I’ve been meaning to do something here to celebrate the new (well, not so new now) Comfort Food category over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks. It’s loaded with goodies like fried round steak and potatoes au gratin, but for today, I want to focus on one of the most beloved comfort foods of all time: macaroni and cheese.
Seriously. What can be more comforting than spoonfuls—or forkfuls, if that’s your weapon of choice—of pasta bathed in creamy cheese? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.
Let’s start with a few classic versions. This is mac and cheese 101, the basic combination of regular pasta and cheese. Done in the oven or on the stove, you can’t go wrong with any of these.
You know we’re just getting started here. Let’s take the classic version, throw in some special cheese or a little something extra for a crunchy top, and start mixing things up a bit.
That’s because we can’t help ourselves. It’s what we do here.
Clockwise from top left: Easy Peasy Baked Mac and Cheesy from Not A Leaf, Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese from A Cozy Kitchen, Spicy Baked Mac & Cheese from sweet anna’s, and Creamy & Crunchy Mac and Cheese from pammy.
Ready to raise the stakes a bit higher? Let’s throw in some vegetables and sneak in a little extra nutrition, whether it’s Swiss chard or mushrooms or butternut squash.
It’s a great way to get picky eaters to add some greens to their diet, too.
Clockwise from top left: Truffle Mac and Cheese from Not A Leaf, Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese from in sock monkey slippers, Swiss Chard & Sun-Dried Tomato Skillet Mac from Natalie (Perrys’ Plate), and Island Macaroni and Cheese from Global Table Adventure.
And now, because we’ve blown that door wide open, let’s take that simple mac and cheese and add in some bacon. Or chicken. Or maybe some ground meat and roasted vegetables. Sprinkle some extra spice in there, and you’ve got yourself a seriously loaded, jacked up, ain’t-your-traditional-no-more mac and cheese.
It’s like comfort food that’s been pumping iron and doing P90X.
I have no idea what I just said.
Clockwise from top left: Ree’s Fancy Macaroni, Bacon & Butternut Skillet Mac from Natalie (Perrys’ Plate), Deliciously Healthy Mac and Cheese from bonniethebaker, Chicken Mac and Cheese from HowSweetEats, Mac-N-Cheese from Sheila Johnson, and Jalapeno-Bacon Macaroni and Cheese from cicadagirl.
And there you have it! A quick roundup of some wonderful macaroni and cheese recipes that you can find here in Tasty Kitchen. Aside from being absolutely delicious, the great thing about this classic comfort food is that just about everyone loves it, kids and grown ups alike. It also makes a wonderful packed lunch for school or work, and you’ll be kissed repeatedly and followed around if you bring a pan of creamy, cheesy comfort to a party.
How about you? Do you have a favorite mac and cheese variation? Do you like to experiment with different ingredients or do you feel that nothing beats the classic version? Let us know!