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Frozen Mac and Cheese

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randyjl Aug 18, 2011 06:40 PM

Any recommendations for frozen Mac and Cheese? I am single and just can't make a big recipe just for myself. And we don't have Trader Joe's in Dallas yet, but they are on the way!

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  1. Veggo RE: randyjl Aug 18, 2011 06:54 PM

    The Stouffers large size is not bad when you are feeling lazy. I over-nuke it and get those nice crusties.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Veggo
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      sherriberry RE: Veggo Aug 18, 2011 07:00 PM

      I agree w/ the Stouffers. I nuke it at 1/2 power for the cooking time recommended, then on high for several min. until desired top crispiness is achieved. My homemade is very good, but also very rich. Stouffers gives me portion control and thus, self control as there is not a whole pan to consume.

      1. re: Veggo
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        Mother of four RE: Veggo Aug 18, 2011 07:07 PM

        When ever DH goes out for the evening my treat is the Stouffers M&C. I do mine in the oven! YUM!!

        1. re: Mother of four
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          Val RE: Mother of four Aug 19, 2011 05:15 PM

          Hay-ul, yes...Stouffer's does it pretty good...must say...however, recently read a blog about "healthier frozen m&cheese..." and they mentioned Whole Foods 365 frozen m&c...has anyone here tried it? Thanks!

          1. re: Val
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            Mother of four RE: Val Aug 20, 2011 09:20 AM

            Just made Ina's for the Grands last night. Really good, certainly not low fat, but so good. I love the suggestion about freezing the sauce in individual bags and when ready to use just boil the noodles,add and bake. You could make a low fat version of the sauce.

            1. re: Mother of four
              iL Divo RE: Mother of four Aug 20, 2011 09:35 AM

              as we all know it's really not possible to make and 'keep' a lasagna pan size of oooey goooey m&c and have it remain so. that's why individual portions or one at a time meals regarding m&c
              can remain subtle and moist. it may be an effort but worth it for the result.
              I'm pretty certain m&c restaurants do that.

            2. re: Val
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              realfatgreek RE: Val Oct 3, 2011 11:23 PM

              If you mean Whole Foods Market, I cannot afford to shop there. There is one in Toronto and I cannot believe the prices. Even the rich don't pay those prices, only the foolish middle class.

          2. re: Veggo
            iL Divo RE: Veggo Aug 19, 2011 06:50 PM

            when there's no time or desire to cook a batch for only yourself, I agree that Stouffers is hard to beat. also tho, in case you're so inclined, I've made a batch of the cheese sauce from scratch, frozen it in batches stacked flat in freezer, then when a portion is needed, take it out of freezer and thaw, cook only your needed amount of noodles, pour sauce over (heat a titch) and you're ready to eat.

            1. re: iL Divo
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              Mother of four RE: iL Divo Aug 20, 2011 09:20 AM

              Great idea!!

          3. Will Owen RE: randyjl Aug 19, 2011 04:30 PM

            Yes, Stouffer's is pretty good. Morton's was the best, and cheaper as well, but it seems to have dropped off the shelves years ago.

            My secret sin is the blue-box Kraft, what used to be called (and still is, I think, in Canada) "Kraft Dinner". The straight noodles and the radioactive-orange "cheese". If I make a pot of that, fry some egg-and-crumb-coated slices of Spam and heat up a can of spinach, I might gain weight but I lose about 60 years instantly!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen
              EWSflash RE: Will Owen Aug 20, 2011 10:25 AM

              I agree, Will. No curlicues or cartoon character pasta, original style, please. I do use about 1/4 as much butter as they call for, mostly because I'm going to eat the whole thing.

              Last night I had Marie Callender's white cheddar mac & cheese. It was delicious, although the macaroni was extremely overdone. Really good sauce, though.

              1. re: Will Owen
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                realfatgreek RE: Will Owen Oct 3, 2011 11:31 PM

                I like Kraft Dinner too. Cook the macaroni until they're REALLY soft, then add lots of butter or margarine, homogenized milk, the pkg of cheese powder, plus extra cheese powder that you can pick up at bulk food shops. Also add on grated OLD orange cheddar cheese, mix it around, and microwave or bake until bubbly. I wonder if it's worse than McDonald's "triple bypass" Bic Mac? But it's okay if you eat this type of mac & cheese once in a while.

