5 Amazing, Affordable Ways to Elevate Boxed Mac & Cheese

macelevate
While many of us aim to make super healthy dinners for our families, there are some nights that you either want to be indulgent or are too busy and tired to make something complex. On nights like those, I turn to boxed mac & cheese for an easy, quick dinner. Yes, we all know how much “better” homemade mac & cheese is – this article is not a debate about processed foods vs. whole foods. This is simply 5 amazing ways to elevate your regular boxed macaroni and cheese into something delicious and unrecognizable with just a few simple ingredients. Even better? All of these recipes make dinner for a family of 4 for less than $10. Way cheaper than takeout, and much more delicious. Like I said, these recipes are amazing.

The first drool-worthy recipe is Buffalo Blue Chicken Mac & Cheese.

  • 2 boxes of your favorite mac & cheese (I love Annie’s brand)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 can of chicken (like a can of tuna, but chicken)
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and blue cheese crumbles to taste

Simply make the mac & cheese as the box directs, then add the extra cheese, drained can of chicken, hot sauce, and blue cheese. I like to add a small amount of blue cheese to the mix, then top with additional blue cheese crumbles. The result? Hot wing mac & cheese that is totally to die for.

buffalo

 

 

Next up, Melty Meaty Mac.

  • 2 boxes of mac & cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 5 slices of white American cheese
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 21 Seasoning Salute
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

For this recipe, you’ll need to sauté the ground beef and season to taste with Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Make the mac & cheese as the box directs, then add the cooked, spiced beef and American cheese. Mix until cheese is completely melted. Serve!

meltymeat

 

 

This next one is my husband’s favorite: Pesto Parmesan. 

  • 2 boxes of mac & cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup quattro formaggio (Trader Joe’s blend of Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan and Mild Provolone, substitute Italian blend or Pizza blend of shredded cheese)
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of pesto
  • Optional: grilled chicken

Make mac & cheese as directed, add cheeses and pesto. Top with sliced grilled chicken for an even more impressive dish.

pestomac

 

 

This last one is a little wild: Spicy Tuna Sriracha.

  • 2 boxes of mac & cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 block cream cheese
  • 2 cans of tuna
  • Sriracha sauce

Make mac & cheese as directed. Add extra cheese, 2 drained cans of tuna, and sriracha to taste. Spicy tuna roll mac & cheese, anyone?

spicytuna

 

Pulled Pork BBQ Mac n Cheese

You can get the awesome crockpot pulled pork recipe here.

  • 2 boxes of mac & cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups pulled pork
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

Mix together and enjoy. For something extra decadent – add ranch 🙂

Check back soon for even more mac & cheese box elevations. 🙂

3 thoughts on “5 Amazing, Affordable Ways to Elevate Boxed Mac & Cheese

  1. olivia

    Do you use the cheese packet that comes with Annie’s in the recipes as well? Or replace it with the cheese you listed?

     
    1. Mrs. Bottlesoup

      I do use the packet as well, because it acts as a binder (like when you make homemade mac n cheese and you use flour?). I’m sorry for the delayed response – I hope your mac turned out fabulous!

       
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