Wednesday, February 1, 2012

While mac and cheese is adored by many, homemade mac and cheese can be time-consuming and rather tedious. If your schedule doesn’t allow for much time in the kitchen, try these five easy macaroni and cheese recipes—they can be made in no time. And the best part is no one will ever notice they came from a box. With a few tweaks and additions here and there, you can provide gourmet goodness without putting forth the ‘gourmet’ effort.


Old-Fashioned Baked Mac & Cheese
The recipe may be ‘old fashioned,’ but this is one of those macaroni and cheese recipes that never gets old. The diced tomatoes, Italian dressing and bread crumbs provide a delightful boost of flavor to an already-delicious baked mac and cheese.

Servings: 4

1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) macaroni & cheese dinner
1/4 cup milk
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup bread crumbs


Heat oven to 375°F.

Add macaroni to large saucepan boiling water; cook 6 minutes or until tender. Drain. Stir in milk and cheese sauce mix.

Pour into greased 8-inch square baking dish. Mix tomatoes and dressing. Top macaroni mixture with tomato mixture. Drizzle butter over bread crumbs; toss with fork. Sprinkle over tomatoes.

Bake 15 minutes or until heated through and crumbs are golden.

Memphis-Style BBQ Mac & Cheese
Memphis, Tennessee is known for many things, including Elvis Presley and Graceland, the Memphis Grizzlies and southern barbecue. But this tasty barbecue mac and cheese recipe (Memphis style, of course) is certainly worth a mention also. Hide your grandma—she might get slapped!

Servings: 5

1 pkg. (14 oz.) deluxe macaroni & cheese dinner
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup Memphis-style barbecue sauce
2 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 green onion, sliced


Cook macaroni as directed on package. Meanwhile, brown meat with onions and garlic in large skillet; drain.

Add macaroni, cheese Sauce and barbecue sauce to meat mixture in skillet; stir. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Top with bacon and onions.

Chipotle Chile Mac and Cheese
Chilly outside? Turn up the heat with Chipotle Chile Mac and Cheese. This is one of those macaroni and cheese recipes that disappears in no time, especially if you are cooking for hungry teenage boys. Make plenty of servings and enjoy leftovers the following night (if you’re lucky enough!).

Servings: 6

1 pkg. (14 oz.) Kraft Deluxe Macaroni & Sharp Cheddar Cheese Sauce
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 Ritz crackers, coarsely crushed (about 1/4 cup)


Heat oven to 400ºF.

Prepare dinner as directed on package. Meanwhile, brown beef with onion and bell pepper in large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Drain.

Add meat mixture to prepared dinner and stir in chipotle pepper. Spoon into greased 2-qt. casserole or baking dish. Top with green onions, cheese and cracker crumbs.

Bake 15 minutes or until mixture is hot.

All-in-One Veggie Mac and Cheese
Most parents are trying to find creative ways of sneaking vegetables into their children’s diet, and this is the perfect solution. The creaminess in this macaroni and cheese recipe overshadows the mixed vegetables. Kids will think they are getting away with eating their veggies, and grown-ups will think it’s gourmet—a win-win situation!

Servings: 8


1-1/2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 pkg. (14 oz.) deluxe macaroni & cheese dinner
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 Tbsp. butter


Bring water and milk just to boil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add macaroni; stir. Reduce heat to low; simmer 6 minutes or until macaroni is tender.

Stir in vegetables; cover. Simmer 3 minutes until liquid is almost absorbed and vegetables are heated through, stirring occasionally.

Add cheese sauce and butter; stir until well blended.

Mac & Cheese-Stuffed Poblanos
Stuffed vegetables serve as wonderful appetizers, side dishes or main entrées, and give new meaning to gourmet macaroni and cheese recipes. Fool your family into thinking you’ve spent hours making these mac and cheese-stuffed poblano peppers—they won’t know the difference! For those who like added zing, keep hot sauce close by.

Servings: 8


2 pkg. (7-1/4 oz. each) macaroni & cheese dinner
3 hot dogs, chopped
1-1/2 cups Mexican-style shredded four cheese, divided
8 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/2 tsp. paprika


Heat oven to 350º F.

Prepare dinners as directed on package. Stir in hot dogs and 1 cup cheese.

Fill chilies with dinner mixture; place, filled-sides up, in single layer in shallow baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese and paprika.

Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and peppers are heated through.

Kick It Up a Notch!
While mac and cheese recipes have remained a staple in recipe boxes for generations, many cooks are creating new variations to old-style dishes. The following ingredients are just a few ways you can spruce up this American classic.

Meats: Bacon,Brisket, Chicken, Chorizo, Ground Beef

Vegetables: Jalapeño Pepper, Poblano Pepper, Wild Mushrooms, Artichoke Hearts, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Diced Tomatoes, Spinach, Broccoli, Scallions, Corn

Cheeses: Gouda, Blue Cheese, Monterey Jack, Pecorino Romano, Manchego, Asiago, Fontina, Swiss, Goat Cheese, Parmesan

Enjoy the creamy goodness of these gourmet-like macaroni and cheese recipes sans all the fuss. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you can’t cook up a fantastic mac and cheese dish.


  1. I love macaroni & cheese and am always looking for a way to change it up a bit! These are fantastic :)

  2. My son will love these. Thanks!

  3. I wAS totally looking for a good homemade mac and chesse recipe a couple nights ago. Now that my kids are older they have graduated to a better tasting mac and cheese, which is great cuz i honestly dont think that spongebob mac and cheese has any flavor: its nasty

  4. These recipes look very tasty. Thanks for sharing!


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