              2. m
                MRS RE: randyjl Aug 19, 2011 04:56 PM

                The Amy's Organic brand is actually very good. You can get it in low sodium if you choose , which I tend to try to find for my 3 year old. But, overall both are tasty and good-sized portions,

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                  chocolatetartguy RE: randyjl Aug 19, 2011 06:42 PM

                  When I make fresh mac and cheese, I never bother with the sauce. I just cook the elbows, grate the Old Quebec cheddar and mix it into the hot macaroni. Not creamy, but way more cheesy. Who needs the bechamel?

                  If even that is too much work, Popeyes makes a pretty good version and you can get biscuits to go with it.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
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                    sherriberry RE: chocolatetartguy Aug 19, 2011 07:16 PM

                    where do you live that Popeye''s has mac and cheese?

                    1. re: sherriberry
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                      chocolatetartguy RE: sherriberry Aug 22, 2011 06:02 PM

                      Berkeley across the bay from San Francisco. I thought they had it everywhere.

                      1. re: chocolatetartguy
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                        sherriberry RE: chocolatetartguy Aug 22, 2011 06:29 PM

                        Mine does not; however, it does have the apparently hard to find(and yummy)hand breaded onion rings.

                        1. re: sherriberry
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                          chocolatetartguy RE: sherriberry Aug 24, 2011 01:44 PM

                          Onion rings at Popeyes? Where is this? It occurs to me that onion rings might be one of their healthier side dishes.

                          I used to love Popeyes but there is just too much salt. The mac and cheese is relatively mild. However, there is one 2 blocks from my house and on Tuesdays and Thursday you can get a leg and thing for $1.29!

                          1. re: chocolatetartguy
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                            sherriberry RE: chocolatetartguy Aug 26, 2011 10:48 AM

                            Manassas, VA

                    2. re: chocolatetartguy
                      EWSflash RE: chocolatetartguy Aug 20, 2011 10:26 AM

                      Your method with crumbled gorgonzola is one of my favorite guilty pleasures- the cheddar is completely awesome, too.

                      1. re: EWSflash
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                        chocolatetartguy RE: EWSflash Aug 22, 2011 06:07 PM

                        Your variation reminded me of a SF restauranteur Peggy Knickerbocker recipe where you cook cauliflower or broccoli with the pasta, drain the water, douse with olive oil and top with a parmesan/romano (I use Piave) cheese. I'm not one for spending a lot of time cooking, but this recipe is ridiculously easy and oh so good.

                        1. re: chocolatetartguy
                          EWSflash RE: chocolatetartguy Aug 24, 2011 07:11 PM

                          Sure sounds like it!

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                      smartie RE: randyjl Aug 19, 2011 08:26 PM

                      Stouffers overbaked slightly with chewy bits.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: smartie
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                        Val RE: smartie Aug 20, 2011 10:20 AM

                        smartie: you.are.killing.me! Once I did overbake it and those crispy brown edges were beyond belief, SO delicious! <swoon>

                        1. re: Val
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                          happybaker RE: Val Aug 24, 2011 07:19 PM

                          Yup. Stouffers. And those crispy bits. Yum!

                          Next up - the kraft boxed BUT - after you have dished out your serving, grate some fresh parmesan or pecorino/romano on the top. Grind some fresh pepper on top of that. Prepare to be very happy.

                      2. b
                        burlgurl RE: randyjl Aug 19, 2011 08:50 PM

                        personally...i much prefer Kraft Dinner...cook noodles al dente and throw out about 1/4 of the pasta...also just a splash of milk and 8 min mac and cheese for those desperate moments!

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                          Philly Ray RE: randyjl Aug 19, 2011 08:59 PM

                          Why not make a big batch and freeze the leftovers in single portion sizes? Either way, you are reheating something that is frozen.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Philly Ray
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                            realfatgreek RE: Philly Ray Oct 3, 2011 11:36 PM

                            Great idea. When I lived alone I would cook one type of meal for a whole week, then I got to eat dinner in front of the television and not have to cook.

