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!
Use A Tiktok Hack To Make Your Cheese Sauce Creamier
It’s not just Redditors who know a thing or two about mac and cheese hacks. The social media giant, TikTok, is filled with video tips to make mac and cheese better. For instance, TikTok user, , says that to make a creamier, cheesier pot of pasta, you shouldn’t follow the cooking directions as listed on the box. Typically, you would make the cheese sauce with butter and milk separate from the pasta. But with this hack, you add the powdered cheese directly to the boiling pasta water. This way, the cheese melts and cooks into the pasta as the pasta is cooking, rather than being added to the pasta after it’s done.
Of course, this TikTok user also added extra shredded cheese to the recipe, so you have to assume that at least some of the boxed-version improvement comes from the added cheese. But a writer who test-drove the hack for The Kitchn admitted that the “hacked” mac and cheese preparation did offer a slight improvement to the overall texture and flavor of the meal.
Simple Ways To Take Your Mac To The Next Level
If you want to prepare next level mac and cheese, its easiest to start with the box and doctor it up from there. Create your own cheese sauce or buy a jarred cheese sauce such as Ragu Classic Alfredo sauce.
Macaroni refers to the shape of the noodle, so if youd like to mix it up, you can use shells, elbow macaroni or even penne. The macaroni shape holds the cheese sauce well, which is why its a classic paring, but feel free to mix it up as you see fit!
You can also bake mac and cheese. The simplest method is to prepare a box variety, add pre-seasoned breadcrumbs, extra cheese and simply broil for a few minutes until melted. If you DIY your own cheese sauce, then pre-boil the noodles until theyre nearly done, before adding to a casserole dish and baking. While real baked mac and cheese is awesome and yummy, it does take longer to prepare .
The best way to take your basic mac and cheese recipe to the next level is simply add-in additional ingredients to make it even better. Its simple, fast and will take your meal from basic and boring to delicious.
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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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Making The Cheese Sauce
Make the cheese sauce while the pasta is cooking. The box will indicate how much milk and butter to use. Put this in a pan with the powdered cheese and heat over medium-low to medium heat. Stir frequently. You want to heat it to the point the butter is melted and its fully combined. Next remove it from the heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of milk. Mix together and set aside for now.
Putting it all together
Once the pasta is done pull the strainer out of the water to drain the pasta.
Pour the pasta into your slow cooker. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and mix.
If you need to make another batch of two boxes just repeat using the already hot water.
Keeping the mac and cheese warm
Remember to put the slow cooker on warm. You can do that a little in advance if you want.
How To Avoid Grainy Cheese Sauce:
- The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. More mild and inexpensive cheddar cheeses will have less flavor and almost a grittier taste.
- Use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded store-bought cheese will not melt the same as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly in the sauce.
- Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese very first, before moving forward with the recipe. That allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
- Use low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly we want it to have gradual changes in temperature . When its time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
- Dont over-stirthe sauce once the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly assemble in pan and put into the oven.
The Ultimate Mac And Cheese Recipe
For the ultimate mac and cheese, try this recipe from chef Antonio Romano, winner of Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award for Italy and the South-East Europe Region. Full of the flavours of Italy, this dish is made with a blend of Italian cheeses and topped with crunchy hazelnuts and black summer truffle.
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Cherry Tomatoes + Basil + Mozzarella
Sure, you’ve heard of the traditional caprese salad, along with its cousins, the caprese grilled cheese and a grilled panzanella twist. But have you ever thought to work those ingredients into your instant macaroni and cheese? Maybe notbut that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Simply mix in halved cherry tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, and chunks of melty mozzarella for a light, bright upgrade.
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.
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Broccoli + Shredded Chicken
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.
How To Make Box Mac And Cheese Better
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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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To Bake Or Not To Bake:
You dont have to bake the mac and cheese in this recipe. Everything gets fully cooked and is essentially ready to eat after the cheese and noodles are added. However, I love the extra gooeyness that comes when the cheese is baked and I think baking it adds a level of sophistication you just dont get without.
Top With Breadcrumbs And Broil In The Oven
Giving your mac and cheese some time in the oven is a widely-used technique for homemade versions of this dish, but there’s no reason why boxed mac and cheese can’t also get some appealing oven-baked crispiness on the top.
Recipe developer Angela Latimer of Bake It With Love recommends pouring your mac and cheese into an oven-safe dish and sprinkling the top with crumbled bacon, Panko breadcrumbs, and/or grated Parmesan cheese. Then, broil on high for a few minutes until crisped and golden brown.
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The Best Buttermilk Substitutes For Mac And Cheese
If you want to make your boxed mac and cheese taste a little more refined but don’t have buttermilk on hand, there are still some ways you can give it a rich, tangy taste.
