Sunday, February 14

HOW TO: Turn Boxed Mac and Cheese into Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Gourmet Mac and Cheese restaurants are one of the hottest new trends, I myself have visited them. Honestly I really enjoy them too. But a family of four can easily spend $40-$50 for dinner at these establishments in my area and I just cannot see spending that on one of the easiest dinners to do. 

With a few simple items from the grocery store you could have a gourmet dinner at home in under 40 minutes. And the best part is everyone could have their favorite version by just changing a few staple ingredients you probably have in your refrigerator right now.

Here are three gourmet Mac and cheese dinners all made at the same time for less the the price of one serving at a restaurant. At the end of this post I will give you a few extra ideas for more fan favorites.

Full time 40 minutes or less
Serves 3 larger meals

To start grab a box of Deluxe Mac and Cheese, the type that comes with the cheese sauce already made. I also recommend grabbing a store prepared rotisserie chicken* this will come in handy  for several types of Mac and cheese.

Get your oven heating to 375' and place 3 personal size baking dishes (24oz) on a baking sheet.

Follow the cooking instructions on the package to create your base Mac and cheese. From here you can either make three of the same or three different Mac and cheese dishes.

For Cheese Lovers Mac and Cheese-

1/3 box prepared Deluxe Mac and Cheese
3 tbsp shredded cheese blend
Or
1 tbsp shredded cheddar
1 tbsp shredded mozzarella 
1 tbsp shredded Monterey Jack

Place Mac and cheese into baking dish filling 2/3 of the way.

Top with shredded cheese.

For Buffalo Mac and Cheese-

1/3 box prepared Deluxe Mac and Cheese
1/4 cup cooked Shredded chicken*
1 tbsp buffalo sauce
1 tbsp blue cheese crumbles

Place Mac and cheese in baking dish filling 1/2 way.

Combine buffalo sauce and chicken.

Top Mac and cheese with mixture.

Top with blue cheese crumbles.

For BBQ Pulled Chicken-

1/3 box prepared Deluxe Mac and Cheese
1/4 cup cooked shredded chicken*
2 tbsp BBQ sauce

Place Mac and cheese in baking dish filling 1/2 way.

Combine chicken and BBQ sauce.

Top Mac and cheese with chicken.

For all bake in oven for fifteen minutes or until nice and steamy. Starting with a hot rotisserie chicken*, bake for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve immediately- here is a nice before and after for visual ease...

Some additional ideas for flavors:

Philly Cheese Steak-
1/3 box prepared Deluxe Mac and Cheese
1/4 cup cooked Shredded steak
1 tbsp caramelized onions
1 tbsp shredded cheddar
-mix onion and steak into Mac and cheese top with shredded cheddar

Lobster Mac-
1/3 box prepared Deluxe Mac and Cheese
1/4 cup cooked Shredded lobster
1 butter cracker (Ritz), crumbled
-mix lobster into Mac and cheese top with crumbled cracker

Taco Mac-
1/3 box prepared Deluxe Mac and Cheese
1/4 cup cooked Shredded chicken*
tbsp salsa
3 tbsp shredded cheese blend
Or
3 tbsp shredded Jack cheese
- mix chicken with salsa layer on top of Mac and cheese (same as buffalo) top with shredded cheese.

Broccoli Mac-
1/3 box prepared Deluxe Mac and Cheese
1/4 cup cooked broccoli, chopped 
2 tbsp shredded cheddar 
1 butter cracker (Ritz), crumbled 
- mix broccoli with Mac top with crumbled cracker then top with shredded cheese

Cheeseburger Mac-
1/3 box prepared Deluxe Mac and Cheese
1/4 cup cooked ground beef
2 tbsp shredded cheddar
1 tbsp real bacon bits
-mix ground beef with Mac top with bacon then top with shredded cheddar