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10 Incredible Add-Ins for Macaroni and Cheese

Crumbled Bacon  

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Crisp, salty bacon meets creamy, cheesy goodness when you add it to your favorite made-from-scratch macaroni and cheese recipe. Fry the bacon before you add it to the macaroni or it will end up soggy and chewy.

Alternately, you can bake the bacon in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes. This frees you up to focus on the rest of the recipe, which is great if you’re grating your own cheese or trying to make sure the heavy whipping cream in your sauce doesn’t curdle or burn.

Pepperoni Pieces

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Craving pizza? Skip the calorie-laden deep dish and load up on a carbalicious blend of elbow noodles or pasta shells topped with gooey cheese and giant pepperoni pieces.

For the full effect, stir in ½ a cup of pasta sauce and top your macaroni with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese. Make sure to add the pizza toppings to your existing mac ‘n cheese recipe rather than replacing the cheddar cheese and other ingredients with them.

If pepperoni isn’t your thing, you can also stir in Canadian bacon, sausage, hamburger, black olives, or green peppers.

Jalapeno Slices    

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Spice up your family’s favorite macaroni and cheese recipe by adding jalapeno slices. Blend diced jalapenos with the noodles and cheese sauce, then top with shredded cheese and garnish with additional jalapenos.

Need to tone the spice down a bit? Remove most of the seeds from the jalapeno slices before you place them in your macaroni.

Broccoli Chunks  

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If you’re craving broccoli and cheese soup but don’t have time to prepare it, keep your tastebuds happy with some broccoli mac ‘n cheese instead. Simply prepare your favorite recipe for macaroni and cheese, stirring in 2 cups of coarsely chopped broccoli before you pop your casserole dish in the oven.

Top with bread crumbs, finely chopped broccoli bits, and Parmesan cheese.

Potato Chips  

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Balance out the soft, smooth texture of a traditional macaroni and cheese recipe with the hearty crunch of potato chips. You can use wavy chips, regular chips,  or kettle chips for this recipe. Plain chips are fine, but you may also enjoy barbecue chips or spicy chips on top of your mac ‘n cheese.

If you want the chips to retain most of their crunch, wait until the last 5 or 10 minutes of cook time to add them to the baking dish.

Hot Dogs    

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Sneak more meat into your kids’ bellies by adding hot dog pieces to a delicious bowl of macaroni and cheese. We love how this cook arranged the hot dogs in the shape of a flower – how cute is that?

Sliced Mushrooms  

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The rich, earthy flavor of sliced mushrooms complements the semi-salty taste of the cheese sauce used in many homemade macaroni and cheese recipes nicely. You can use portobello mushrooms, white mushrooms, or marinated mushrooms for this recipe. They all taste incredible.

For added flavor, saute the mushrooms with a stick of butter, diced garlic, and finely chopped onions, then add the ingredients to your macaroni and cheese.

Black Beans and Corn  

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Enjoy the fresh taste of sweet corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes in the Mexican take on a classic American comfort food. This Mexican macaroni and cheese recipe is great for cookouts and birthday parties, and you can make the salsa topping a day or two in advance to save time.

Spinach and Artichokes  

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Spinach and artichokes mingle marvelously with gooey, creamy piles of cheese in this elegant version of macaroni and cheese. Boil the artichokes before adding them to the mac ‘n cheese to avoid tough, chewy pieces.

Apple Chunks  

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Fruit isn’t just for dessert. Stir apple chunks and sugared bacon strips into a bowl of macaroni and cheese and enjoy a delectable combination of sweet and salty flavors.

 

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