1 Food, 5 Ways: Mac and Cheese

Staff Writer
1 Food, 5 Ways: Mac and Cheese

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Macaroni and cheese is a hands-down, must-have in the college pantry for numerous reasons: it’s super easy to make, it takes 10 minutes tops and it’s cheap. But eating mac and cheese on its own can get pretty boring. Here are 5 ways to spruce up your noodles without dropping serious cash by going to places like S’MAC. All you need are a few extra ingredients to get gourmet.

Sweet Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

Adding red bell peppers not only gives your mac and cheese a sweet, juicy crunch but it also balances our your meal with a side of vitamin B6, K, A, C, and E.

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
1 bell pepper
1 box macaroni and cheese (Kraft or Annie’s)

Directions:
1. Prepare the mac and cheese according to the box instructions.
2. Dice some bell peppers into bite size pieces.
3. Once the mac and cheese is ready, mix in the pepper pieces.

Bacon and Mushroom Mac and Cheese

Here’s the truth: everything tastes better with bacon. The bacon adds a saltier, meaty tang to your mac and honestly, would you ever say “no” to bacon? Throw in some savory mushrooms for another upgrade and voila, this trio is a match made in heaven.

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Total time: 15-20 minutes

Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
1 box of mac and cheese
4 slices of bacon
5 or 6 baby bella mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Prepare the mac and cheese according to the box.
2. While the the macaroni is boiling, slice up some bacon and mushrooms into bite size pieces.
3. Cook the bacon in a pan on medium high heat until nice and crispy (about 5 to 6 minutes).
4. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and leave it in the pan.
5. Add the mushrooms to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook in the remaining fat until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
6. Toss the bacon and mushrooms with the prepared mac and cheese.

Gruyere and Tomato Mac and Cheese

Combining Gruyere cheese and tomatoes is always a smart choice (especally stellar in a grilled cheese). The juiciness of the tomato keeps the Gruyere from tasting too sharp, but doesn’t completely overpower it.

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
1 box of mac and cheese
1 cup shredded Gruyere
1 tomato

Directions:
1. While you’re preparing your mac and cheese, dice the tomato into bite sized pieces. (When cutting a tomato, it’s best to use a serrated knife so you don’t end up with a pulpy mess.)
2. Mix the shredded Gruyere with the macaroni while it’s still warm (skip the mac’s powdered cheese package) and add in the tomatoes.
3. Mix until combined and sprinkle with more Gruyere cheese.

 

The Four Cheese

If you like really (really) cheesy mac and cheese then this one is for you. Eliminate the powdered cheese altogether and substitute for a bag of mixed shredded cheese or create your own combo–cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, your pick. It’s simple, creative and oh-so-deliciously-cheesy.

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
1 box macaroni and cheese
1 cup shredded mixed cheese

Directions:
Prepare the mac and cheese according to the box and while the noodles are still warm, mix in the cheeses.

The Faux Hamburger Helper

The best of both worlds: burgers, and mac and cheese. As the name for this creation suggests, all you need to mix in is some cooked ground beef. Super easy, super tasty and minus all the extra sodium.

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
1 box mac and cheese
1/2 pound ground beef
1 onion
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. While you boil the macaroni noodles, cook the beef in a pan coated with olive oil until it is no longer red. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Dice some onions and caramelize them in a separate pan by cooking them on heat until they’re golden brown.
3. Once the mac and cheese is prepared, add in the beef and onions and mix well.

 

Photo by Patrick Domingo

Photo by Patrick Domingo

The post 1 Food, 5 Ways: Mac and Cheese appeared first on Spoon University.

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