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 friends 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, youll definitely want to try mixing in crispy chicken nuggets and a few dashes of Buffalo sauce into your sharp cheddar boxed mac and cheese.
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Easy Homemade Mac And Cheese
This Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe is made with 8 ingredients in 15 minutes on the stovetop ! Time to ditch the boxed mac and cheese for this irresistibly creamy, smooth & cheesy homemade recipe!
I have six kids and a husband with a taste palate of a 12-year-old-boy, which means we eat a lot of mac and cheese in our house. A lot of mac and cheese.
So naturally I created this easy homemade mac and cheese recipe so that we could consume less of the boxed varieties. Because I really care about feeding my family healthy meals that they actually enjoy! And did I mention that they love mac and cheese?!
Once you taste this homemade mac and cheese you and your family will say “goodbye” to powdered cheese forever, and say “hello” to this creamy dreamy real-cheese version again and again!
This homemade mac and cheese recipe is made with only 8 ingredients in 15 minutes! That’s the same amount of time it takes to make the boxed varieties, but with no preservatives or artificial ingredients!
How To Make The Creamiest Macaroni And Cheese
Youre only looking at six ingredients . Itcan even be made in under 30 minutes .
I love that you can keep this as a quick stovetop mac and cheese or slide it into the oven to get bubbly and browned. I love it both ways.
Were going to call this our basic mac and cheese not because it isnt incredibly delicious, but because its the perfect base for other variations. Take a look below for some suggestions.
To make our go-to macaroni and cheese, you will need the following:
Pasta: The shape and size are entirely up to you. Look for pasta that will hold onto the creamy sauce. Elbow macaroni and shells are great options.
Butter and Flour: Its the combination of butter and flour that thicken the sauce. We like to use unsalted butter for this and then adjust salt to taste when making the sauce. That said, salted butter will work if that is all that you have.
Cheddar cheese: Whenever we make macaroni and cheese, we reach for sharp white cheddar cheese. Its flavorful and melts beautifully. For more cheese suggestions see our notes below. Whatever cheese you use, its best to grate it yourself. I know its extra prep time, but hand-grated cheese melts so much easier into the sauce.
Cream cheese: The mac and cheese would be excellent with just cheddar cheese added, but to make it ultra creamy, well stir in some cream cheese. It adds a lovely silky texture, and since it has a little zinginess, it brightens up the flavor a bit.
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How To Make Kraft Mac And Cheese Better
Does this seem like real food to you?Fat 11 carbs 48 protein11.Give me a real slice of cheese over this any day of the week.Homemade stuff was a delicacy in and of itself that my mom made occasionally.
How do you turn everyday mac and cheese into divine mac and cheese?I am not a fan for a couple of reasons.I grew up on boxed mac and cheese.I think this belongs on the space station.
Ive used olive oil when i was out of butter.If you add the shredded cheese when the sauce is too hot it will get.It involves butter, a little starchy pasta water, and greek yogurt for extra creaminess!It wont be quite right but itll still be decent.
Its easy, use one box of mac and cheese making it according to the package, taking it off the stove/heat and mixing in 1/2 cup shredded cheese and 1/8 cup milk .Make kraft mac and cheese without milk or butter by using substitutions.Make sure to let the mac and cheese cool completely then pour it into a freezer friendly dish, cover it well and freeze if for up to 3 months.Making healthy boxed mac and cheese doesnt have to be a pain.
My teenage son and daughter will make this every day for lunch.One of the spices you can add to your kraft mac and cheese is cayenne pepper.Other milk substitutes for mac and cheese include cream cheese, heavy cream, butter, evaporated milk, olive oil, pasta water, and a roux.Our recipe for iyanlas divine mac & cheese will show you the way.
How To Make Mac And Cheese Sauce
Step 1: Make Roux by this point, you already know the ins and outs of a roux and how to make it , so were going to skip to step 2.
Step 2: Whisk in Milk slowly add milk to the roux, whisking constantly so it doesnt burn. Continue to whisk for around 4-6 minutes, or until things begin to thicken.
Dont rush this process. we PROMISE things will thicken!
