How do you solve a problem like boxed mac and cheese?
First ... I'll concede it is just as easy to make it from scratch and ooooohhh so much better. So please no 'witty' replies like "throw the box away'.
These are tough times. I remember my college days when the boxed mac n' cheese on sale at 5 for $1 were welcome ... not to mention quick to make when cramming for exams.
Usually I'd add whatever meat and veggies were leftover. The most creative I got was when I had a few apples that had started to go and added sliced apples and a bit of cinnamon. That was tasty.
What got me thinking about this was a recipe from a Honduran newspaper (don't ask) where they added cheese to the boxed macaroni and cheese ... what a concept. It never occurred to me. It is in Spanish, use an online translator if interested. Basically add chopped onion, garlic, ground beef, chopped chile, black pepper, Italian herbs, a bit of tomato sauce and the cheese of your choice.
Chow has a recipe for glop which adds ground sausage and a can of pork and beans
I also went to the mothership to see what Kraft thought to do with its little blue boxes
Even Kraft has recipes that add cheese to its boxed macaroni and cheese ... Kraft cheese, of course. They seem to focus on adding their own products to it such as various Oscar Meyer cold cuts, Kraft Italian salad dressing, Knudsen sour cream, Knudsen cottage cheese or Ritz crackers,
What other ideas for boxed mac & cheese?
The sriacha sounds good.
I've been Googling a little more about different ideas for the box. This one uses sriacha to make mac 'n cheese sushi rolls.
Seriously, you have to click on that link. This is hilarious. The presentation would make any four star restaurant proud. Sometimes it pays to play with your food. If one must eat boxed mack and cheese, why not make it look elegant?
the blogger writes " I think these would be a neat finger food to pass around at a party. The cool thing is you can make them way ahead of time, so it frees you up to just reheat at the party. I like the idea of foods that look fancy, but are really something that everyone is familiar with. "
i think it's really just a matter of the flavors you like - you've already got the general idea. veggies, spices, fresh herbs, meats, other cheeses, pesto, tomato sauce, leftover shrimp or other shellfish, canned tuna or salmon...
or you could always make fried macaroni bites/balls - prepare as directed (adding any optional ingredients if you want to), chill, form into balls, dip in egg wash, coat with panko, and fry!
Yes. A little more googling turned up this link where the blogger uses a lot of those items and manages to make the dishes look good
- Spicy Tuna Mac
- Chicken Alfredo Mac
- Sweet Pepper Salmon Mac
I'm just intrigued by this ... mac and cheese topped with Rice Krispies. It doesn't start from a box, but since the Rice Krispies are used for the topping, what is underneath could be anything.
Then, as long as doing low-end box cooking, why not go all the way and add SPAM
This blog went the opposite direction by trying to make the boxed stuff healthier and adding vegetable purrees
There's even a cookbook ... 101 Things to Do with Mac and Cheese
This blogger got the book as a gift and despite skepticism, found there were some good recipes. Here's the variation of the book's mac and cheese cake ... a sort of sweet kugel dessert
There are lots of soups in the book and it would never occur to me to use boxed mac and cheese. This site write
"Macaroni and cheese soups can be made by starting with a chicken stock base. Noodles, cheese, and vegetables are added to complete the soup. Vegetables commonly used in macaroni and cheese soup are onions, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, and corn. Ham or hot dogs can also be added for extra flavor"
Funny. Strietching a box of mac and cheese by making soup out of it.
The index link on the book site lists all the recipes. Here are a few
Pomodoro e Zucchina Minestra
Cheddar Mac Salad
Fruit Salad (really? Well, I did put apples in my mac and cheese)
Macaroni, Tomato, Corn and Basil Salad
Macaroni Chef Salad
Chicken Potpie (if the mac and cheese is used as the crust, that's a cool idea)
Dr. Pepper Bake
Potato Macaroni Gratin
Paladin Blue Macaroni
Creamy Basil and Almonds
Christmas Stew (kind of sad, if you think about it)
I was wonderingg about mac and cheese salad and found a recipe. It sounds both revolting and oddly alluring with Miracle Whip and gherkins and tuna (cucumber and tomato optional
Another idea, not a salad, was adding creamed corn to mac and cheese.
My go-to college mac and cheese "improvement" was to only use half the milk and butter, then let the batch sit in the fridge over night...