Break Out of Mac and Cheese’s Boring Box Mold

By Mallori Albright, Staff Writer

Microwavable macaroni and cheese is a favorite staple for college students everywhere, for its quick cooking time and nostalgia-inducing flavor. But even for all its convenience, the watered down pasta and powdered cheese gets a bit dull after a while. Instead of eating yet another bowl of drab macaroni and cheese, add flavor to your comfort food with these simple solutions.

Steamed Vegetables

Avoid the guilt associated with your fourth serving of instant macaroni by adding

some vegetables to the mix. To avoid spoiling, buy frozen vegetables like broccoli, carrots or medleys that can be steamed in the microwave and then added to your cooked pasta.

Canned Goods

Don’t forget about the wide variety of canned food products that you can easily add to your mac and cheese. You can crack open a can of artichoke hearts, olives and roasted red peppers to give your pasta a Mediterranean twist.


If you want to make your mac and cheese a well-rounded meal, try adding your favorite type of protein to the bowl. Options range from chicken to beans to bacon to whatever other healthy protein your tastebuds crave. Adding something like chorizo could really spice up the dish.


Try purchasing different spice packs or making a personal spice blend by mixing your favorite cuisine flavorings. You can try pre-mixed spices such as Italian seasoning, taco seasoning or a Mediterranean spice mix for an extra punch of flavor.

Explore Your Pantry

The most basic ingredients can be some of the best things to flavor your everyday comfort food. Try adding a kick to your instant mac and cheese with a few dashes of salt, pepper and garlic powder. If you want some heat added to your pasta, try a dash or two of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes. You can even add your favorite hot sauce, like a traditional Southern Louisiana hot sauce or Sriracha.

More Cheese

The most essential component of macaroni and cheese is the cheese. Do not think that you always have to settle for the instant cheese packet — throw it out or mix other cheeses with it. Try a combination of sharp, hard cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan and gruyere for more bite, or opt for a creamier sauce with ricotta, mozzarella or a flavored cream cheese. There is almost no wrong way to add cheese to your macaroni — just check your local grocery store. When it comes to macaroni and cheese, some small effort goes a long way.

Email Mallori Albright at [email protected]