Why This Mac & Cheese Recipe Works:
- The cheeses and sauce ingredients in this recipe combine to form a rich mac and cheese. Loaded with pasta & cheese, this versions tangy ultra-smooth & creamy.
- While the recipe does include both butter & flour, we dont start off with a traditional roux. Instead everything simmers together low & slow to form a cream sauce that wont curdle.
- This recipe only requires a handful of ingredients making it perfect for any occasion, busy nights or potluck parties.
It really is the perfect recipe for foolproof macaroni and cheese. Rich, creamy homemade mac and cheese is always a winner around here.
This copy cat Stouffers macaroni & cheese may taste just like its store-bought, frozen food section counter part- but this version is so much better for you.
How To Make This A Frozen Mac And Cheese Recipe:
Making this dish freezer friendly is actually very simple. Bake the recipe as is, following all the steps accordingly.
When the dish is removed from the oven, set is aside, and let it cool completely.
Cover the dish tightly, aluminum foil works best, and place it flat in a freezer. It will stay good in the freezer for up to three months.
When ready to cook, remove the dish from the freezer bake the frozen mac and cheese for 55-60 minutes.
Basically until its cooked through, bubbly, and the edges are slightly golden brown. Thats it, serve & enjoy!
Simply Nature Organic Macaroni & Cheese
Perhaps the best word to describe Simply Nature Organic Macaroni & Cheese from Aldi is … neutral. It’s definitely not bad, but it’s not exactly packed with flavor either. Like many of Aldi’s products, it’s a relatively obvious rip-off of the standard Kraft Original, but the “cheese” might be slightly sharper in this iteration of the boxed classic. Make it for your kids, and they’re probably going to gobble it up. Adults, we won’t judge if you eat it straight from the pot after a long day of work when you just can’t be bothered to make a real meal. But you’re not going to convince anyone it didn’t come out of a box from a budget store, even with the most elaborate upgrades and enhancements. If you’re already at Aldi, you shouldn’t turn it down if you’re craving mac and cheese. But we wouldn’t go out of our way for it.
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Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese
We know what we said about frozen mac and cheese, but when it comes to the Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac and Cheese, you can ignore those criticisms completely. This stuff is downright delicious. Parmesan isn’t the typical cheese you’d use in a mac and cheese dish, but we can’t get enough of the unexpected flavor. And it may seem like everyone is obsessed with truffles these days, but they do provide a rich, earthy tone that’s melt-in-your-mouth amazing, especially when combined with cheese. The dish is also topped with panko bread crumbs. We weren’t expecting them to be particularly crunchy, considering it’s microwaved. But we were wrong, and the crunch is real.
Evol might not be the cheapest brand out there, but there’s a reason for that. The company offers higher-quality frozen meals than you might not be used to if you grew up in the era of Kid Cuisine . The company’s claim to help you “bring down the broken food system by heating up a frozen burrito” might be an exaggeration, but it does offer frozen food like this mac and cheese that you can actually look forward to at the end of a long day.
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VARIATIONS ON STOUFFERS MACARONI AND CHEESE
- Gluten-Free: Substitute the wheat flour in this recipe with a gluten-free all purpose flour, almond flour, or any other gluten-free substitute. Make sure to use a gluten-free pasta in place of the elbow macaroni.
- Cheese: Try using sharp cheddar cheese in the real cheddar cheese sauce for a more pronounced flavor. You could also completely change it by making a White cheddar Mac or Alfredo sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- Pasta: To keep this a true copycat I used elbow macaroni but you can use any type of pasta. Shells and wheel-shaped pasta are just a few suggestions.
- Milk: I like using whole milk for this recipe because it has a higher fat content than skim milk which helps with its creaminess.
Stouffers originated from a small restaurant offering sandwiches and grew to a small chain of family operated restaurants. After World War II, the family wanted to give the convenience of eating their Stouffer meals at home. They decided to freeze their offerings and soon after opened a small processing plant to help facilitate their dream. Today, Stouffer Foods continues to be a part of Nestle Corp. and is famously known for their lasagna, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, Salisbury steak and ravioli.
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Kraft Deluxe White Cheddar & Garlic Herbs
As a mac and cheese staple, you had to expect to see a Kraft product again … but we’re more excited about this one. The Kraft Deluxe White Cheddar and Garlic Herbs is putting an elevated twist on the classic box meal. The white cheddar has a sharper taste than the original, which will likely appeal to everyone who grew up on Kraft but has since managed to refine their taste. The herb flavoring, while not very strong, lends a different, unexpected flavor to the dish that’s overall pretty good.
