The Best Cheeses To Use In Your Homemade Mac & Cheese
Instant macaroni and cheese might pass the college dorm test and we all know there’s a time and a place for that blue box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
But we all learn eventually that nothing beats the real stuff. When it’s done right, homemade mac and cheese has the potential to be truly transformative the stuff dreams are made of. If you don’t agree, then you haven’t had the good stuff.
Luckily for all of us cheesy carb lovers, this meal is simple to whip up from scratch. Like most dishes you’ll cook, half the battle is won when you’re choosing your ingredients in the grocery aisles. Whether it’s baked for an irresistibly crunchy top, or cooked on the stovetop for maximum creaminess, this perennial comfort food requires the right cheese in order to fulfill its dinnertime destiny. To help you get started on your mac game, here’s a down-and-dirty guide to the major players at the market.
These are the best cheeses to use in your homemade mac and cheese.
Kraft Mac And Cheese Is Actually Not That Bad For You Surprisingly
It may have been a staple at your house growing up. So its good to know that Kraft Mac and Cheese, all things considered, has been labeled not that bad, health-wise. Its not like the world would ever stop eating it, but at least the guilt we all have when it suddenly becomes a last-minute dinner will lessen a little bit.
There are a million reasons why its safe to assume that Kraft Mac and Cheese is awful for you. For one, the powder. Usually, if something starts out in powder form, its a red flag that its not a very good dietary choice. Also, like all versions of mac and cheese, theres not much to it. Just, you know, noodles, cheese, butter, and milk. No protein or vegetables, which a nutritionist or your doctor would most likely recommend you try to eat for dinner.
Is Mac And Cheese Unhealthy
Mac and cheese isnt necessarily unhealthy, but it depends on the recipe some recipes are worse than others. Macaroni and cheese does have a good amount of protein from all the milk and cheese. However, the calories can add up quickly, so its important to keep your portion size in check.
I also added spinach, which is another good source of fiber. Not to mention, spinach is packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. The reduced fat cheese and skim milk help keep the calorie count down. A one-cup serving of this healthy mac and cheese comes in at just under 300 calories.
You May Like: Do Cheese Sticks Need To Be Refrigerated
Can I Refrigerate The Reheated Mac And Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese is a dish that is loved by many people. It is easy to make and very delicious. However, if you are planning to serve it to guests, you should know that it is not recommended to reheat it because it will lose its flavor. Instead, you should serve it cold. This way, it will taste better and it will be easier to eat.
Can I Refrigerate Before Baking
Yes, you can refrigerate macaroni and cheese before you bake it. This make-ahead mac and cheese is a great option for meal prep. Do all the cooking whenever you have the time and bake it right before youre ready to eat.
To refrigerate before baking, you will complete all the steps up to putting the mixture in the pan. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate for up to two days. When youre ready to bake it, pull the mac out of the fridge while the oven is preheating and top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
You will need to bake the macaroni and cheese casserole a little longer since itll be cold. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until heated through.
Don’t Miss: Does Babybel Have To Be Refrigerated
How Long Does Mac And Cheese Last In The Refrigerator
You may be wondering, How long does mac and cheese last in the fridge? Although you can expect your leftovers to keep for around three to five days on average, the exact shelf life depends on the ingredients used in the recipe.
If your mac and cheese recipe has additions like bread crumbs or a veggie mix, it might go bad sooner. For the ultimate cheesy comfort food, try combining two classic favorites with this recipe for mac and cheese lasagna.
- 10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 medium jalapeños, sliced into thin rounds
Preheat your oven to 375 and bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the lasagna noodles for four to six minutes or until al dente. After draining, drizzle them with olive oil to prevent sticking.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir the bread crumbs, parmesan, and olive oil together and set aside. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan.
Stir in the flour and cook for two to three minutes. Incorporate the milk and whisk until smooth. Season with fresh-ground salt and pepper to taste and simmer for five more minutes until it begins to thicken.
Remove your pan from the flame and add the cheddar and mozzarella, keeping a half-cup aside for the topping. Continue stirring until all the cheese melts and a creamy sauce forms.
Spoon a thin layer of cheese sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish. Add a layer of the lasagna noodles, and top with more cheese sauce.
Healthier Whole Wheat Macaroni And Cheese
- 1 cup whole grain, white fiber pasta
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 cup low fat milk
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1 pkg frozen vegetables
Kraft Macaroni And Cheese Is Changing Its Name
- to copyLink copied!
- to copyLink copied!
- to copyLink copied!
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is changing its name after 85 years.
Video above: Tips for making the creamiest mac and cheese
The household staple is now called Kraft Mac & Cheese, which is “meant to reflect the way fans organically talk about the brand,” the company announced Wednesday. Packaging featuring the new name will hit shelves in August.
