals since its so rich. I just ate it with a nice green salad and it was a perfect meal for me.

              2. re: jessicheese

                oh, yeah. TJ's really got it right with this one...SO much better than Kraft. yuh-hum!

              3. re: Cheese Boy

                Interesting. I've never tried the Kraft Deluxe though I do love the Kraft regular (but only in fun shapes). The Velveeta with the broccoli dimebag was my fave for a long time but now I've gone back to plain old fun-shaped Kraft. Annie's whole wheat is also not terrible.

                1. re: marmite

                  I totally agree about the fun shapes.

                  When I do eat mac n cheese it has to be the SpongeBob one. haha

                  I wish i could find a really low calorie recipe or boxed one.

                2. re: Cheese Boy

                  I bought the Kraft Deluxe recently and thought it was pretty terrible. Felt like eating thick plastic to me. I felt totally ripped off. I'm sticking with the original.

                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    Kraft mac and cheese is culinary crack. I can make mother sauces in my sleep, but there are some nights when I "jones" for the stuff in the blue box.

                    I continually surprised that the DEA hasn't investigated.

                  2. Stouffer's mac and cheese, which is frozen, can be quite tasty. The key is to overcook it until the edges start to brown and become a bit crispy. You can do this in a microwave, but if you have the time it's really yummy when cooked in an oven.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Fuser

                      I also love the Stouffer's mac and cheese. That gooey sharp cheddar is like crack. Just love the stuff. (And yes, the browned edges are great when heated in the overn.)

                      And I know I'm in the minority on this, but my fave boxed brand is Velveeta Shells and Cheese. I just love that creamy artificial goodness. You have to be a fan of cheez whiz to love it. But yes, the Kraft Deluxe with its creamy sauce packet is pretty tasty too.

                      1. re: VirgoBlue

                        Well I with you on the Velveeta, might have something to do with nastalgia, that is the cheese my mom used for her mac and cheese while I was growing up and I loved hers.

                        Not often but there are those times, we indulge. I refuse to look at the dietary information, I'm sure I would cry. That and a bottle of pico pica, or red chili flakes, I'm pretty content. But I do add cream and butter and a bit of cayenne. I think it is the kid in me. Growing up, I loved the mac and cheese at the school cafeteria. Crazy.

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          I am with you on the Velveeta Shells and Cheese. It was always a special treat in my childhood home to get this as it was more expensive and not our usual generic with the powdered cheese. It is sad, but it has probably been four or five years since I have had ANY Mac. Dang, now I have a craving...

                        2. re: VirgoBlue

                          The really neat thing about the velveeta version is that it's absolutely perfect to build with - better than cheddar. I use the shells and some extra macaroni, the velveeta packet along with some good sharp gruyere, bechamel (thinner is better), and a topping of panko/gran padano/romano, usually mix in some smoked sausage chunks, and I bake until it's bubbling and then add some more topping and broil till brown - every bite of this gets eaten, doesn't seem to matter how much I make. Also, I've varied the bechamel to start with bacon and diced onions so the roux has bacon grease rather than butter - hey nobody's talking calories here...

                          I know the op asked for boxed, but the extra steps for baking a good mac'n cheese casserole is really worth it IMHO, especially if you pull a sandra lee for some of it - the already liquified velveeta in the kit works great.

                        3. re: Fuser

                          Yum, Stouffers and cooked exactly like you say in the oven :-) Actually, I will start it off in the microwave to give it a head start, and finish it in the oven. Shaves some time off the oven cooking.

                          1. re: Fuser

                            Yup, Stouffers with the crispy edges is numero uno !

                            I did try some of the Kraft Bistro Deluxe Mac and Cheese and it wasn't too bad. I dumped in a can of tuna and a dollop of sour cream and had quick snack.

                            1. re: Fuser

                              Stouffer's is OK, but I think the President's Choice frozen mac & cheese is better. It has crumbly topping. Definitely agree on the overcooking too.

                            2. Trader Joe's sells a DELICIOUS frozen mac and cheese...they use four cheeses, and I think the box says "Joe's Diner." Other than that....for the cook-yourself box kind, I really like Wacky Mac (it may be found in a kosher aisle.)

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Chew on That

                                I just tried Wacky Mac and loved it. Not only was it cheap and delicious, but the box is a bit smaller than some of the other boxed mac and cheese I've purchased, meaning I don't feel quite so guilty after eating the entire thing. Thanks for the recommendation.

                                1. re: Laura D.

                                  No problem! Glad you liked it - we just had some for a side dish last night :)

                                2. re: Chew on That

                                  I second or third Wacky Mac it is my favorite out of a box - I forget what newspaper did a taste test and it came out on top -

                                3. Believe it or not, one of our favorite boxed mac and cheeses is the store brand (Shop Rite) White cheddar mac and cheese. For some reason, it's got a better flavor than others we've had.

                                  And ditto on Trader Joe's frozen - I just wish it came in smaller portions, or like 4 portions in one box. It's absolutely delicious.

                                  And Fuser - I thought I was the only one who liked overcooking frozen mac and cheese - I live for the crunchy parts!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                    I really liked the O Organics Alfredo Mac and Cheese from Dominick's/Safeway. It is very garlicky but I liked that about it. They also have a regular mac & cheese and White Cheddar.

                                  2. Overlapping with what I wrote on the Sriracha thread, try mixing sriracha sauce with your mac and cheese! It totally amps up the cheese flavor a notch, which is definitely what Annie's needed. The problem with Annie's mac and cheese is that there is way too little cheese sauce produced and it still tastes grainy when made with milk.