As we mentioned before, the usual buttermilk substitute of adding lemon juice or vinegar to milk won’t work here, as that mixture is too thin and could make your mac watery. Kefir, a fermented milk beverage that’s like yogurt, is one option.
But what you might be more likely to have on hand is Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Plain Greek yogurt will add creaminess and tang to your mac and cheese. You might need to thin it with a little bit of milk before mixing it in. You can opt for 0 percent fat Greek yogurt if you’re trying to cut calories, but we like to use Greek yogurt that’s at least 2 percent fat for the best texture and flavor .
Sour cream is another easy option. It’s thick, creamy, and has a tang that can offset the richness of the cheese in your mac.
For a milder taste that still provides a rich creaminess, try stirring in some softened cream cheese. If you’re craving a tang, a little squeeze of lemon juice might do the trick.
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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Bake Your Mac And Cheese In Style
The perfect marriage of a creamy dish and a crunchy topping can be achieved by baking your mac and cheese in the oven. Before you throw a casserole dish in the oven and just hope for the best, keep a few things in mind. You will likely want to give the inside of your casserole dish a quick mist of cooking spray so that your food is not stuck to the pan. You will also want to cover with an ovenproof cover , then remove the cover in the last 10 minutes of baking so that the dish reaches the desirable level of crisp texture. Finally, you should use the largest casserole dish you have to bake the dish. If its too small and you have too much pasta and cheese then it may not bake thoroughly. You dont want pockets of undercooked pasta in your dish!
Learn How To Make Box Mac And Cheese Better
March 21, 2020 By Jessica
Learn how to make box mac and cheese better by adding a few simple ingredients. Revamp that childhood favorite into a meal the whole family will enjoy!
With everything thats going during the COVID-19 quarantine, I thought it would be a good time to share how easy it is to upgrade a pantry staple: good ol mac & cheese. Cooking beyond the box couldnt be easier, and Ive even got the video to prove it! I developed this recipe last summer for Thats Tasty. I know that Im a little bias, but make sure to browse their recipe tab when you are looking to make something new!
Psst: Ive made and photographed over 45 recipes that are featured on their website.
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Add Your Favorite Cheese To The Cheese Powder
All boxed mac and cheeses come with a packet of cheese powder, but if you’re a serious cheese enthusiast, then those small, salty packets aren’t likely to hit the spot on their own. But if you add some actual cheese to the powder, both the flavor and texture will get a very welcome boost.
Food blogger and recipe developer Ashley Schuering of Confessions of a Grocery Addict says that her cheese of choice for this process is a slice of American cheese. “I know it’s processed, but so is the neon orange cheese powder, so what’s the harm? It will give the mac a bit of cheese pull, which makes it feel almost like the real thing,” says Schuering.
If American cheese isn’t your thing or you want to add even more depth of flavor, feel free to sub in other cheeses like cheddar, gruyère, fontina, smoked gouda, or pepper jack.
The Ultimate Boxed Mac And Cheese Hack That Only Takes 8 Minutes To Make No Straining The Noodles And It Is Extra Creamy And Flavorful And Flipping Good
Looking for the ultimate way to make boxed mac and cheese?! Look no further guys because we have you covered.
I feel like an amateur that I havent been making mac and cheese like this for years. With this new method, you dont have to strain the noodles when theyre ready. You use both water and non-dairy milk and you toss in a SLICE of cheese too. Which is seriously a game changer for creaminess and flavor. I swear once you try mac and cheese this way, you will forever be obsessed with this.
And you can use any mac and cheese you want. Just make sure it is 6 ounces!
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Try Using Heavy Cream In Place Of Milk
When it comes to boxed mac and cheese hacks, the general goal is to make standard mac and cheese even cheesier, creamier, and more packed with fat and sodium than the original. Which honestly, makes sense. If you’re going to eat comfort food, why not make it as indulgent as possible? One way to maximize the creaminess of your mac and cheese is to switch out regular milk for something even creamier, like heavy cream. The result is a thicker, more decadent mac and cheese, according to Redditor HayleyJ1609, who made the hack by mistake , but said, “Holy cow, it was the most intense mac and cheese ever.”
She’s not alone in the same Reddit thread, another Redditor suggested using heavy cream and additional grated cheese “FTW” . In other words, take the creaminess and the cheesiness up a notch. As for what type of cheese to add to the mix … well, that’s up to you.
Don’t Forget Your Leafy Greens
Fiber, folate, iron, calcium, and vitamins C and K do your mind and body good, and they are all found in dark, leafy greens. If you have some time, try sauteing kale, spinach, collard greens, or swiss chard, and adding them to your mac bowl. Spinach and red peppers is a great mac and cheese combination.
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