How To Elevate Mac And Cheese

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Cauliflower Mac & Cheese From Low Carb Yum

Smoked Mac and Cheese – What’s Cookin

Cauliflower is a great solution for those watching their carb intake or looking for gluten-free options . The cauliflower mimics pasta enough that you can enjoy this meal without noodles, or simply microwave cauliflower and use it to stretch your basic mac and cheese recipe more fiber and servings!

Make The Sauce Separately

My fourth trick is to never, ever try to make the sauce while the elbow macaroni is in the pot. The macaroni gets totally beaten up during this process, and its almost impossible to get rid of every little bit of powder, leaving the mac and cheese gritty.

Instead, set the drained macaroni aside in a bowl , adding a tablespoon of the butter and giving it a gentle stir, so that the pasta doesnt stick together as it sits.

Then, over low heat, stir the remaining tablespoon of butter with the quarter cup of milk, the packet of cheese powder, and the two or three slices of American cheese.

Now, if you absolutely dont want to use another dish and just want to serve the mac and cheese in the pot, I get you. At the end of the day, one more bowl for each thing you cooked adds up. In that case, just let the pasta sit in the strainer or colander you used to drain it, and dont add the tablespoon of butter to it .

You just have to be extra careful when its time to add the pasta to the sauce, because it will tend to fall out of the strainer in one big clump, and that could make a big mess . And youll have to do a bit of extra stirring to get the pasta separated again.

Thats it! Easy tips to upgrade your boxed mac and cheese from good to delicious!

One Pot Spinach & Artichoke From House Of Yum

Is there a better appetizer than spinach artichoke dip? Its one of those dishes thats gone before it even hits the table. This recipe takes all the flavors of your favorite dip and adds them into macaroni and cheese. She makes her own sauce, but you could easily use a white cheddar variety and simply add in the spinach and artichokes. Yum!

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Marinated Artichokes + Roasted Garlic + Sauted Spinach

Spinach and artichoke dip is “Old Reliable” at any party I host it’s never the first thing that comes to my mind to make, but if it’s there, I can count on there never being any leftovers. Here’s how to bring the party vibes to your grilled cheese: Drain and chop a handful marinated artichokes, sauté a small heap of baby spinach with minced garlic and olive oil, and add ’em both in to your cooked mac.

Broccoli + Shredded Chicken

Elevated Mac &  Cheese

This combination’s got comfort food written all over it, and it couldn’t be simpler to whip up, especially if you’ve got some leftover roast chicken from the night before. Simply steam or sauté broccoli florets while the noodles boilor better yet, let that pot of water do double duty and toss the broccoli in there. After draining the noodles and mixing in the cheese, stir in the broccoli and shredded chicken until everything is nice and warm.

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Spicy Italian Sausage + Onions + Marinara

One of my go-to pasta recipes is as straightforward as it is satisfying. First, sautée diced onions, then add broken-up spicy Italian sausage to the pan. Once everything is cooked through, incorporate a cup or two of my favorite canned marina sauce . That, plus a little bit of penne pasta, is a weeknight no-brainer, but I think it might be even better mixed into the sharp cheddar of instant macaroni and cheese.

Bobby Flay’s Upscale Mac ‘n Cheese

Nothing says comfort food like mac n’ cheese. Whether your mom made it from a box or she whipped up her own recipe, there aren’t many people out there who don’t have some sort of childhood memory of it.

Unfortunately, it is often considered a low-end food, not worthy of gourmet consideration.

But Bobby Flay, our resident chef, is here to dispel all of that. He says that there are all sorts of gourmet, high-end ways to serve everyone’s favorite entrée.

He’s preparing a recipe that won him a “Throwdown” competition almost a year ago. His famous Throwdown Macaroni and Cheese Cabonara recipe took down Delilah Winder, a famous soul food chef in Philadelphia. It has an “almost béchamel” sauce and is served baked with pancetta.

He is also sharing the recipes for Pasta with Four Cheeses and Roasted Garlic and Penne Ala Vodka Macaroni and Cheese.

Throwdown Macaroni & Cheese Carbonara
Penne Al a Vodka Macaroni & Cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley3 tablespoons chopped fresh basilSalt and freshly ground black pepper1 pound pasta, slightly under al dente1 cup grated parmesan cheese1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼-inch thick slicesFresh basil leaves

Pasta with Four Cheeses and Roasted Garlic

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How To Elevate Kd Mac N Cheese In 10 Vs 30 Minutes

Hello, welcome back to another food post! We have four different kinds of mac and cheese recipes for you today. The first two recipes can be done within a minimum of ten minutes and you will have fancier mac and cheese meals in no time. The other two recipes are still very easy but will take you about half an hour which isn’t that bad either for a delicious and stimulating dinner. Read on to discover why the last two dishes will leave you breathless. We hope you enjoy!