                          2. h
                            HippieChick RE: randyjl Aug 20, 2011 10:04 AM

                            Amy's Organic I found waaaay oversalted. Stouffer's still the go-to, if I'm not home-making a batch (which I make with tomato puree on occasion...really good).

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                              Janet from Richmond RE: randyjl Aug 20, 2011 11:41 AM

                              I like Stouffer's & Amy's if I'm not making my own (mine has been deemed the best by all of my friends and family who have it....I even make it at times as a birthday present). But the absolute best frozen I've had is the Beecher's....it's pricey but it truly is similar to homemade mac & cheese

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Janet from Richmond
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                                Mother of four RE: Janet from Richmond Aug 21, 2011 03:58 PM

                                Recipe?

                                1. re: Mother of four
                                  Veggo RE: Mother of four Aug 21, 2011 04:04 PM

                                  The M&C at Berns in Tampa is known far and wide, and sells well @ $17. (feeds 3 easily). They use fontina and asiago from their cheese cellar, plus truffle oil. Yum.

                                  1. re: Veggo
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                                    Mother of four RE: Veggo Aug 21, 2011 04:07 PM

                                    The only time that I was there I had a steak! Not terribly impressed with the restaurant...never would have thought to order M&C there.

                                  2. re: Mother of four
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                                    Janet from Richmond RE: Mother of four Aug 22, 2011 07:44 AM

                                    It's more of a method than an exact recipe, but here goes (can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.)

                                    Boil 8 oz short pasta (whatever you like) until it's not quite al dente....I usually undercook about 20% of what the package recommends.

                                    Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan, whisk in 1/4 cup flour and make a light blonde roux. Heat 2 cups whole milk in the microwave until warm and whisk that into the roux slowly. Heat over medium, stirring frequently until nice and thick (should cover the back of a spoon and be shiny with tiny bubbles beginning to form on top). During the heating process, add salt & pepper to taste along with several shakes of hot sauce and a plop of Dijon mustard and a couple small ginds of nutmeg.

                                    Remove from heat and s-l-o-w-l-y add 4-5 oz of sharp cheddar, 2 oz. Fontina, 1 oz. White American (I like Boar's Head) and 1 oz Provolone. When sauce is smooth and all of the cheese is melted combine with pasta and put into a casserole dish. Up to this stage can be done as much as 24 hours ahead of time and refrigerated (bring back to room temp before baking). Top with grated sharp cheddar and bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes until browned and bubbly.

                                    Let stand 10-20 minutes before serving.

                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond
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                                      Mother of four RE: Janet from Richmond Aug 22, 2011 06:19 PM

                                      Thanks, basically the same as mine except for the choices of cheese. Sounds like i should give it a try.

                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond
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                                        DISCERNING PIGGY RE: Janet from Richmond Aug 26, 2011 08:09 AM

                                        I DO VERY SIMILARLY ! FIRST I THROW OUT THE KRAFT MACARONI KEEPING ONLY THE PACKAGE OF CHEESE WHICH IS WHAT I INCORPORATE INTO THE ROUX WHICH I MAKE WITH HALF & HALF CREAM . I USE MUCH LARGER MACARONI WHICH I PREFER AND BUY SEPARATELY FROM AN UPSCALE GROCERY STORE AND COOK IT IN SALTED WATER AL DENTE . THE ACTUAL CHEESE SUPPLIED BY KRAFT IS NOT BAD !
                                        YOUR APPROACH SOUNDS EQUALLY YUMMY .

                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond
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                                          happybaker RE: Janet from Richmond Aug 26, 2011 09:30 AM

                                          To Janet I say -- Yum!

                                    2. Will Owen RE: randyjl Aug 21, 2011 05:01 PM

                                      Oh! I'm forgetting Trader Joe's! Of course I was also forgetting that the OP says he or she has no TJ's in the vicinity yet, but it's definitely something to look forward to. Not as gooey-luxe as Stouffer's, but much more like good homemade.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Will Owen
                                        BobB RE: Will Owen Aug 22, 2011 07:25 AM

                                        I alternate between Stouffer's and TJ's. The former is creamier, the latter gooier, but both are good. My wife hates anything with melted cheese so I often zap one of these when she's out for the evening and I don't feel like cooking. I mix in a tablespoon or two of Melinda's XXX and grill myself a hot dog to go with it and I'm a happy camper.

