Think Outside the Box

Nothing says convenient comfort food quite like boxed macaroni and cheese. Healthy? Let’s not kid ourselves. But with so many students and travelers turning to this pantry staple for a quick, easy and shelf-stable option, there are certainly ways to make it more nutritious.

With the simple addition of a few ingredients (think protein and veggies) you can bring nutritious life to this budget-friendly meal. While the following recipe ideas involve a variety of brands and flavors of macaroni and cheese on the market, feel free to mix and match! Simply cook the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions and add in the fixings!

Think Outside the Box

 

Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells and White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
  • Albacore tuna
  • Frozen peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Parsley
  • Cook the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions. Add drained tuna, peas, and chopped mushrooms. Garnish with chopped parsley.

 

Cheeseburger Mac

  • Back to Nature Harvest Wheat Macaroni & Cheese
  • Ground beef
  • Ketchup
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Red Onion
  • Cook the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions. Add cooked ground beef, ketchup and chopped red onion. Top with shredded lettuce.

 

Chipotle Black Bean

  • Kraft Cheesy Southwest Chipotle Macaroni & Cheese
  • Black beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Cilantro
  • Scallions
  • Cook the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions. Add drained black beans, diced tomatoes, and jalapenos. Garnish with chopped cilantro and scallions.

 

Spicy BBQ Chicken

  • Kraft Three Cheese Jalapeno Macaroni & Cheese
  • Canned chicken breast
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Scallions
  • Red onion
  • Cook the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions. Add drained chicken breast, BBQ sauce, chopped roasted red peppers and red onion. Garnish with chopped scallions.

 

Southwestern Taco

  • Trader Joe’s Wisconsin Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
  • Ground turkey breast
  • Salsa
  • Taco seasoning
  • Black olives
  • Avocado
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Cook the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions. Add cooked ground turkey breast, salsa, taco seasoning, and black olives. Top with chopped avocado and crushed tortilla chips.

 

Mediterranean Mix

  • Annie’s Alfredo Shells and Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Banana peppers
  • Pepperoni
  • Red onion
  • Parsley
  • Cook the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions. Add drained garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, banana peppers, chopped pepperoni and red onion. Garnish with chopped parsley.

 

Bacon Carbonara

  • Annie’s Spirals with Butter and Parmesan Macaroni & Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Peppadew peppers
  • Parsley
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fried egg
  • Cook the macaroni and cheese according to the package directions. Add cooked chopped bacon, and chopped peppadew peppers. Garnish with chopped parsley and ground black pepper and top with a fried egg.

 

What’s your favorite way to enjoy this traditional pantry staple?

 

 

Inspiration for the above post came from travelers staying at the Chicago Getaway Hostel.

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