Mac and Cheese is a pretty big staple in my life for numerous reasons 1) it’s super easy to make, 2) it takes 10 minutes tops and 3) it fits right in the college student budget. But eating mac and cheese on it’s own can get pretty boring. Here’s my 5 ways to spruce up your mac and cheese without dropping serious cash by going to places like S’MAC. All you’re going to need is a box of mac and cheese and a few extra ingredients.
1. Sweet Red Pepper Mac and Cheese
Prepare the mac and cheese according to the box instructions. Dice some bell peppers into bit size pieces. Once the mac and cheese is ready, toss it with the bell peppers. The red bell pepper will give your mac and cheese a sweet, juicy crunch as well as some vitamin B6, K, A, C, and E! What better way to enjoy mac and cheese than to add something healthy to somewhat balance out your meal? I definitely want to add in some sausage to this and make it a sausage and peppers mac and cheese.
2. Bacon and Mushroom Mac and Cheese
Prepare the mac and cheese according to the box. While the the macaroni is boiling, slice up some bacon and mushrooms into bite size pieces. Cook the bacon on medium high heat until nice and crispy (about 5 to 6 minutes). Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and quickly cook the mushrooms. Salt and pepper your mushrooms and cook on medium heat until tender (about 3 to 4 minutes). Toss the bacon and mushrooms with the prepared mac and cheese. The bacon adds a saltier, meaty tang to your mac and honestly, why say no to bacon?
3. Gruyere Cheese and Tomato Mac and Cheese
While you’re preparing your mac and cheese, grab some shredded gruyere cheese and a tomato. 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. Mix the shredded gruyere with the mac while it’s still warm (it’s probably best to not use the cheese package in this one) and add in the tomatoes. Gruyere and tomatoes always go really well together. The juiciness of the tomato cuts the gruyere and keeps it from being too sharp, but doesn’t completely over power it (you can definitely use this combo for a grilled cheese too!)
4. The Four Cheese
If you like really cheesy mac than this one is for you. Simply go to Trader Joe’s and buy the mixed cheese pack (I used the Mexican mix which had American Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Queso Blanco and Asadero cheese). Prepare the mac and cheese according to the box and while the noodles are still warm, mix in the cheeses. Easy, simple and oh so very cheesy
5. The Faux Hamburger Helper
As the title for this one suggests, you’re just going to mix some cooked ground beef into this mac and cheese. While you boil the macaroni noodles, simply cook the ground beef until it’s no longer red in a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste. Dice some onions and caramelize them (cook them on low heat until nice and brown) in another pan. Once the mac and cheese is prepared, add in the beef and onions and mix until incorporated. It’s like eating a burger, but instead of a bun you have mac and cheese!
I hope you have some fun with these recipes! Comment below if you have any favorite mac and cheese recipes, I’d love to hear what you guys like!
Hugs and Puppies!