Hack Your Mac

This article was originally published in June 2017

Hack your mac

Not only has boxed macaroni and cheese made giant strides in flavor and quality in the last few years (you’ll find certified organic options at PCC), but the addition of a few fresh ingredients can quickly elevate this childhood favorite into a more substantial meal.


4 ways to boost your bowl

1. Cheese, please

One of the easiest ways to upgrade your mac is to add freshly grated cheese. Shreds of sharp cheddar or smoked Gouda will instantly punch up the flavor. Creamy chèvre and a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, provides a rich earthiness to your bowl.

2. Put on the panko

Baking off your mac and cheese with a layer of crispy panko adds a delicious crunch and texture to your pasta. Once the noodles are cooked and the cheese packet has been incorporated, mix in an egg and a little extra milk, and place in a buttered casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs and bake at 375° F for 20 minutes. For an extra boost of greens, stir in a cup of thinly chopped kale before baking. Top with a little Parmesan for extra flavor.

3. Add a little protein

Everything is better with bacon, right? Cook a couple strips, chop ’em up and add the bits to your mac. If you want to get a little fancier, try prosciutto instead. Shreds from a rotisserie chicken also are a quick and easy option.

4. Get very veggie

Peas are classic but just about any vegetable will enhance your bowl of comfort carbs and provide some nutrition. Roasted or steamed cauliflower is a great way to sneak in a veggie if you have a picky eater. A sauté of diced zucchini, cherry tomatoes and fresh corn kernels offers a taste of late summer. Even half a cup of canned pumpkin gives depth of flavor and a dose of vitamins.

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