Home Grown

Mixing it up with mac and cheese variations


Macaroni and cheese is a common side and even main dish for many households. There are several options for making it, and since I love almost anything covered in cheese, I’m a big fan.

Whenever my family gets together for big gatherings, there is always a big pan or crock pot full of macaroni and cheese. It’s typically made from scratch, and it always goes fast.

There are so many variations of this easy dish, and everyone has a favorite. For my daughter and many kids, it is only the boxed kind. No matter what recipe I tried making for my daughter growing up, she always insisted on the blue box of Kraft with the almost glow-in-the-dark orange cheese.

I like homemade, experimenting with different ingredients. The easiest way to change it up is by using different kinds of cheese. The majority of recipes for macaroni and cheese use some type of cheddar cheese, but there are many others that can be used or added to the cheddar.

Gruyere is a classic cheese for this dish because it melts like cheddar, but it has a nutty flavor. Other classics for macaroni and cheese include Gouda, Muenster, Parmesan, fontina, Havarti and Monterey Jack.

Another easy way to change up macaroni and cheese is by adding extra ingredients like meat. Many kids like theirs with hot dogs added, but you can also add hamburger, bacon, diced ham, shredded pork, grilled chicken and Kielbasa.

For those looking to make their macaroni and cheese a little healthier, add tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, shredded carrots, cauliflower, beans and corn.

The recipe I’m sharing this week is for a healthier version of macaroni and cheese. Don’t let the cauliflower scare you. As long as no one sees you add it, no one will ever know that it is there. Enjoy!


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