8 Ways to Elevate Your Macaroni and Cheese Dinners (2024)

By: Julia Mertes, Communications Intern, The Lion’s Pantry

After a long day of work and school, you will likely head to your kitchen looking for something to heat up in a flash. Like many college students, your eyes may land on the box of gooey macaroni and cheese.It’s a staple dish for college students trying to eat on a budget. However, after a while, the quick and easy dinner option may become a little repetitive.

Here are five tips to elevate your next dinner to include extra flavor and texture.

1. Add extra cheese to your dish.

You can never go wrong with cheese! So, sprinkle some additional mozzarella or American cheese to the mix.

2. Mix in some hot sauce and chicken to make buffalo chicken mac n’ cheese.

Whether you enjoy rotisserie chicken, fried chicken or a meat alternative, buffalo mac n’ cheese may be the perfect evening treat for you. With few additional ingredients and a bucket-load full of flavor, there are many variations to this classic treat.

For instance, if you’re not a fan of chicken, pick up some ham to add into the mix. Buffalo ham mac n’ cheese may be your new favorite treat.

8 Ways to Elevate Your Macaroni and CheeseDinners (1)

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels

3. Add in vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach.

Adding vegetables to your dinner not only increases the nutritional value but also adds flavor and texture. Pick up your favorite leafy greens and go from there!

4. Similar to the buffalo chicken suggestion, try adding barbecue sauce and a protein of your choice to your dinner for added flavor.

If you’re a fan of BBQ chicken, you can use that as inspiration for your next mac n’ cheese dinner. Pour in a generous helping of sauce and the other ingredients you feel like including.

5. Sprinkle some bacon bits or breadcrumbs on the top of your dish.

If you need a crunch on the top of your pasta, add some bacon bits or breadcrumbs.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

6. Add spices and fresh herbs to your dish.

Are you a fan of garlic? Try adding it to your dish. Like some paprika? Sprinkle some into your next bowl of pasta. Simply add in the spices and herbs that you have and see how it tastes.

7. Use your leftovers for extra flavor in your dish.

Have leftover pulled pork from a community dinner? It may be the perfect opportunity to combine the sweet and savory flavors of pork with your cheesy macaroni meal.

Did you treat yourself to your favorite restaurant dinner or attend a picnic with your friends? Use the leftovers in your macaroni and cheese. Simply be creative.

8. Mix in some jalapeños for some spice and heat.

Hot sauce isn’t the only way to add some heat to your macaroni and cheese. Try adding some peppers to your dish for added oomph.

Do you know someone who may be tired of eating the same boxed macaroni and cheese for dinner a few times a week? Share this article with them to spread both joy and yummy meal ideas their way.

What is your favorite way to enhance your macaroni and cheese recipes? Be sure to share them with us!

8 Ways to Elevate Your Macaroni and Cheese Dinners (2024)

FAQs

8 Ways to Elevate Your Macaroni and Cheese Dinners? ›

It's very easy to adapt. We like to ad cream cheese and/or sour cream, a little spicy brown mustard, and whatever cheese we have on hand. Sometimes we ad ground beef, ground turkey, sliced ot dogs or bacon, but its the rits topping on the top that makes it sooo good.

What can I add to mac and cheese to elevate it? ›

8 Ways to Elevate Your Macaroni and Cheese Dinners
  1. Add extra cheese to your dish.
  2. Mix in some hot sauce and chicken to make buffalo chicken mac n' cheese.
  3. Add in vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach.
  4. Sprinkle some bacon bits or breadcrumbs on the top of your dish.
  5. Add spices and fresh herbs to your dish.
May 21, 2022

How do you sup up mac and cheese? ›

It's very easy to adapt. We like to ad cream cheese and/or sour cream, a little spicy brown mustard, and whatever cheese we have on hand. Sometimes we ad ground beef, ground turkey, sliced ot dogs or bacon, but its the rits topping on the top that makes it sooo good.

What can I add to mac and cheese to give it Flavour? ›

Mac and Cheese Add-Ins

"I added onion powder, Parmesan cheese and a little bit of cayenne pepper," says RRL. "I always recommend using different cheeses for taste. I use white cheddar and four cheese Mexican blend together," says Angel. "I like to add diced ham and peas or diced chicken and broccoli…" says Fred Cannon.

How to make mac and cheese Gordon Ramsay? ›

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the pasta and milk. Bring the milk to a simmer and cook until the pasta is tender, 8–10 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir until fully combined.

What not to do when making mac and cheese? ›

Here's what several experts say are the biggest mistakes when it comes to making macaroni and cheese at home and how to avoid making them.
  1. Using Only Cheddar cheese. ...
  2. Not Adding Spice and Seasoning with Salt. ...
  3. Choosing the Wrong Pasta. ...
  4. Overcooking. ...
  5. Skimping on the Toppings.
May 21, 2020

How do you make mac and cheese moist again? ›

Add 1 tablespoon of milk per cup of mac and cheese. *If you'd like to add more creaminess and flavor, substitute half-and-half or cream. 3. Cover with an inverted plate, making sure to use oven mitts when removing from the microwave to avoid burning yourself.

What does adding more milk to mac and cheese do? ›

Sauce too thick? Stir in a splash of milk and mix until the sauce has loosened up. (This is also a great trick for reheating mac and cheese - if you're microwaving leftovers and the sauce seems to have dried up, stir a splash of milk or half-and-half into the pasta to bring the sauce back to life!)

What to serve with mac and cheese as a main dish? ›

What Goes Well with Mac and Cheese: The Best Proteins
  • The Meatloaf Recipe That'll Turn You Into a Meatloaf Lover. ...
  • Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks. ...
  • Honey Garlic Ribs. ...
  • Light and Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken. ...
  • Tandoori Fried Chicken. ...
  • Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings. ...
  • Spicy Korean Chicken Wings. ...
  • Sweet and Sour Meatballs.
Jan 2, 2024

What is the best way to eat mac and cheese? ›

The preferred mac-and-cheese utensil among adults was a fork – by a wide margin. Seventy-one percent of adults said they preferred to eat their macaroni and cheese with a fork, whereas only 28 percent said they favor a spoon.

What is the most common thing added to mac and cheese? ›

Crispy and golden breadcrumbs are the most traditional addition to mac and cheese. The interplay of texture between soft pasta and rich, buttery breadcrumbs is the reason why this combination has endured the test of time.

How to elevate cheese sauce? ›

Endless Flavor Combinations: By adding herbs, spices, or other ingredients, you can elevate the flavor of your cheese sauce and create a variety of taste profiles. For example, you can incorporate garlic, jalapeños, mustard, or smoked paprika to enhance the sauce's taste and pair it with different dishes.

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