As is true of your pal French fries, you, mac and cheese, feature the one-two punch of cross-cultural appeal and ubiquity. You are simply everywhere, both in boxed form and more elegant incarnations. Yet we never tire of you. And after all these years, you still turn our heads: You look so good floating across a restaurant on a tray, we forget to order whatever fancy dish we’d originally planned to. We fall all over again.
Here are a few more reasons we love you, mac and cheese.
1. Kids adore you. Ask a child her favorite food. If she doesn’t name pizza, she will name you, eyes wide.
2. You get gussied-up for company. In our fancier moments, we can make a béchamel sauce out of flour, milk and cheese, add grated cheddar and Swiss and pour over plain, partially cooked pasta before baking. Magic happens in the oven, and we serve you with a side salad for a super-simple dinner; our friends cheer.
3. You can be amped up using a million other foods. Blanch chopped broccoli; fry sliced hot dogs in butter; cook some bacon and crumble it on top. Macaroni and cheese plays well with nearly every other food (check out one of our favorite recipes below).
4. You are so delightfully simple. Even the foodiest foodies can’t resist the lure of throwing on a pot of salted water, dumping in the box of macaroni, and coming back a few minutes later to add in whatever mix of cheese is available.
5. You cheer up sick and sad friends. There’s a reason we think of you as the poster child for comfort food. Mac and cheese, you knock every other contender out of the ring when it comes to breakups and bad days.
6. We always like an excuse to use more Sriracha. The classic, hot-sweet sauce makes the ideal foil for your cheesy, bubbling goodness of mac.
7. You’re forever. None of these reasons are ever going away. Like apple pie, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll, you are an American classic. We love that we’ll feed you to our kids, and to our kids’ kids, too.
Smokey Mac & Cheese (pictured above)
Smokey bacon is one of our favorite ways to jazz up mac and cheese (see #3!), so we love this recipe for Smokey Mac & Cheese Pasta from Knorr®.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
2 slices thick cut bacon, cut into thin strips
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 package Knorr® Pasta Sides — Chicken flavor
2 cups cut-up cooked rotisserie chicken
½ cup shredded pepper Jack or Cheddar cheese
Cook bacon in medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Stir red peppers and onions into saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from saucepan and set aside.
Prepare Knorr® Pasta Sides - Chicken flavor in same saucepan according to package directions. Stir in chicken, cheese, peppers, and onion during the last 2 minutes of cook time.
Garnish, if desired, with chopped parsley.