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Get creative with mac and cheese

“I’ll never be able to give my kids a billion-dollar company, but Laureen and I are saving for their education. And I have actually cooked them Kraft Dinner. I like to add wieners.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper



Boxed macaroni and cheese was introduced in Canada 75 years ago by Kraft Foods. Known affectionately as KD, it is part of Canadian culture and a student staple. There are numerous other brands of instant meal-in-a-box available as well as Smart KD that has noodles made with cauliflower. Kraft Dinner has a Facebook page and an official website.

Easy tuna noodle

1 box (regular size) macaroni and cheese mix

1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of chicken soup

1 can (7 ounces) tuna

Make macaroni and cheese as directed on box. Stir in soup and tuna. If you want some veggies, add a small can of peas. This recipe is low in fat.

Sunny mac ‘n’ cheese

Can’t afford a sunny spring break vacation? Pineapple in this dish will make -20C a little easier to handle.

2 boxes macaroni and cheese mix, plus ingredients to prepare

1 can (15 ounces) pineapple chunks

Prepare macaroni and cheese as per package instructions.

Drain pineapple. Discard juice.

Add drained pineapple to macaroni and cheese.

Stir until pineapple is coated with cheese.

Bacon mac ‘n’ cheese

1 box macaroni and cheese mix

1/3 cup bacon bits

1 cup frozen peas, thawed or one small can

Prepare the macaroni and cheese as directed on box. Stir in the peas and bacon bits when adding the milk to the mix. Heat through and serve.

Beefy mac

1 pound ground beef

1 box macaroni and cheese mix

1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes

10 ounces water

4 tablespoons butter

In a large non-stick skillet, brown ground meat and drain. Add tomatoes, water, and macaroni. Mix together and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for seven to eight minutes.

Make a well in the middle of skillet mixture. Slice butter into the well. When butter is melted, slowly stir cheese packet contents into melted butter. When cheese sauce is blended, mix it in with the macaroni mixture.

Mexican Mac

Prepare mac and cheese according to the recipe on the box. Then brown one package of ground beef or ground chicken. Drain off any grease. Add in one packet of taco seasoning mix. Add in the seasoned beef and one cup of cheddar or Mexican cheese to prepared mac. Pour all of this into a casserole dish and top with any of the following ingredients: crumbled tortilla chips, tomato, onion, chopped lettuce and sour cream.

Mac chili

1 box macaroni and cheese

1 pound (450 g) extra lean ground beef

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 can (19 ounces/540 mL) stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 can (19 ounces/540 mL) kidney beans, drained

1/3 cup light sour cream

1/3 cup cheddar shredded cheese

Homemade KD

Just like mom makes. This mac and cheese doesn’t come in a box.

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups milk

1/4 cup butter

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 pinch paprika

1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.

2. In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a sauce. Add milk to mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.

3. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with a little paprika.

4. Bake at 350 F (175 C) for 30 minutes. Serve.

Dad’s mac ‘n’ cheese recipe

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for the skillet

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese

3/4 cup grated dry Parmesan cheese

1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

2 plum tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 tablespoon chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 400 F (204 C)

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until they are softened, about two minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns light brown, about three minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk. Add the paprika, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about five minutes. Add the cheeses, and stir until they are melted. Add the macaroni, and stir until the noodles are thoroughly coated. Remove from the heat. Butter two six-inch cast-iron skillets or one 12-inch skillet. Transfer the macaroni mixture into the skillets. Top with the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.

Bake until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Garnish with the chopped herbs.

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