How to Make Truly Decadent Mac & Cheese from a Box


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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34 Responses

  1. DensityDuck says:

    Another thing that helps about this is that Big Cooking is a fun change from the usual routine, and you freeze what you don’t eat.

    Note that you need things to freeze stuff in, which means a sufficient quantity of storage containers and sufficient freezer space. Check that you have these before you start.

    If worst comes to worst and you run out of tubs, you can use plastic bags, so long as you let the stuff cool first. Best to do this in the fridge; plastic bags aren’t very temperature-stable so you can’t just throw it in right from the pot, but if you let it cool on the stove it sits in the bacteria-breeding zone for quite a while and that’s not good.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

      This max and cheese never makes it a week.

      I’ve never used anything but plastic bags. I don’t trust the cheap (er, “affordable”) disposable-adjacent containers and never really felt like shelling out for the ones that I’d be willing to trust for months at a time.

      I suppose that that was a mistake, in hindsight.Report

  2. Damon says:

    I have to ask, since you’ve customized the standard mac and cheese from the box, why not get your own pasta and then just follow the rest of the post? You could use what ever noodle variety that you like and allows the cheese to cling to it.

    Recently make chicken curry soup.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Damon says:

      Good question! It has to do with getting comfortable with cooking on the stovetop. This ain’t a post for people who can look at a box of Kraft Dinner and say “I could do that with my own ingredients”, it’s for people who look at a box of Kraft Dinner and say “even if I don’t mess it up when I make it, it won’t be very good”.

      It’s the assumptions hidden behind “even if I don’t mess it up when I make it” that I’m hoping to help accelerate away.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Damon says:

      I think Kraft puts something in the orange powder that kids quickly get addicted to :^)

      I add the odds and ends in the freezer/refrigerator and bake mine. The last of the frozen broccoli. That red bell pepper I bought for something else that got cancelled. A grilled chicken thigh.Report

  3. Brandon Berg says:

    Canned tuna makes a good addition to macaroni and cheese, as well. It’s like a tuna melt, but the bread is boiled instead of baked and grilled.Report

  4. Marchmaine says:

    Whoa, bacon bits and moar cheese? Genius.

    [side eye about the salsa, though.]

    Standard fare for Friday lunches at Brideshead: Mac’n’cheese with Tuna and … this is key … capers.

    And by tuna, we’re talking mixed with mayo and spicy (dijon) mustard – but no crunchy bits like celery… that’s just evil.

    Capers can be served on the side so you can self medicate.Report

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    Is “Kraft Dinner” from Maribou’s influence? I’ve only ever heard of Canadians calling it that.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Wasn’t it called that in the 70’s? If not, it must be a mixture of her influence and growing up watching You Can’t Do That On Television and/or Curling on Windsor’s television station that managed to make it to Detroit.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird says:

        Not sure. I only know of the 70s from more durable relics, like orange and avocado Tupperware™. Apparently it was originally called Kraft Dinner in the US, but it’s been Kraft Macaroni & Cheese for as long as I can remember. Nowadays they still have “Dinner” on the box in smaller print, but the Internet says it was more prominent in the past. So maybe that was it. Or maybe you got it from your parents, who remembered the older branding.Report

  6. North says:

    The using of the carb water is very intriguing and I’m gonna try that out next time I can smuggle a box of Kraft Dinner past the gimlet eyes of The Authority (hubby).Report

    • Jaybird in reply to North says:

      If there’s one thing that I wanted people to take away from this post, it’s that.

      Use less water when you’re boiling your pasta. Save some of it for the sauce that you’ve deliberately made too thick up until this point. Add the carby water to the too-thick sauce and thin it out a little.

      “I can’t believe I used to throw this away”, you’ll say.Report

  7. Dan Miller says:

    I’m going to try this tomorrow. Thanks, Jaybird!

    I’m so sick of quarantine that I’m cooking for fun. There’s no way I make it three months with my sanity intact.Report

  8. About the pasta water: why not just ladle it into the pyrex cup? For me, it’s way too complicated to set the colander* on to the cup, balance everything, and pour the water/pasta mix over it. Does it do a better job at capturing the carb-water?

    *It took me a lot of msspells before I gave up and just scrolled back to the post to see how you spelled it.Report

  9. Fish says:

    There’s so much dairy in this I had to make three trips to the bathroom while reading it. (TMI???)

    It. Looks. Delicious.Report

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