Necessity is the mother of all invention.
All over the world, some of the most beloved dishes were born out of the ingredients the originator had on hand. Whether it’s Currywurst in Berlin, Nutella in Italy, or Carrot Cake in Britain. Sometimes we got to make do with what we got. And if what you got is a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and a couple other items in your pantry, here’s some inspiration on how to take your Mac to the next level.
1. Fried Mac & Cheese Balls
Here we have three staples of American food culture: fried food, cheese, and cheese balls. And no, you don’t have to wait until the next carnival to get yours. If you have left over mac & cheese, butter, flour, cream, salt, some bread crumbs, and an egg — with a couple of basic pots and pans — you have everything you need to ball out.
2. Mac & Cheese Quesadillas
Some might call this sacrilege, to that I say open your mind — and taste buds. Not only do these quesadillas slap, but the recipe only requires 3 ingredients: tortillas, leftover macaroni, and an extra slice of cheese. In total these quesadillas take less than 10 minutes to make. Plus, if you’re not stove savvy, you can make these bad boys in a microwave, no problem.
3. Grilled Mac & Cheese
This one is self-explanatory. Cook the mac & cheese, toast the bread, put the two together, and, boda bing, you got yourself a Grilled Mac & Cheese.
4. Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
Looking for a little spice, are you? A little tanginess, too? Behold: the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. If you have 30 or so minutes — which of course you do because we’re all trapped — and a couple extra items, you can whip up some cheesy goodness with a kick.
The most basic version of this recipe goes like this: make the mac, add shredded pre-cooked chicken, follow with a third cup of Buffalo sauce (Frank’s Hot Sauce seems to be the favorite), and drizzle some panko on top. And BOOM — Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese.
5. Mac & Cheese Muffins
Macaroni, butter, milk, egg, shredded sharp cheddar, shredded mozzarella, bread crumbs, olive oil, salt, and a muffin tin — that’s what you’ll need to make these muffins. If it seems daunting, trust me, this recipe is so simple you could whip up these puppies in an Easy Bake Oven.
6. South of the Border Mac & Cheese
If you couldn’t tell already, we’re multiculturalists around here — especially when it comes to food. And this Mexican Mac & Cheese recipe packs a world of yums. Get your hands on some mac & cheese noodles (or Rigatoni pasta), pork sausage, taco seasoning, green chiles, onions, salsa verde, and tomatoes, put it all together — via their instructions — and be grateful for all the flavors that will smother your taste buds.
7. Macaroni & Cheese Pizza
Boy do we miss Cici’s. Luckily we have the Internet. And according to the Internet, you only need 10 minutes and 5 ingredients to bake a cheesy, gooey, mac & cheese pizza pie.
8. Sloppy Joe Mac & Cheese
This one is simply childhood indulgence. But hey, in times like these we need as much comfort (food) as we can get. To make this dish, simply make both the sloppy joe and mac & cheese separately and then mix.
Can you put your Sloppy Joe Mac & Cheese on a bun and it eat it like a hamburger? Why of course you can, silly.
9. Mac & Cheese Pancakes
Here’s a pancake dish you won’t find at your neighborhood IHOP. For good reason? Perhaps. But think of it this way. You could eat this dish for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! Plus you’re pairing to ultimate comfort foods for double the satisfaction.
10. Mac & Cheese Sushi Rolls
Do you have your chopsticks on hand? No? Well that’s fine. Fingers or a fork will do for these fancy Mac & Cheese sushi rolls. It’s easier than you think. The only extra items you’ll need are a sushi roller (covered in plastic), taco meat or seasoned ground beef, and Sriracha — for taste and presentation. Follow a couple steps and voila — you’re a sushi chef.
[Featured image @Steve Johnson via Flickr Creative Commons]