5 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Boxed Mac and Cheese
Adding Protein for a More Filling Meal
Boxed mac and cheese is a delicious and easy meal option, but it can sometimes leave you feeling hungry soon after eating. Adding protein to your mac and cheese can help make it a more filling and satisfying meal.
One easy way to add protein is to mix in canned tuna or chicken. Simply drain the canned protein and mix it into your prepared mac and cheese. This adds a boost of protein without adding too much extra effort to your meal prep.
Another option is to add some cooked ground beef or sausage to your mac and cheese. This will add more flavor and texture to your dish, as well as upping the protein content.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, try adding some chickpeas or black beans to your mac and cheese. Not only do these legumes add protein, but they also provide a boost of fiber and other nutrients.
By adding protein to your boxed mac and cheese, you can turn it into a more satisfying and well-rounded meal.
Using Different Cheese for a More Complex Flavor
Boxed mac and cheese usually comes with a packet of powdered cheese sauce, which can sometimes taste a bit one-dimensional. One way to upgrade your mac and cheese is to experiment with different types of cheese to add a more complex flavor.
Try mixing in some shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese with the powdered cheese sauce. This will give your mac and cheese a sharper, more pronounced cheese flavor. You can also experiment with different types of cheese altogether, such as gouda, gruyere, or blue cheese.
Another option is to make your own cheese sauce from scratch. This may sound intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple. All you need is some butter, flour, milk, and cheese. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then whisk in the flour until it forms a paste. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Then stir in your cheese of choice until it’s melted and smooth. Pour the cheese sauce over your cooked macaroni noodles and mix well.
By using different types of cheese or making your own cheese sauce, you can elevate the flavor of your boxed mac and cheese and make it taste like a gourmet dish.
Incorporating Veggies for a Nutritious Boost
Boxed mac and cheese is a tasty comfort food, but it’s not exactly the healthiest option out there. One way to make it a bit more nutritious is to add some veggies to your dish.
Broccoli is a classic mac and cheese add-in, and for good reason. Not only does it add a pop of green color to your dish, but it also provides a boost of fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients. Simply steam some broccoli florets and mix them into your cooked mac and cheese.
Another option is to add some frozen peas to your mac and cheese. Peas are a good source of protein and fiber, and they add a bit of sweetness to the dish. Just mix them in with your cooked noodles and cheese sauce.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some roasted butternut squash or sweet potato to your mac and cheese. These veggies add a bit of sweetness and creaminess to the dish, as well as providing a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
By incorporating veggies into your boxed mac and cheese, you can make it a bit more nutritious and satisfying. Plus, it’s a great way to sneak some veggies into your diet if you’re not a big fan of them otherwise.
Playing with Spices for a More Interesting Taste
Boxed mac and cheese can sometimes taste a bit bland, but adding some spices can take it from boring to delicious. Here are a few ideas to spice up your mac and cheese:
Garlic powder: Add a sprinkle of garlic powder to your mac and cheese for a bit of savory flavor. You can also try adding some minced garlic to your cheese sauce for a more intense garlic flavor.
Smoked paprika: This spice adds a smoky, slightly sweet flavor to your mac and cheese. It pairs well with cheddar cheese and gives your dish a bit of a BBQ flavor.
Chili powder: If you like a bit of heat, try adding some chili powder to your mac and cheese. It adds a bit of spice and complexity to the dish.
Dijon mustard: Adding a spoonful of Dijon mustard to your cheese sauce can give your mac and cheese a tangy, slightly spicy flavor. It’s a great way to add a bit of zing to your dish.
Nutmeg: This spice adds a warm, slightly sweet flavor to your mac and cheese. It pairs well with creamy cheese sauces and can make your dish taste a bit more sophisticated.
By playing with spices, you can take your boxed mac and cheese from boring to flavorful in no time. Try mixing and matching different spices to find your perfect flavor combination.
Topping it Off for a Crispy Texture and Extra Flavor
Boxed mac and cheese is delicious on its own, but adding some toppings can take it to the next level. Here are a few ideas for toppings that will give your mac and cheese some extra crunch and flavor:
Breadcrumbs: Sprinkle some breadcrumbs over your mac and cheese before baking it in the oven. This will give your dish a crispy, crunchy texture and add some extra flavor.
Bacon bits: Who doesn’t love bacon? Adding some crumbled bacon to your mac and cheese will give it a smoky, savory flavor and add some extra texture.
Green onions: Slice up some green onions and sprinkle them over your mac and cheese before serving. They’ll add a bit of freshness and color to the dish.
Hot sauce: If you like a bit of heat, try adding some hot sauce to your mac and cheese. It’ll give it a bit of a kick and add some extra flavor.
Fried onions: Top your mac and cheese with some crispy fried onions for a bit of crunch and flavor. They’ll add a bit of sweetness and savory flavor to the dish.
By adding toppings to your boxed mac and cheese, you can make it a bit more interesting and delicious. Experiment with different toppings to find your perfect combination.