Step 3: Remove from Heat once things are thick, turn the heat off.
Step 4: Whisk in Shredded Cheese then, add shredded cheese, garlic, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and whisk until the cheese melts.
Give your cheese sauce a taste and add more hot sauce, as desired.
Step 5: Enjoy! mix mac and cheese sauce with macaroni noodles and serve immediately.
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Tips For The Best Mac & Cheese
Freshly grated cheese dont use pre shredded. They have anti caking agents that can make the sauce grainy.
No bloated overcooked pasta Cool macaroni slightly and lightly coat in butter. This stops the macaroni from absorbing more liquid while baking, resulting in bloated overcooked pasta and less sauce.
To avoid lumps in your sauce, stir constantly as you slowly pour the milk in and keep stirring once the milk is all added. If necessary, switch to a switch to get rid of stubborn little lumps!
Plenty of sauce Because I like my Mac and Cheese saucy, not dried up so you can cut it like cake!
Can you make Mac and Cheese ahead of time? Most recipes are not suitable for making ahead, but this recipe is! The best way is to cool pasta then toss with sauce and adding breadcrumb topping. Cool, refrigerate or freeze then bake on the day of .
How long can Mac and Cheese stay in the fridge? Unlike most, this Macaroni Cheese recipe is good for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Most Mac and Cheese will not keep well because theres not enough sauce so it gets absorbed by the pasta and youre left with dry, sauceless pasta.
Freezing? Yes! Assemble, cool, do not bake, just freeze it. Thaw then on the day of, bake per Note 5 in the recipe.
Add ins? This recipe is great as it is, but theres tons of add-in options. Add shredded chicken, sautéed onion and bell peppers/capsicum, bacon, hot sauce , dried herbs of choice.
Homemade Macaroni And Cheese: What Kind Of Cheese Should I Use
I honestly use different cheese combinations almost every time I make this mac and cheese recipe but the one I always come back to is sharp cheddar and Gruyere. If you cant find Gruyere, Jarlsberg Swiss cheese is the best substitute. Other cheese that work: mozzarella, jack cheese or pepper jack for a little zip, American and Velveeta as well for a creamier cheese sauce. This baked mac and cheese uses 6 cups of cheese so just
To add even more flavor to my homemade mac and cheese, I add Parmesan to the Panko topping so good!
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Gruyere Cheese Adds Mature Flair To Mac And Cheese
Made from cows milk, Gruyere borrows its name from a village in Switzerland. This hard cheese is prized for its complex flavor profile.
With subtle sweet notes that complement earthy, nutty ones, Gruyere easily adds depth of flavor to a variety of dishes. From gratin and fondue to burgers and grilled cheese, this winning Swiss cheese delivers the goods. It lends mac and cheese just the right touch of grownup sophistication.
Brie Is Creamy Decadent Mac And Cheese Dream Come True
Named after a region in France and literally eaten by kings, soft-ripened Brie is buttery, runny, and creamy like you wouldnt believe. Its flavor ranges from mild to extremely nutty and tangy, depending on what you get your hands on at the store.
This creamy wonder is the right way to go if youre looking to make mac and cheese thats sure to impress. Luxurious and decadent, this rich cheese promises to instantly take your humble mac and cheese to the next level.
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Special Equipment For This Recipe
- Instant Pot I recently upgraded to this model and I love it!
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AND DONT FORGET, IF YOUVE MADE THIS RECIPE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND PLEASE GIVE IT A STAR RATING LETTING ME KNOW HOW YOU ENJOYED IT!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
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!
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Secrets To The Richest Creamiest Mac And Cheese
Ever wondered why your mac and cheese failed to perform? Too soft, too thick, too eggyand youre tired of trying recipe after endless recipe in search of the right one. Good news for you: Im a master of the successful mac and cheese and today youll learn my 18 proven secrets to the richest, creamiest mac and cheese youll ever put in your mouth.
