When we’re struggling to get through the grayness of winter, more often than not, our thoughts turn to dinner. And on these wearying days, happiness looks a lot like a bowl of warm, stick-to-your-ribs mac and cheese. For all the dreamers with visions of cheesy pasta dancing in their heads, here are 6 versions worth fantasizing about.
Food Network Magazine’s recipe takes all the traditional elements of a baked macaroni and cheese dish and does one better. To start, a classic butter-and-flour roux takes a spicy turn with hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder and cayenne pepper. On the ooey-gooey side of things are four different cheeses: a blend of white American, sharp yellow cheddar and Havarti in the sauce; and grated Parmesan in the topping. To finish, the recipe calls for switching up breadcrumbs in the topping with crushed butter crackers. Read more
Cooked on the stovetop and devoured as is, or doctored up with all kinds of additions and oftentimes baked to bubbling, crispy-on-top perfection, mac and cheese is a comfort food mainstay that both adults and kids can agree on with glee. It’s so beloved, in fact, that just about no one would argue about having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With recipes inspired by the morning meal, a salad favorite and more, you probably could do just that, without ever tiring of it.
If you’re asking us, this breakfast-inspired mac and cheese gives you all the excuse in the world to take it with a cup of coffee. It’s super-easy to make, with store-bought hash browns serving as a crispy, satisfying topping and morsels of savory breakfast sausage being scattered throughout the whole dish.
Staying in next weekend? There’s no better way to pass the time than dipping your fork into a bubbling scoop of baked mac and cheese. We’ve got just the recipes to keep your oven occupied, from ham and Fontina-laced mac to a smoky bacon rendition loaded with pepper Jack. With 5 stars and over 100 reviews, these six takes on the classic comfort dish will surely hit the spot.
Ina’s Mac and Cheese (pictured at top)
Ina Garten enhances mac and cheese by using Gruyère in addition to cheddar, the classic star. When selecting a cheddar, go for the extra-sharp variety — Gruyère’s bold, earthy flavor complements the creamy bite.
When you have a hankering for some serious comfort, a bowl of steamy macaroni and cheese is perhaps the only way to go. But before you put a from-the-box take on mac on the stove — or, dare we say, in the microwave — stir together a cheesy, comforting bowl of macaroni and cheese the from-scratch way. These mac and cheese recipes from your favorite Food Network chefs should help the cause.
The best things in life don’t need to be fiddled with, and Tyler Florence’s recipe for classic Macaroni and Cheese is creamy, dreamy proof. With elbow macaroni, grated cheddar, and a little depth from dry mustard and thyme, Tyler’s dish is a go-to recipe to have in your arsenal.
Ooey, gooey and chock-full of melted cheeses, there’s just no dish that’s quite as comforting as macaroni and cheese during the cold winter season. The craving for a creamy bowl of mac can attack at any time, so if you find yourself on the road this month and need an instant cure, stop by one of these top spots for mac and cheese across the country. With options like old-fashioned baked casseroles and gourmet lobster mac on the menu, get ready to sink your spoon into some of the most-indulgent bowls around from these masters of macaroni.
Mad Donna’s — Nashville
With a full section of the menu devoted to Mad Macs, you know that this Music City joint must be serious about mac and cheese. There are six “mad” variations to choose from, but on Heat Seekers, Aarón Sánchez and Roger Mooking braved the most-intense mac of all, the blazing-hot habanero mac and cheese. Amplified by whole peppers and doubly spicy habanero powder, this menacing mac is topped with even more heat in the form of “hellfire crunch,” a mix of crumbled tortilla chips and habanero powder.
Mac and cheese is a comfort food all-star, beloved by kids and adults alike. The chefs in Food Network Kitchen created a classic, crowd-pleasing stovetop recipe that hits the spot, but they didn’t stop there. They took that basic recipe and baked it up with add-ins like veggies and meats for more complete, satisfying meals. Read more
The ultimate family-friendly feast, macaroni and cheese is a timeless dish that can feed a crowd. Ina Garten’s dressed-up version of this classic favorite features smooth and creamy Gruyere and extra-sharp cheddar cheeses and fresh tomato slices. Best of all, this easy weeknight pick bakes for just 30 minutes.
On a recent snowy evening, the Croque Monsieur Mac and Cheese recipe from our Cheese Guide beckoned. Okay, confession time: My normal mac and cheese comes in a box with a packet of powdered cheese. But this recipe is the real deal – you make a creamy béchamel sauce, fold in two cheeses and the pasta, and then bake until it’s hot and bubbly. It’s deceptively simple and it tastes amazing!
So what the heck is a “Croque Monsieur?” I had to look it up. It’s a French ham and cheese sandwich that’s either toasted or dipped in egg and sautéed in butter. This mac and cheese is a playful twist, using the traditional Gruyere cheese and sliced ham. And, for my favorite part, a bread and egg mixture forms a savory bread-pudding-like crust over the top.
For a more calorie-conscious version of Mac and Cheese, check out Ellie’s made-over recipe, part of our Monthly Meal Makeover features. You can also find tips for slimming down this classic dish from HealthyEats.com. Or you can just do what I did: Serve the ooey-gooey full-fat version with a side salad.