It’s still your classic Kraft recipe though: the cheap noodles, the powder, the suspiciously long list of ingredients. None of these traits are what many consumers today are looking for. Instead of buying the cheapest food possible, people want healthy, natural food that aligns with the ethos of clean eating and that could be exactly where Kraft has gone wrong. If you are willing to let your oh-so-high standards slip, though, this mac and cheese may just be your perfect excuse.
What You’ll Need For This Recipe:
- Colander – I recommend using a colander for straining your pasta. Get a Deep Colander so you don’t lose any pasta!
- Baking dish – This baking dish is perfect for making pasta and is great for cooking! You can get yourself a Rectangular Baking Dish here!
- Noodle scoop – A good noodle scoop that will last, is a key kitchen gadget to own. Grab this Nylon Noodle Server to add to your kitchen utensils!
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Stouffer’s Mac And Cheese 4 Ct
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Whats Your Inspiration For This Stouffers
This recipe is inspired by Stouffers macaroni and cheese and delivers the best of all worlds: creamy, saucy, comfort, with a consistency thats slightly more set than a stovetop version, thanks to a final bake in the oven. It stays voluptuous and molten as a result of a higher ratio of sauce to noodles, which are cooked completely so they dont soak up as much liquid.
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Banza Elbows & Classic Cheddar
We’ve already talked about the sin of trying to make mac and cheese healthy, so it’s not a surprise that Banza Elbows & Classic Cheddar is next on the chopping block. It’s made with chickpea pasta, which is what sets it apart from its bleached-flour cousins. The cheese is a “classic cheddar,” which is likely an attempt to equate it with more classic mac and cheese options like Kraft. Now, chickpea pasta can be delicious, but is it really the best type of pasta for mac and cheese? Judging by Banza’s recipe, no. But while the flavor of the pasta is lacking, the texture of it isn’t bad.
However, there is one caveat. Not everyone can enjoy a gluten-heavy mac and cheese without feeling awful . This chickpea pasta is gluten-free, so it is a good option if you’re missing the mac and cheese of your childhood. And to be fair, we’d rather have this chickpea pasta than whole wheat pasta any day.
Frozen Mac And Cheeses Ranked Worst To Best
Few things are as comforting as a warm, creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese. A bowl of the good stuff can be an instant mood elevator but after a long day, you may not have the energy to make a big batch the old-fashioned way on the stovetop. Luckily, there are several frozen mac and cheeses on the market that aim to be as satisfying as the homemade stuff and can be ready in a matter of minutes. If the mac and cheese is the main event, all the better.
Here, you’ll find a few popular brands, including Stouffer’s, Bob Evans, and Amy’s that are crowd favorites. We also sampled several healthy-style brands, like Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones to see how they fare against the competition. We included grocery store private label brands including Trader Joe’s and the 365 organic line from Whole Foods. There are even a couple of newcomers on the list that you may not already be familiar with.
Ultimately, we were looking for macaroni and cheese that has a great cheese flavor. We wanted a pasta that is perfectly cooked and felt like a good ratio in relation to the cheese sauce. We looked at nutrition information to see if you can enjoy your favorite comfort food with the least amount of guilt possible, and which dishes were made with the least amount of processed ingredients. This is how the most popular brands of frozen mac and cheese stacked up.
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How To Make Stouffers Macaroni And Cheese
- Boil Pasta: Cook 8 ounces of elbow pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Make Sauce: In a medium-size pot over medium heat add butter and flour. Stir continuously while for about 1 minute. The flour paste should become fragrant. Slowly add milk in thirds and stir until it has thickened before adding the next portion of milk. Shred cheese and slowly add the cheese to the milk mixture. Add dry mustard powder and paprika and stir well.
- Bake: Stir pasta into cheese sauce and pour into a large 2 quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Stouffer’s Macaroni And Cheese
Another frozen mac option that just can’t hold its own. Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese doesn’t cut it for us either. Is it a bit tastier than the Lean Cuisine? Yes. That might be because it’s not trying to brand itself as a health food . But it still has that floppy, weak-looking macaroni that looks less than inviting. The cheese sauce can be watery, and it’s all but sure to be flavorless. And to top it all off, you don’t even get much in a single package unless you buy a family size. Mac and cheese is about indulging, but you’re not going to be able to fill a big bowl with a normal portion of this stuff.
If you’re left with no other options and have to pick up some Stouffer’s to cure your mac and cheese craving, the least you can do is upgrade it. By adding protein, spices, and even some breadcrumbs, you may be able to save this less-than-appealing freezer meal.
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Tips & Tricks For This Stouffers Copycat Recipe:
- The recipe calls for milk. I suggest skim milk. I know macaroni and cheese probably makes you think of cream, or fuller fat versions. I wouldnt suggest using anything above 2%. It will affect the cheese melting smoothly.
