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Macaroni & Cheese Party...

We're having a mac and cheese party this weekend, serving about ten different types of mac and cheese. The thing is, we can't figure out what to serve as side dishes, apps, and drinks that would go well with our "comfort food" theme and not fill everyone up so much they can't chow down on mac and cheese. Any suggestions?

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  1. Old school flavored sodas would be great for drinks, grape soda, Orange Crush, etc. If you are looking for alcoholic drinks, you can always mix.. like rum and Coke.

    If you want other dishes, you might want a crisp salad, to counter the soft mac & cheese.

    1. Salads are the most traditional thing to serve with mac and cheese. If you're going comfort, maybe a wedge of iceberg.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ESNY

        for apps maybe something bacon wrapped?

      2. Ten different types of mac & cheese?? Do tell! Mac & cheese makes me thing of chicken nuggets and veggies. It's a pretty heavy dish so I would probably go with light apps and sides. Salad and maybe some protein; mini burgers or satays.

        1. what an excellent idea!

          Mac and cheese is very heavy, so you need something that is the equivalent of a palate cleanser between plates. Salad would be nice, and I think something vinegary would be good, like a good cole slaw. A pickle plate might also be fine (small bites to help pace yourself) with dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, pickled onions, cornichons, things like this. And also, fresh fruit would be nice. Watermelon is not in season, so unfortunate. So I would substitute a nice selection of citrus wedges, maybe some pineapple, some pear wedges or apple pears (even more refreshing). Perhaps a plate of veggies, again to provide contrast to the mac and cheese. I would keep the sides small and fresh so as to allow the mac and cheese to shine!

          I wouldn't do it, as no one will eat enough mac and cheese, but fried chicken... chicken and mac and cheese has to be one of my favorite combos ever....

          3 Replies
          1. re: moh

            i think your suggestion of Cole Slaw would be excellent. a nice crisp cole slaw to balance off the creamy heaviness of mac and cheese? mmm. i can taste it already, haha

            1. re: moh

              I will post the recipes when I get home. My husband and I found an article in a magazine with ten different types of mac and cheese (italian, herb, new england, etc). So we'll have five chafing dishes each with a 1/2 side of a different kind of mac and cheese. I am so excited because everyone we know is really into the idea. I was thinking about doing a pastry tray of ding dongs, hohos, snowballs, etc, for desert.

              1. re: ryannmo

                What a eally, really cool idea! We've tried several different pasta types mixed and matched with several different sauces, and it was so much fun. To contrast the heaviness of the pasta, we served lots of veggies either raw, steamed or lightly sauteed. We avoided meats and fish.
                We made a champagne/sorbet punch and had a variety of mini desserts.
                It was wonderful. I think we'll have to do something like that again.
                I'll look forward to your posted recipies. :-}

            2. Something light and crisp to set off all that yummy pasta and cheese. A tossed salad or some veggies to snack on beforehand or during, maybe a whole grain bread to accompany. For drinks, I'd crave something like iced tea or a cold beer.

              1. Peel and eat shrimp, with really good cocktail sauce goes great juxtaposed with mac and cheese. Maybe spiked lemonade to drink?

                1. I'd recommend a dry white wine, with a crisp acidity, to cut down on the cheese factor. I'd go with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, reasonably priced, and what we drink with cheese fondue.

                  1. For some reason, I first thought of caramelized onions - not a side per se, but great alongside some macs.

                    Some crusty bread for textural contrast. Maybe even with some caponata.

                    Tomato soup as an app, not a heavy creamy version, but a light type or gazpacho.

                    Broccolini stirfried with a little garlic and olive oil.

                    Greens (collards, turnips, mustards) cooked w/ white minced onions.

                    Like another poster, shrimp comes to mind - cocktail, scampi, or battered'n'fried.

                    Or, some sort of wing for protein or meat rather.

                    Definitely agree w/ salad, something simple, or even lettuce-less like artichoke hearts, hearts of palm and chopped tomatoes w/ a simple vinegarette.

                    Brownies for dessert.

                    1. Here are the recipes, we've condensed the 10 from the original Better Homes & Gardens (Oct. 2007) article down to 5:
                      -Garden Herb: Croutons, Olive Oil, Broccoli, Asparagus, Red Peppers
                      -Italian: Mushrooms, Black Olives, Permesan, Pepperoni, Tomato Sauce, Carmalized Onions, Pizza Seasoning
                      -South of the Border: Chorizo Sausage, Grape Tomatos, Jalapenos, Cumin, Sour Cream and Salsa on top.
                      -Greek: Feta, Green Olives, Green Pepper, Greek Yogurt on top.
                      -Smoky: Smoked White Chedder, Smoked Bacon, Almonds.

                      We're baking a 4 cheese mac & cheese and then mixing in these ingredients, which will already be steamed, sauteed, etc as needed.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ryannmo

                        oh man, that South Of The Border one sounds amazinggggg. as well as the Smoky one!

                      2. How about a 'toppings' bar.. maybe some tomatoes, bacon, peas, onions, etc?

                        1. How about, a green salad and wine and dessert! Am I invited, it's one of my favorite foods!!! Maybe that will be my next party!!

                          1. I think fruit goes so well with cheeses. Molly Katzen has a recipe for raspberried vegetables that she suggests as a side for a meal of pasta with a creamy alfredo sauce. It's basically lightly steamed vegetables marinated in a raspberry vinaigrette. You could continue the fruit theme with a fruit crumble/crisp/cobbler dessert and hard apple cider and/or really good regular apple cider to drink.

                            This is such a fun idea for a party - I hope you have a great evening!

                            1. Maybe hot dogs? Or a good old meatloaf.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: FoodieKat

                                Waaaaaay too heavy with all that pasta