In all honesty, we really don’t eat much from a box around this house at all anymore. There are a couple cereals that I consider acceptable and a couple snacks that we use for on the go (things to stockpile in the car and mom’s purse). The exception to this rule is mac and cheese. It just seems to be a childhood staple, we can’t get away from it. It’s just too easy, convenient and loved by the kids. We no longer carry the Kraft selections in our pantry with the artificial coloring and other junk of course. We now choose Annie’s Homegrown. Although I have made homemade mac and cheese a few times, I still rely on the box for simple quick convenience in instances like date night and leftover night.
One day a week, Monday, is designated as left over night in our home. I get out all the left overs that need to get eaten and delegate them to family members based on how much we have of an item available. Besides using up leftovers and avoiding waste, this day is my one day off from making a homemade dinner each week. If (and only if) we are running low on leftovers, I may break down and bust out a box of mac for the kids. But although I take it easy and cook out of a box, it doesn’t mean that I can’t make a more dressed up meal out of it. After I cook the basic mac and cheese, I then add any leftover veggies and meat on hand to the dish. This week it was ground pork, grilled onions and broccoli.
A previous week, it was ham and broccoli. A fellow Feingold mom from Repurposed and Redriven shares her creation here with hamburger and tomatoes. Get creative. Throw in leftovers or produce that is getting past it’s prime. The point is, even when cooking out of convenience, think beyond the box. It takes very little effort to make it unique and more nutritionally rounded. In my experience, as long as it’s marketed as “mac and cheese”, to the kids, they will eat it with about anything added.
I make it my goal to dress up the mac!