Mediterranean Style Mac And Cheese

Upgrade Your Boxed Mac & Cheese

This is another very easy way to change up your mac and cheese game. The unique combinations of the flavours in this dish is what makes this recipe stand out. It does require a few more ingredients than our previous mac and cheese but they are still very budget friendly and easy to prepare.


Kraft dinner mac and cheese

3 tbsp. of Olive Oil

1 1/2 tsp. of garlic

1/2 tsp. of garlic powder

1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese

4 tbsp. of chopped sun dried tomatoes


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook the pasta following the box instructions. Drain and set aside.

  • Combine olive oil, garlic, garlic powder, and cheese packet to make the sauce.

  • Toss the pasta in to the sauce and mix in the crumbled feta cheese and chopped sun dried tomatoes.

  • Transfer to an oven proof casserole dish and cover with an aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

  • Plate and Enjoy!

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    Chicken Nuggets + Buffalo Sauce

    Although I may not be a personal fan of Buffalo sauce , I have a few friends that would actually drink the stuff. My best friend’s favorite way to consume this spicy, tangy stuff is a Buffalo chicken sandwichaka, breaded chicken slathered in Buffalo sauce and stuffed in a hoagie. If that sounds delicious, you’ll definitely want to try mixing in crispy chicken nuggets and a few dashes of Buffalo sauce into your sharp cheddar boxed mac and cheese.

    Can You Use Water Instead Of Milk In Macaroni And Cheese

    That really depends. The answer is yes, you CAN, however the question should be SHOULD I, in which the answer is no. If you are hungry and have nothing else, then of course, use water. Youll want to add MORE butter if you are doing this AND A slice or two of American Sandwich Cheese as well.

    However, if you have cream, milk, evaporated milk in the can, dehydrated milk or any other likely substitute then you should use that instead.

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    Add Actual Cheeseor American Cheese

    One need only look to pizza to understand how something already made with cheese benefits from extra cheese. Improve both the taste and texture of boxed mac and cheese by adding some actual cheese to the mix: Mozzarella makes it stretchy, gruyere adds sweet and savory notes, cheddar keeps it classic, and even parmesan adds depth and additional saltiness. Or franklyeven though it doesnt qualify as actual cheesea couple of slices of American cheese does wonders for instant ramen noodles, so why not for mac and cheese?

    Include Vegetables For A Nutritous Crunch

    Mac + Cheese Kitchen

    The addition of vegetables to cooked mac and cheese will bring both a satiating boost and a pleasant textural crunch to the dish.

    “My favorite way to upgrade boxed mac and cheese is to add vegetables to make it a more nutritious option and to add fiber, which will make the dish more filling overall. This also allows you to clear out your vegetable crisper to reduce food waste,” says recipe developer Taylor Stinson of The Girl on Bloor.

    Stinson recommends broccoli for mac and cheese purposes, but summer or winter squash, cauliflower, bell peppers, and peas also make excellent additions.

    Quick Tip: To give your boxed mac and cheese some added protein, stir in cooked chicken, ground beef, tofu, plant-based meat, or greek yogurt.

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    This Buffalo Chicken Mac And Cheese Adds A Nice Bit Of Heat

    Spice up your mac and cheese game with this Food Network recipe that combines mac and cheese with Buffalo chicken for a spicy, decadent meal.

    Although this specific recipe calls for mac and cheese made from scratch, you can easily swap it out for the boxed version.

    Just mix together Buffalo wing sauce, cubed chicken, and crumbled blue cheese with your mac and cheese.

    Ignore The Box Instructions

    When the water comes to a boil, set a timer for 2 minutes less than the box says to cook the noodles. Because most boxed macaroni shapes are little and flimsy , they can turn to mush quickly. Start checking for doneness once your timer goes off. Youll want to get the noodles outta there as soon as theyreal dente, which means just cooked all the way through, with a firm bite in the center.

    Meanwhile, as the noodles cook, prepare your mix-ins.

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    Slightly Undercook The Pasta For The Perfect Al Dente Bite

    One of the most common complaints that we heard from our expert sources was that the cooking instructions provided on mac and cheese boxes overestimate the amount of time required to boil the pasta, and following those directions can result in mushy, less-than-appealing mac and cheese.

    “Undercook the pasta from the time listed on the box by 2 to 3 minutes to ensure some texture,” says Jim Mumford, cookbook author and recipe developer of Jim Cooks Food Good.

    How To Make Box Mac And Cheese Better

    How to Make Kraft Mac & Cheese BETTER!

    This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    We are obsessed with box mac and cheese . Have you ever wondered how to make box mac and cheese better? This is our go-to way to make box mac and cheese. Its so creamy and flavorful youll never go back to the boring way!

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    Barbecue Chicken From Kraft

    Macaroni and cheese goes so well with barbecue. Its the perfect combination reallysavory, sweet, smoky and cheesy! Use shredded chicken and barbeque sauce to really amp up this combination. Also try this dish with pork as well. You can also turn it into the ultimate dinner platter.

