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Creative Twists on Macaroni and Cheese

Created January 10, 2017
Pantry staples help transform macaroni and cheese in a matter of minutes.

Adding new flavors and textures is a great way to take macaroni from boring to extraordinary. You don’t need to make an extra trip to the store to try Betty’s new takes on the comfort-food classic; in fact, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already. Simply start with a basic macaroni recipe—like our top-notch Family-Favorite Macaroni and Cheese—and give it a new twist with any of the following ingredients.

Sprinkle on before baking:

  • Mix ½ cup fresh or dried bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
  • One-half cup crushed plain potato chips (flavored chips tend to get too brown if added before baking)
  • One-half cup French-fried onions
Add just before removing from oven:
  • One-half cup additional shredded cheese (bake 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted)
Sprinkle on about ½ cup of any of the following after baking—or serve alongside:
  • Crushed plain or flavored croutons
  • Crushed crackers, flavored potato chips or snack chips
  • Chopped fresh parsley or other herbs
  • Sliced or cubed avocado
  • Thinly sliced or chopped tomatoes
  • Salsa or sour cream
  • Diced bell peppers
  • Sliced olives
Keys to Success:
  • Cook pasta before mixing with sauce. It will not get tender if added uncooked.
  • Cook flour mixture until smooth and bubbly.
  • Stir constantly while making sauce, so that the flour mixture thickens the milk evenly.
  • Serve immediately so pasta will be creamy and not continue to soak up the sauce.
Swap the Cheese:
Use any of these cheeses in place of all or part of the cheddar in Betty’s Family-Favorite Macaroni and Cheese:
  • Asiago or parmesan (up to 1 cup)
  • Blue or gorgonzola crumbled (up to 1 cup)
  • Brie crumbled (up to 1 cup)
  • Cheddar (white or smoked)
  • Colby
  • Edam
  • Fontina
  • Gouda (regular or smoked)
  • Gruyère
  • Havarti
  • Jarlsberg
  • Manchego
  • Monterey Jack or pepper jack
  • Swiss