                                        1. re: BobB
                                          DuchessNukem RE: BobB Aug 22, 2011 08:35 AM

                                          Add me to the list of, when the spouse not home, Stouffers=tasty, naughty treat. Hey, at least I'm not running around with the UPS guy.

                                          1. re: DuchessNukem
                                            EWSflash RE: DuchessNukem Aug 24, 2011 07:14 PM

                                            LOL! That's hilarious, and I agree completely. I'm sure I'll quote you on that someday to DH.

                                      2. g
                                        Greek Chefs Daughter RE: randyjl Aug 22, 2011 01:47 PM

                                        We have a GFS Marketplace that just opened last month. We've already tried their name brand macaroni and cheese in a frozen tray, and it was very good for what it is. Our 3 year old eats the mac and cheese just plain, but I will doctor it up with spices, bacon, etc....for the grown ups.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Greek Chefs Daughter
                                          EWSflash RE: Greek Chefs Daughter Aug 24, 2011 07:15 PM

                                          I used to mix in some cooked frozen spinach for my son when he was a little shaver- he liked it a lot and I liked giving him something besides plain old mac&cheese

                                        2. BlueMagic RE: randyjl Aug 24, 2011 05:29 PM

                                          Frozen mac and cheese is just awful. Why not make it from scratch and just cut the recipe? There really is no substitute. The only mac and cheese I've tasted that's been decent is the one they sell at the hot food bar at Whole foods. Is that an option for you?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: BlueMagic
                                            EWSflash RE: BlueMagic Aug 24, 2011 07:16 PM

                                            Clearly you aren't helpless against mac and cheese like some of us are. ;-)

                                            1. re: EWSflash
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                                              Mother of four RE: EWSflash Aug 26, 2011 10:31 AM

                                              ;-)

                                          2. mamachef RE: randyjl Aug 26, 2011 10:53 AM

                                            Stouffer's is my go-to frozen mac and it always tastes right, but lately have become very enamored of Schwan's Penne w/ gruyere and pancetta. And I will admit yet again to loving Blue Box Mac, especially when comfort is needed quickly, and by the great big bowlful.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: mamachef
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                                              randyjl RE: mamachef Aug 26, 2011 11:04 AM

                                              Thanks for all the suggestions, but Stouffer's flavor is too strong for me. I will try some of the other suggestions and bide my time until we get our TJ's in Dallas.

                                              1. re: randyjl
                                                Emme RE: randyjl Aug 27, 2011 12:40 PM

                                                too strong in what way?

                                                1. re: Emme
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                                                  randyjl RE: Emme Aug 27, 2011 01:44 PM

                                                  I like sharp cheese, but not in mac n cheese. It's just too sharp for my taste.

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                                              AdamD RE: randyjl Aug 27, 2011 02:03 PM

                                              Stouffers is good but man is it rich.
                                              Annie's in the box-white cheddar and shells-with some peas and ham added
                                              Or if necessary-the blue box-with siracha or garlic powder added

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: AdamD
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                                                smartie RE: AdamD Oct 4, 2011 05:49 AM

                                                definitely a good idea to add peas to the Stouffers Mac n Cheese, it cuts down on the richness and adds a little texture.

                                                1. re: smartie
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                                                  wonderwoman RE: smartie Oct 4, 2011 11:45 AM

                                                  stouffers is my frozen mac-n-cheese of choice. and it is rich, but i find peas too starchy to add much texture. so i roast or steam some broccoli crowns while the mac-n-cheese is in the oven.

                                                  1. re: wonderwoman
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                                                    AdamD RE: wonderwoman Oct 6, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                    Yeah I dont add anything to the stouffers mac except that I usually have a salad with some serious acid at the same time. Im too old to eat a block of processed cheddar and pasta at the same time. :)

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