Macaroni and cheese isnt a hard dish to make, but there are so many versions, cheeses and variations, how in the WORLD do you know which one is right? To get you started, check out my most popular versions:
The creamy classic:
Now that you have the basics to choose from, here are the 18 secrets for the richest, creamiest mac and cheese that I put in to play each and every time I make it for anyone. They never fail me, and I know theyll work for you, too:
Now pick your cheeses:
How To Measure Pasta For This Recipe
Sometimes a reader or two has had an issue with how much pasta this recipe needs. This recipe is written by volume and sometimes people think that since a cup is 8 ounces that they can simply use 12-16 ounces of pasta or go by the weight of the dry pasta written on the box.
Youll end up with problems if you do this. Please follow the volume instructions and measure your pasta dry in a measuring cup meant for dry items . Small pastas like ditalini or little wagon wheels can go up to about 2 cups and be fine in the recipe, and large ones like bow tie or cellentani can as well. If you will stick to elbow pasta until you get the hang of things youll be better off.
Ive made this recipe with every pasta shape on the market and if you will measure in cups, your recipe will be just right.
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Variations Of Mac And Cheese
- Bacon if you love bacon, feel free to add some crispy, crumbled bacon to the topping, or even inside the mac and cheese as well!
- Stovetop if youd prefer not to bake this mac and cheese, you dont have to! Make sure you boil your pasta until al dente , and youll only need about 3 3 1/2 cups of cheese total. No need to layer the pasta and cheese, just add all the cheese to the sauce, then combine with the pasta.
- Different Toppings Im a huge fan of the cheese layer on top, since it gets nice and crispy, but we also love tossing 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and using that as a topping. 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers with 2 Tbsp of butter work amazingly well too!
- Different Baking Times the recipe calls for a lower baking temperature and time, but most of the time I find myself adjusting that based on my familys tastes. I like to bake this mac and cheese at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to get that glorious cheesy crust.
How Do I Make Box Mac And Cheese Fancy
There are so many ways that you can make this box mac and cheese recipe fancy. If you are making box mac and cheese to impress a crowd, we recommend adding chopped sun dried tomatoes and 1/4 cup of feta to your cheese sauce.
Top the mac and cheese with some fresh basil or chopped green onion and youre golden.
Other Mac and Cheese Add-Ins
There are so many add-ins that will really up your mac and cheese game. Here are some of our favorites.
- Shredded buffalo chicken folded into the mac and cheese.
- You can add 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese or gruyere to the cheese sauce before adding the noodles back in.
- Slicing up brats or hot dogs and folding them into the mac and cheese is classic.
- Cooking ground Italian sausage in a separate skillet and then adding it to the mac and cheese at the end is so delicious!
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White Pepper Vs Black Pepper:
White pepper and black pepper are both the fruit of the pepper plant. They are processed differently which causes the change in color, and end up tasting slightly different. White pepper is hotter than black pepper, but black pepper has a more complex flavor. White pepper tends to have more floral and earthy notes to it.
Replace Half Of The Butter With American Cheese
My third trick is to replace half of the butter with two or three slices of American cheese. The difference is incredible!
The instructions say to use four tablespoons of butter . Were only going to use two, plus some American cheese.
I get my American cheese sliced really thick, so two of my slices would be equal to about three slices of packaged stuff. But hey, go ahead and throw in a fourth if you want. It will just be even creamier and cheesier!
Can you use all of the butter the instructions call for, plus the American cheese? Sure, but I actually like it better this way. It gets a little too greasy with all that butter added to the extra cheese.
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Switch Out The Cheese
Instead of using the powdered cheese packet that comes with a box of mac and cheese, take an extra five minutes to make a homemade cheese sauce. You can use any type of cheese, but we prefer sharp Cheddar. For full instructions on how to make homemade cheese sauce, refer to this recipe. Alternatively, stick with the standard powdered cheese-butter-milk combination, but bolster the sauce with a few slices of American cheese or a handful of shredded Cheddar to make it extra cheesy.
Hack #: Muffin Tin Mac And Cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a mini or standard-sized muffin pan with nonstick spray. Fill each prepared muffin cup to the rim with the macaroni mixture. Sprinkle each muffin with panko breadcrumbs. Bake until the tops are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Let them cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before serving, or else the muffins wont hold their shape.
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