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Recipes Based on Boxed Macaroni and Cheese

We all fix food and have our favorite meals to prepare. I'm sharing some of mine. Have fun cooking!

Yummy, cheesy macaroni!

Yummy, cheesy macaroni!

Finding Many Ways to Fix Macaroni and Cheese

We bought a case of boxed macaroni and cheese when we stocked our pantry at the beginning of the pandemic. I figured if we ran short of food, we could always fix a box of it for dinner. I loved it and it reminded me of childhood days when Mom would cook it for our supper. As time went by, we wanted different ways to fix it so we wouldn't get bored having it too often.

I found a helpful group on Facebook called Recipes for Hard Times and put the question to them. Over 200 replies showed me how creative people can be with a simple box mix containing powdered cheese and macaroni.

The food pantries needed donations of canned goods and boxed food, so we donated some locally. Later, a friend told me about a time when all they had for weeks was macaroni and cheese to eat. I bet she would have appreciated some of the varied recipes I'm sharing below.

Are You a Fan of Macaroni and Cheese?

Turn It into a Cold Macaroni Salad

Cook the macaroni, but don't add milk or butter to it. Take the cheese packet and mix the powdered cheese with mayonnaise. You can add in your favorite seasoning like Lawry's Seasoned Garlic.

You can add hard-boiled eggs, ham, onions, black olives, or cheese cubes.

Keep it in the refrigerator until time to eat. It's great to take to a barbecue or a picnic.

Meats That Pair Well with Mac and Cheese

Start with your basic box mix and add any of these meats to get a different meal for the family. It's a good way to use some leftovers from the fridge.

  • canned tuna (drained)
  • turkey
  • ham
  • Spam
  • hamburger
  • hotdogs (sliced)
  • pork
  • smoked sausage, Polish sausage
  • canned salmon
  • meatballs
  • pepperoni slices

Make Cowboy Macaroni

When the kids say, "Oh no, not macaroni and cheese again," tell them you're fixing it the way cowboys like it.

Cowboy Macaroni


  • box of mac and cheese
  • hamburger
  • onion
  • cream of mushroom soup
  • corn (frozen or canned or fresh)

Brown some hamburger and chopped onion and drain off the excess grease. Boil the macaroni and mix it in with the hamburger in the skillet. Add cream of mushroom soup, some corn, and the powdered cheese. Simmer until the flavors blend.

Variation: Substitute a 6 ounce can of tomato paste and a 10 ounce can of tomato sauce in place of the mushroom soup. Either of these can be put in a casserole dish and baked in the oven to brown the top.

Ideas for Vegetables to Add

You know what veggies your family likes, but you might find they will eat other choices if you mix them in with your cheesy macaroni.

Possible Vegetables to Add

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  • corn
  • broccoli
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • bell peppers
  • canned tomatoes or tomato sauce or spicy tomatoes like Rotel
  • peas

Mexican Style Macaroni and Cheese

For Mexican Mac and Cheese: Brown hamburger and add a small jar of salsa.

For Green Chili Chicken Mac and Cheese: Cook the macaroni, then drain it. Add diced chicken, sour cream, and a can of mild diced Ortega chilis.

For Taco Style Mac and Cheese: Brown some hamburger with chopped onions then stir in taco seasoning, the cooked macaroni, and the powdered cheese. Add canned corn, black olives, a little bit of salsa, and sour cream. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top when served. If you want to turn it into a taco salad, put some taco chips on a plate, add some lettuce, and then the taco mac and cheese on top of that.

For Chili Mac: Prepare the package ingredients following the directions on the box. Then mix in a can of chili and finish cooking until hot. Alternate method: Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to the box instructions. Layer it with chopped onions, chili, mac and cheese, and cottage cheese.

My husband's family calls this American Chop Suey. You would use several boxes of mac & cheese for a big batch like this. The cheese powder gets added in at the end.

My husband's family calls this American Chop Suey. You would use several boxes of mac & cheese for a big batch like this. The cheese powder gets added in at the end.

Creamy Chicken Mac and Cheese

Use 2 packages of macaroni and cheese. Add some diced (or shredded) cooked chicken. Instead of the milk and butter called for on the package, add sour cream (up to a 16 oz container), and a packet of onion soup mix. Mix it all together well. It's ready to eat or put it in a buttered 9x13 dish and sprinkle crushed plain cornflakes over the top. Bake that at 350 degrees until it is bubbly around the edges.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Virginia Allain


Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on January 21, 2021:

We like to spice up our food with extra ingredients.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on January 21, 2021:

These are good ideas. I think some people are great for experimenting with products like this and changing the outcome of the whole dish by adding some other ingredients to create something new.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on January 20, 2021:

That I agree. It's a healthy style, and improves the health of a person.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on January 20, 2021:

It's always fun to expand your meal choices.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on January 20, 2021:

Peggy, I know a lot of people are struggling with putting food on the table during this time and food costs have gone up.

Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on January 20, 2021:

It's pretty popular in the U.S. as you just boil it until it is tender, then add a variety of ingredients. It can be a very inexpensive meal.

Travel Chef from Manila on January 20, 2021:

One of my favorites pasta recipe. I would love to try the cowboy macaroni.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 19, 2021:

Boxes of macaroni and cheese are generally inexpensive, and you have shown many ways to vary the ingredients and make it a full meal. I am sure that many people will enjoy reading your ideas.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on January 19, 2021:

Hi Virginia, you ideas will be useful to me later, because I found it hard and had no ideas about cooking macoroni. Thanks for for sharing.

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