Macaroni and Cheese – 5 Ways

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on March 2, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese…a kid favorite for sure!  But why can’t it be an adult favorite?!  With just a little sprucing up, it sure can be!

I remember my mom making “the blue box” and mixing in peas and tuna. It was the “all-american meal” back in the 80s.  That…and chicken cordon bleu’s from the freezer.  Two meals that I am both fond of, but somehow disgusted by.

(I do love a good chicken cordon bleu…but not one from the freezer. Unless I made it and froze it myself!)

I present you with 5 ways to “dress up” your macaroni and cheese for a night out on the town.

1. Sausage and corn.

2. Chili Beans. Just chili beans.

3. Olives and feta cheese.

4. Diced apple and crumbled bacon.

5. Tuna and fresh crushed garlic.

Thoughts?!  What’s your favorite mac n cheese mix-in?!

See more $5 Dinners Popular Recipes here

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

J. Stahle March 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

Back in the college days it was mac and cheese with cut up hot dogs. Then post college, mixed with crumbled ground beef. And, of course, plain with a load of black pepper.


Wen March 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

LOL! Love how u graduated the quality of the meat, as u moved up in the world! LOL :)


Kristina March 2, 2011 at 9:34 am

I like to use leftover taco meat and sauce from taco night and a dallop of sour cream. My kids really like it that way!


Natalie @ Will Jog For Food March 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

Yum! I would love to try apple & bacon :)

We like to add ham to ours….then saute some crushed Ritz Crackers and put those on top.


Karen Hiebert March 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm

ham. yum. apple. yum. bacon bits…yummy!!!! :)


Deborah G March 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Leftover diced ham and mashed up sweet potatoes, leftover taco meat with sour cream, chili with no beans or just a spoonful of yellow mustard. Those are some of our favorites.


hairagent March 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I am a big fan of yours here in Indianapolis, In…I saw you on Indy Style this morning…I read your blog for recipes and a way to make good meals for less money. I’m a senior citizen, still working full-time and supporting myself and home…I live alone and of course I have to divide up your recipes to make smaller portions…I too do a garden in the backyard…yesterday I started my tomatoes from seeds (in the window)from last years harvest…your website helps me as well as families…so keep up the great work…


Emily March 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

Carmelized onions, chicken, and peas!


Karen Hiebert March 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm

caramelized onion=yum!


pamela March 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

thanks for the ideas, I make crock pot mac & cheese with a smoked turkey leg, take the meat off the bone, shred it and add a side of vegetables. My boys eat it up! I’m curious where you found those adorable truck Forks in the picture by the mac & cheese, my boys would love those!


Natalie March 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I also am interested in those truck forks. Where did you get them? I have a 3 year old that would love those!


Jennifer March 9, 2011 at 8:38 am
Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy March 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Just yesterday I made homemade mac n cheese and added ham, basil and parmesan. Yum! It was awesome.


chuck in chicago March 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

My favorite additions to a reconstituted box of macaroni and cheese is a can of cream of mushroom soup, two drained five-ounce cans of water-packed tuna, and a small can of peas, drained. I sometimes put this in a buttered casserole dish, topping it with French-fried onions, and baking it for about a half an hour. I’d say it’s my favorite tuna casserole, next to my homemade one!


Cheryl Newman March 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

My kids love this one. We call it Tuna Nuna. Not only is it yummy, it is very cost effective.


Karen March 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

No one in our house refers to the stuff in the blue box as mac and cheese. We do homemade with a bit of mustard, worcestershire, and tobasco mixed in, topped with toasted breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter and a bit more grated cheese. Sometimes we add cubed ham or browned sausages, but good mac and cheese is good as it is, so it’s more about fewer dishes than anything else.


Becky March 15, 2011 at 2:03 am

Erin, do you or anyone else know of a delicious soy cheese to substitute. I need something dairy free for my food allergy. The soy cheese i have tried is not very tasty, leaving me REALLY missing my Mac n’ Cheese and my family too, I’m sure. Please help! Love your recipes and just bought both your cookbooks. <3


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