    So, if youre faced with an empty fridge and no idea what to fix for dinner, check your pantry. With a box of macaroni and cheese and a can or two of extras youll enjoy a delicious, simple meal tonight that wont derail your grocery budget.

    Whats your favorite way to upgrade your basic mac and cheese recipe? Is there an add-in you use to take your boxed meal to the next level? Share your own mac hacks in the comments!

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    Hack #: Canned Tuna + Frozen Peas + Shredded Cheese + Breadcrumbs

    Try this modified take on a classic tuna noodle casserole. This dish works well with any white cheddar mac base. Boil pasta according to package directions. Halfway through cooking, add in 1/2 cup of frozen peas. Drain pasta and peas and make sauce as directed. Mix pasta, peas and sauce, along with as much or as little drained canned tuna as you like, then put it into an oven-proof casserole dish. Sprinkle shredded cheese and breadcrumbs on top, then broil for three to five minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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    Healthy Ways To Add More Flavor To Basic Mac And Cheese


    Good mac and cheese should have a rich, creamy, and flavorful cheese sauce.

    Use Flavorful Cheeses

    Hard cheeses like Parmesan typically add fewer calories than softer varieties like Cheddar or mozzarella because you dont have to add as much to achieve a bold flavor. If your recipe doesnt call for any hard cheeses, try cutting back on the amount of soft cheeses and toss in a healthy handful of grated Parmesan instead.

    Add SpicesIf your recipe calls for fattening ingredients like bacon, try swapping them for healthier options. You wont miss bacon at all if you add a pinch of smoky cumin or paprika to the cheese sauce.

    Add Herbs

    Fresh or dried herbs also add a ton of delicious flavor to the cheese sauce, limiting the need for excess cheese, butter, or cream.

    Make a Creamy Sauce

    Try combining the homemade cheese sauce with puréed butternut squash or carrots. Aside from cutting back on the fat and calories, both vegetables will add a subtle sweetness to the dish without sacrificing the creaminess of the cheese sauce.

    Add Some Veggies

    Although we dont condone replacing all the pasta with vegetables , adding some vegetables for flavor can be a good way to reduce the amount of carbohydrates youre eating. Grilled corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, and small florets of roasted cauliflower are all great choices.

    Kristie Collado is The Daily Meals Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter

    Give It The Tuna Casserole Treatment

    How To Elevate Boxed Mac and Cheese

    Box instructions would have you drain and toss the cooked noods with cheese powder, milk, and optional butter. But for a much better mac, youre going to ignore those directives. The trick to upgrading boxed mac is to work with the flavor packet, which can veer a little chemically. The ingredients in Macella Hazans fettuccine col sugo di tonno con aglio e panna do just that.

    The cream and canned tuna introduce velvety, briny elements that actuallyand shockingly?complement the sharp tang of powdered cheese. And the result tastes like a deconstructed tuna casserole: creamy, salty sauce coating chewy pasta, with flaked tuna for texture . Parsley and freshly ground black pepper keep it from tasting like the punchline of a joke about the 1950s.

    So, while your noodles are cooking, add the following to a bowl large enough to fit all of the mac, using a fork or whisk to combine until no large clumps remain:

    • The flavor packet from your box of mac and cheese
    • 2-ish Tbsp. chopped parsley
    • Half a clove of raw garlic, finely minced you can amp this up to a whole clove if youre a certified Garlic Girl
    • A large handful of freshly Microplaned or grated Parmesan or any hard, salty cheese
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 can oil-packed tuna, drained
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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    Super Simple Ways To Upgrade Your Mac And Cheese

    It’s time for a mac and cheese makeover, and you won’t believe how delicious the results are!

    When my kids were little, there were times when we pretty much survived on good old Kraft mac and cheese. Those little blue boxes were a life-saver on more than one occasion, because I knew mac and cheese was one of the few meals that everyone would eat. Plus it was quick and easy to make, and relatively inexpensive too. But as my kids got older and developed bigger appetites, I had to get a little creative to stretch our usual mac and cheese dinners.

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    I have found myself in an extremely ironic situation this past month. One in which I am enjoying some of the greatest success of my career with the … Continue Reading

    My solution was to drain a can of corn or peas and mix it in with the mac and cheese right at the end. It did the trick of making our meals go further, and my kids took the change surprisingly well! In fact, my oldest started preferring it with corn, while my 2nd oldest insisted that it was best with peas.

    Start With Something You Like

    Like I mentioned above, Im no stranger to that blue box of Kraft mac and cheese. Its easy and tastes good! There are plenty of other options for boxed mac and cheese too, like Annies And if youd rather make your mac and cheese yourself, Ive got you covered. Ive included an easy gourmet mac and cheese recipe at the end of this post, so be sure to check that out!

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