Fun with Mac 'n' Cheese: Top 10 Ideas for Cheesy Bliss - Food, Fun, and Happiness

Fun with Mac 'n' Cheese: Top 10 Ideas for Cheesy Bliss

This post was inspired by my 20 year old brother when, a few weeks ago, he made lunch consisting of macaroni and cheese topped with bacon. Didn't know what to think at first because it looked so fattening, yet so tempting. As someone who aspires to attend cooking school, I suggested sprinkling some olives, peppers, or tomatoes on it so it's not completely just fattening.

Don't get me wrong. I love mac and cheese and have it every so often, except that I tend to eat it plain with steamed vegetables, salad, or fresh fruit.

Then I got curious. What other fancy ways can macaroni and cheese be served? With the help of my brother, we came up with a list of 10 ideas.

1) Macaroni & Cheese Topped w/ Bacon


#1. Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon. Click For More Mac N' Cheese Ideas

Ingredients:
  • Bacon cooked (as many as you want)
  • 1 package Kraft Easy Mac (microwaveable)
  • slices of scallion

2) Grilled Macaroni & Cheese Sandwich


#2. Grilled Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich. CLICK For More Mac n' Cheese Ideas

Also my brother's idea. It's as if he asked, "How can I put more carbs in a sandwich?" and came up with this answer. However, mac n' cheese sandwiches are not as uncommon as you think. Do a search on Pinterest and you'll see what I mean.

3) Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese


#3. Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese. CLICK for More Mac n' Cheese Ideas. (via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/buffalo-chicken-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html)

This is really delicious and more along the lines of my taste of food. It's a hearty meal. And you'll have to reserve more than 1 hour to make it, unlike most mac n' cheese meals which only take 5 to 15 minutes or so.

The ingredients are as follows:
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
The rest of the recipe and the instruction are best seen at the original source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/buffalo-chicken-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

4) Avocado Mac and Cheese


#4. Avocado Mac & Cheese.  CLICK for More Macaroni and Cheese Ideas (via http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/stovetop-avocado-mac-and-cheese/)
Image via http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

This one I should make and then make some more. It looks super delicious. And, for some reason, it looks "not as fattening as" traditional and, definitely, my brother's mac n' cheese (see #1).

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces dry elbow macaroni
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh avocado chunks, for garnish, if desired

The rest of the recipe and direction are best read at the source: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/stovetop-avocado-mac-and-cheese/

Time to head out to the local farmer's market buy some fresh organic avocados.

5) Garlic Mushroom Macaroni & Cheese


#5. Garlic Mushroom Macaroni & Cheese.  CLICK for More Mac n' Cheese Ideas. (via http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com/garlic-mushroom-macaroni-cheese/)
Image via www.amuse-your-bouche.com

I haven't made this recipe for garlic mushroom mac & cheese, yet. But I can taste how wonderful it would be.

Ingredients:

  • 300g pasta
  • 60g butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 200g mushrooms, cut into 1/2cm dice
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml milk
  • 100g cheddar, grated
  • 50g vegetarian parmesan or pecorino, finely grated

The instruction is best obtained at the source: http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com/garlic-mushroom-macaroni-cheese/. Should be fun to make.

6) Plain Baked Mac & Cheese


#6. Baked Macaroni & Cheese.  CLICK for More Mac n' Cheese Ideas

By plain, I simply mean macaroni and cheese sauce without any fancy topping such as bacon, chicken, etc. The cheese sauce is where things could be exciting. From time to time, I get motivated to research and experiment. Here's one that's based on the book, Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbps of butter
  • 4 tbsp of flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 onion (finely minced)
  • nutmeg
  • 3 1/4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • salt
  • pepper
  • seasoning
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Direction:

Boil 2 cups of macaroni for about 5 minutes until firm. It should not be completely cooked because you'll be baking it. Drain and set aside when complete.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine blend butter and flour. Wisk until the mixture becomes pasty, add milk and onion. Continue whisking while sprinkling a touch of nutmeg. Once the mixture thickens, add 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, then set aside.

In a lightly greased baking dish (11x9), pour the drained macaroni and mix in the cheese sauce. The combination should seem soupy, but the macaroni pasta will absorb some of the sauce while baking. Sprinkle a thin layer of breadcrumbs on top along with the rest of the shredded cheddar cheese (1/4 cup). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

7) Ricotta Macaroni & Cheese


#7. Ricotta Macaroni & Cheese.  CLICK for More Mac N' Cheese Ideas


Here's another recipe that I consider "plain" using Ricotta cheese. I was also out of elbow macaroni at the time, so I used penne pasta.

Ingredient:
  • 4 tbsp Butter
  • 1 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Flour
  • 8 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano
  • seasoning

Direction:

The instruction is almost as above -- boil pasta to firm not tender and cooked, drain pasta, set pasta aside, preheat oven at 350 deg F.

Then in a saucepan over low heat, combine butter, milk and flour. Wisk until thick. Then add ricotta cheese. Mix together. Add salt, pepper, oregano, and seasoning to taste.

Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a baking dish. Mix thoroughly. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is brown and crispy.

Let cool before serving.

8) Cauliflower Mac & Cheese


#8. Cauliflower Macaroni & Cheese.  CLICK for More Mac 'n' Cheese Ideas  (via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/cauliflower-mac-n-cheese-recipe/index.html)
Image via FoodNetwork.com


I've seen the cauliflower macaroni and cheese in Pinterest a few times but haven't yet tried to make it. The recipe I have in mind is the Rachel Ray version which is seen on FoodNetwork.com. It requires the following:

Ingredients:

  • Salt
  • 1 pound short cut pasta (recommended: macaroni, ziti or penne rigate or, whole wheat or whole grain pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • About 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup sharp white Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmigiano cheese
  • 1 small bundle watercress, washed and chopped

The direction is seen here http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/cauliflower-mac-n-cheese-recipe/index.html

9) Crispy Macaroni and Cheese Ball Appetizers


#9.  Crispy Macaroni and Cheese Ball Appetizers.  CLICK for More Mac 'n' Cheese Ideas  (via http://www.thehopelesshousewife.com/?hhw_recipes=crispy-macaroni-and-cheese-ball-appetizers)
Image via www.thehopelesshousewife.com


I saw this and I said, "Wow!" A fantastic idea for the holidays. Definitely on my things to do when our family gets together for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Here is the source, which I already bookmarked: http://www.thehopelesshousewife.com/?hhw_recipes=crispy-macaroni-and-cheese-ball-appetizers

10) Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese Pie with Bacon Lattice


#10. Bacon Macaroni & Cheese Pie.  CLICK for More Mac 'n' Cheese Ideas (via http://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/macaroni-and-cheese-pie-with-a-bacon-lattice)
Image via BuzzFeed.com


A variation of my brother's bacon mac n' cheese. This one is a pie completely baked in a crust. Not gonna lie, there's a part of me that's saying, "Yum!"

Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/macaroni-and-cheese-pie-with-a-bacon-lattice

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