Along with the shortened name, shoppers will notice the box receiving a subtle makeover that includes a refreshed logo, typography and single-hue blue that “amplifies the brand’s most recognizable asset the noodle smile.”
Kraft said the new name and box are part of an effort to rebrand its mac & cheese as “comfort food.” That distinction helps it differentiate from healthier products eating up shelf space. Goodles, for example, is a Gal Gadot-backed startup that sells boxed macaroni and cheese with more protein and fiber at a higher price. Banza and Annie’s also make similar products that market themselves as more wholesome than Kraft’s version.
Kraft’s mac & cheese affordability has also taken a hit recently. Dozens of its products got price hikes in recent months, including a 3.5% increase on a pack of EZ Mac and a 20% price hike for a 7.25-ounce dish of Kraft Big Bowl Macaroni and Cheese.
Kraft Heinz Co. stock is up about 1% for the year.
How To Make Healthy Mac And Cheese
- Grate the cheese: Avoid pre-shredded cheese with their anti-caking agents. Instead, use big blocks to shred yourself if you want the ooey-gooey melty low-calorie mac and cheese of your dreams!
- Prepare the creamy sauce: In a large pot, combine the broth, milk, butter, and all the seasonings. Then, bring to a boil keeping an eye on it .
- Cook the pasta: As soon as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a medium heat simmer and add the macaroni to the saucepan. Cook for 8-10 minute, or until al dente. Stir occasionally, to stop the pasta sticking to the pan.
Keep in mind that gluten-free pasta usually only requires 3-5 minutes, so adjust the time accordingly.
- Add the cheese: Once the pasta is ready, remove the saucepan from the heat. Then gradually add in the cheese, stirring between each addition. Then serve as-is or with your favorite toppings .
If you want to add a little crisp texture, you could keep a sprinkling of cheese to one side, sprinkle it over the top of the dish , and broil until crisped up.
Also Check: Does Babybel Cheese Melt
How Long Is Mac And Cheese Good For
Have you ever wondered, How long is mac and cheese good for? The answer depends on the type of macaroni and cheese. The same holds true for different types of cheese. Does cheddar cheese go bad? What about parmesan?
While fresh homemade mac and cheese only lasts for a few days, shelf-stable boxed products like Velveeta or Kraft macaroni and cheese keep for years when unopened and stored in a cool, dry place.
A prepackaged mac n cheese product lasts for several years because the powdered cheese sauce mix contains preservatives, either artificial or natural, that keep it from breaking down. For the best quality, use these products before their expiration date.
The overall quality of cooked mac and cheese once reheated depends on the type of cheese in the dish. In general, soft cheeses like mozzarella and Gruyere reheat more evenly than hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan because they have a higher moisture content.
To improve the taste and texture of leftover mac and cheese, try adding a tablespoon or two of milk when reheating. This helps to rehydrate the macaroni noodles and gives the cheese sauce a gooey, delicious quality. This trick works well when reheating macaroni and cheese in the microwave or on the stovetop.
You’ll Go Gaga For Goat Cheese Mac And Cheese
Whether it’s used as the star attraction, or to complement other cheeses, nothing puts a “what is that flavor?” zing into your homemade macaroni and cheese quite like goat cheese can.
Goat cheese , comes in many varieties and can range from a creamy tanginess to a crumbly grassiness that is beloved by cheese lovers across the globe. Try melting it into a classic stovetop cheese sauce for a macaroni and cheese that can go straight to your plate, or into the oven for a bronzed crunch.
Add A Splash Of Color With Veggies
Mac and cheese should not be so monochrome. The cheesy noodles are a great vehicle for a wide variety of colorful veggies. Adding vegetables to foods you already eat, like mac and cheese, is an easy way to sneak in another serving of the nutritional heavy hitters into your day and the day of your kids if need be. A study published inCirculation found that three daily servings of vegetables was associated with a reduced overall mortality risk and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory illness. Add this step when making mac and cheese, and youll add more fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are needed daily to help our bodies function at their best and reduce chronic disease risk, Andrews says.
Pump up the nutrition with very little effort by tossing in baby spinach, grated carrots, steamed broccoli florets or asparagus, slices of roasted red pepper, frozen peas, shredded Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, or sautéed mushrooms. You can also roast fresh vegetables and add these to your mac and cheese at the end, suggests Andrews. This could include beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, or cauliflower. Andrews is also a big fan of steamer bags of frozen vegetables for use in mac and cheese. Or pick up a bag of riced frozen cauliflower or broccoli to add to your cheesy dish, which cuts down on prep work.