- While the recipe calls for elbow noodles, not all pastas are the same or end with the same results. If you dont have those on hand, I suggest subbing other small shapes- shells, ditalini, or even mini farfalle.
- I always keep store bought shredded cheese on hand- I mean its convenient. Thats what I most often use in this recipe. However, if you really want to take this mac and cheese up a notch, use freshly shredded cheddar. Just reduce the sauce simmer time, as it will melt much quicker.
Thats it, youre just a few simple ingredients & easy steps away from the most amazing homemade macaroni and cheese of your life. Even better, because its a copy cat Stouffers macaroni & cheese.
Theres mac and cheese, and then theres macaroni and cheese. One try, and this version will be set on a pedestal above the rest.
Is Macaroni And Cheese Healthy:
Ive been surprised by how many times Ive been asked this question when bringing this dish to a gathering.
While there are things you can do to make it a healthier dish- cheese and pasta arent inherently healthy by themselves.
This dish was not designed to be healthy, by default. Its pure comfort food, or soul food as a lot of people down here would label it.
If you want to make it healthier, Id suggest decreasing portion size.
Another alternative is making this your meals main course, and serving it with a healthy side like a simple salad and a steamed veggie. Its rich enough that you wont miss a meat on your plate, at least not with this meal.
Also, as written this meal isnt allergy friendly. Were fortunate enough not to have any obvious allergies in our family.
If you have loved ones with dairy or gluten allergies, this recipe is easily adaptable to their needs with simple substitutions. Swap the milk for an approved alternative, and use a gluten free pasta you enjoy.
As mentioned earlier, this mac and cheese recipe is really easy to whip up. It does take close to an hour though, so plan accordingly.
Otherwise, its my new favorite go to because of just how simple it is.
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Annie’s Shells And Real Aged Cheddar
Does your local grocery store have a specially designated health food section? If so, there’s a good chance you’ll see Annie’s Shells and Real Aged Cheddar there. You can get this stuff in a box, but it’s also offered in single-serving microwavable cups if you want to take your mac on the go. We have to admit, there’s something about shell pasta that might be even better than macaroni. It just has a more interesting texture. And the aged cheddar flavoring in this product is perfect for a palate that’s slightly more refined than those of the Kraft lovers.
But while Annie’s purports to be healthier than other brands out there, it turns out that isn’t the full story. While the company’s products may be labeled “natural” or “organic,” there isn’t too much clarity about what that means in many cases. It also turns out that Annie’s mac and cheese is just as unhealthy as Kraft mac and cheese in many ways. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat it, of course it does taste good. Just make sure you don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re actually eating healthy when you pop open a box of this stuff.
Modern Table Vegan Mac
When you think of mac and cheese, you probably don’t often equate it with veganism, and that makes sense. How could anything smothered in animal product ever be considered vegan? However, as veganism has gained in popularity, there are more and more companies popping up to create vegan versions of all your favorite abjectly non-vegan items. Mac and cheese is high on the list, since vegan cheese is something that can be difficult to make at home. Perhaps the first well-known vegan mac and cheese brand was Daiya. While we love the eco-friendly ethos and save-the-animals philosophy, we just couldn’t get behind this brand’s products.
That’s where Modern Table mac and cheese comes in. This stuff is taking vegan mac and cheese to a whole new level. The lentil pasta is surprisingly un-lentil-like, which means you don’t have to trick yourself into pretending it’s normal pasta. There are three different flavors, but we’re most in love with the three-cheese option. Even if you’re not vegan, this stuff is definitely worth a try.
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Not Available To Consumers Yet
Stouffers has played it somewhat close to the vest regarding the details of this device. Although the social media posts have thousands of likes, shares and comments, the company has yet to divulge whether this might be available for home use or seen only in restaurants, although its likely destined for convenience stores. We also dont know if it has other applications.
However, the company did respond to questions and comments on their posts.
Our team is still working through how to best bring it to life for all of our fans, Stouffers replied when a fan asked for more info. Stay tuned for details.
The company confirmed that the dispenser is indeed real and that Mac on Tap prototypes have been developed.
It might seem like a prank, but Stouffers attests that its not.
Life-long customer here, Hugo Alberto Guzman Cota commented on Facebook. This is honestly the most exciting thing Ive ever seen. Please dont be a joke. Please, Im begging you.
Its no joke, Hugo, the brand replied.
In response to another commenters question, the company promised future updates on the availability of the product.
Were excited for fans like you to enjoy it after we finish testing and perfecting our dispenser, Stouffers posted. Well continue to keep followers in the loop on where and how they can use it in the future. Anything is possible!