How Scared Should I Be Of Macaroni And Cheese
A calm assessment of risk
Asking for a Friend,
Being a first-time father to a 1.5-year-old child means addressing unexpected questions from the first-time grandparents of a 1.5-year-old child. My father sent my wife and me a somewhat guilty-sounding email about the latest New York Times scare piece on the topic of mac and cheese, a foodstuff he presents to my son when he visits their home each week … I would love your take.
Im glad you asked. A few other people were curious about this, too. Actually more than a few others. Since that Times story came out earlier this month, most of my time has been spent asking and answering questions about either John McCain or powdered cheese.
Don’t Miss: What Does Brick Cheese Taste Like
Recipes And Preparation Tips
Even though the homemade version of macaroni and cheese isn’t the healthiest meal, you’ll get the benefit of better nutrition if you make your own. Why? Because many of the manufactured brands use powdered cheese and other artificial ingredients that don’t provide the benefits that real ingredients provide.
So how do you lighten up your favorite recipe? One way to adjust any macaroni and cheese recipe for better health is to use whole grain pasta. It won’t lower the calorie count, but you’ll get a dose of fiber that’s good for your diet. And whether you make your own at home or buy the boxed variety, using skim or 2 percent milk will decrease both fat and calories. You can also try a different approach with this recipe for healthy slow cooker macaroni and cheese.
Baked Macaroni And Cheese
I love homemade macaroni and cheese. Its so much better than the boxed versions, but mac and cheese can be so heavy that its hard to enjoy it very often. This healthier mac and cheese recipe is not only lighter, but it will also be a hit with your kids. My skeptical daughter gave it her approval. For low-carb macaroni and cheese options, try Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese or Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.
If you want to make this recipe a quick stovetop mac and cheese, you can skip the last step. Just serve it without the breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
Read Also: How To Say Acai In Spanish
Why Make Healthy Macaroni And Cheese
- Only 8 ingredients: Requires just a handful of simple, wholesome ingredients- and no shelf stable cheese or powdered packets!
- Low-calorie mac and cheese: Restaurant-style versions- 600+ calories vs. my healthy macaroni and cheese only 400 cal per serving!
- One pot: For a fuss-free, simple mid-week meal!
- Uses no flour : Less calories, butter, and overall healthier macaroni and cheese!
- Only ¼ cup cheese needed: Adds decadent cheesy flavor.
- Kid approved: Healthy mac and cheese is a wonderful crowd-pleaser!
- Super versatile: Enjoy as is or bulk it up with veggies and protein you can even prepare it dairy-free or gluten-free!
The 9 Best Cheeses For Mac And Cheese From Classic Cheddar To American
We dont like to play favorites, but we would do unspeakable things for macaroni and cheese. Its salty, carby, cheesy, gooey, comforting and celebratory all at once. And when it comes to cooking a batch at home, we aim for near-perfection. So what are the best cheeses for mac and cheese? We have a few ideas.
You May Like: How Long Will String Cheese Last Unrefrigerated
Recipe Tips And Substitutions
- Pasta: We used whole wheat pasta, but you can substitute for a gluten-free or white pasta as desired. Consider the healthier pasta options out there like lentil or chickpea pasta.
- Veggies: Fresh vegetables will give you the best results in this recipe. We dont suggest using frozen spinach or broccoli, as may make the sauce watery.
- Milk: Almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk would make good options. Any dairy-free milk option will work, but make sure it is unsweetened. If you like you may use 2% milk.
- Tips for the creamy sauce: Make sure to blend the sauce until very smooth before cooking for a creamy sauce.
- Tips for pasta: Make sure to drain the pasta 2-3 minutes before it is al dente. It will continue to cook while baking.
Mascarpone Creates Magnificent Mac And Cheese
Mascarpone is an Italian double- or triple-cream soft cheese that is often the shining star of dessert dishes like Italian cheesecakes or tiramisu. Its high fat content, however , makes mascarpone an excellent choice for savory dishes as well.
Celebrity chef Michael Symon makes his mouth-watering mac and cheese with a blend of mascarpone, cheddar, and half and half. Over at The New York Times, Melissa Clark combines mascarpone with Brie and cream cheese for a mac and cheese with an undoubtedly velvety finish.
Also Check: Alessi Balsamic Reduction
Find The Perfect Mac And Cheese Spot
- Outdoor seating
Your guide to the 3 most popular spots in Kansas City’s Tanglewood and Regency North neighborhood
Your guide to the 4 most popular spots in downtown Kansas City
Here are Kansas City’s top 5 traditional American spots
The 10 Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants In Kansas City, Missouri
Trip 101, 2020
10 Best Vegetarian Restaurants In Kansas City, Missouri
Trip 101, 2020