Are you in love with KD [Kraft Dinner] and are looking for options to make the dish more appetizing and healthy? Or if you are a mom like me who loves to mask veggies and meat into your mac n cheese since it’s almost impossible to convince your kids to try any other version of pasta.
Well, there are a lot of things that can be added to your KD to make it more healthy and yummy.
To make your boxed KD a healthier option you can add vegetables, eggs, fresh herbs, Italian spices, mushrooms, ground meats, chicken, tuna, shrimp, meatballs, diced ham, bacon, pepperoni, and gourmet cheese, or if you are feeling fancy then even truffles!
In this article, we shall look into ingredients that can elevate a simple KD into more interesting options. Also, there are times when you would want to have a healthy option to add your KD. We shall understand how a KD can be made more healthy.
What should I add to Kraft mac and cheese?
A simple KD can be elevated by adding a few more ingredients of your choice from the list below:
- Cottage Cheese
- Frozen Veggies – Peas, Corn, Spinach, Carrots, etc.
- Sauteed Onions or Fried Onions
- Diced Tomatoes
- Chopped Broccoli
- Vegetable Purees such as beetroot, spinach, etc.
- Bell Peppers in assorted colors
- Selection of different cheeses – American, Cheddar, Cream Cheese, Gouda, and a touch of Parmesan.
- Eggs – Boiled, Runny, or Fried
- Spices – Onion powder, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Chilli Flakes, Paprika, Basil, Marjoram, or a hint of nutmeg.
- Fresh Herbs
- Milk or Cream
- a Tablespoon of mustard
- And, if you’re feeling fancy then you can add Truffles!
Non – Vegetarian Options
- Ground Meat – Turkey/Chicken/Beef
- Shredded Chicken
- Sausages of your choice
- Leftover Pot Roast
- Beef or Bean chili
- Diced Ham
How can I make my Kraft mac and cheese taste better?
There are some simple steps that will help to make your Kraft Mac n Cheese Taste better:
Use Butter and Dairy
Adding butter makes the dish rich and adds a nice buttery flavor to it. Also, adding in the milk will keep the dish moist and help in adding the sauce otherwise you might run the risk of the pasta absorbing all the moisture and the mac n cheese is dry.
Related Reading – Can You Use Heavy Cream Instead of Milk in Macaroni and Cheese?
You can add in half n half, whole milk, and skimmed milk as well. However, adding skimmed milk will not bring out the creaminess. So, if your adding skimmed milk then add some cream as well. It will help in making the sauce rich and creamy.
Related Reading: Too Much Milk in Macaroni and Cheese? [Here’s How to Fix It!]
Vegans can opt for plant-based milk such as coconut milk, soy milk, oat milk, etc. Also, vegan creams such as cashew cream can be added to improve the texture of the sauce and make it thick.
Related Reading: Evaporated Milk in Macaroni and Cheese? [Here’s why!]
Add in Spices
Adding the spices to your regular Kraft Mac n Cheese will definitely make the difference. Especially recommended spices such as onion and garlic powder. These powders really help to elevate the flavor of the dish. A touch of nutmeg also helps to a dairy-based sauce a depth of flavor.
Other spices that work well are black pepper, oregano, basil, and marjoram. Basically Italian spices as this are technically pasta in cheese sauce.
Select your Cheese
Another addition that can work wonders is the addition of cheese or a combination of them. Adding Gruyere will turn your mac n cheese into a gourmet one. You can add Gouda or Parmesan cheese which will give a nuttier and creamy flavor.
Some other cheeses that can be added as Monterey Jack, Fontina, Havarti, and Brie. When adding Brie do not forget to take out the rind.
Throw in Some Veggies
Fresh or Frozen Veggies can be added alike. Also, another great option is to add steamed and pureed veggies to the Pasta. It’s a great way of masking vegetables and adding flavor. I regularly make Pink colored Pasta by adding beetroot and carrot puree and Green colored Pasta with spinach puree for my kids and they love it!
Related Reading: How Much Macaroni and Cheese Per Person? [With Calculator!]
Don’t forget to get some Fresh herbs going in
Fresh Green is loaded with tons of fiber and vitamins. Sauteed Kale, spinach, or swiss chard can be easily added to the dish to make it more healthy. Other options can be to top it up with cilantro or finely chopped chives or a dash of fresh dill.
It’ll not only add color to the dish but also make it more healthy.
Add proteins to give your mac n cheese an amazing flavor
There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to choosing proteins to add to your mac n cheese. Meatballs, sausages, bacon, grilled meats, shredded chicken, tuna, shrimp, etc. If you like your KD to have a South Asian twist you can even add a runny or a fried egg on top of your dish.
Lastly, add some breadcrumbs or cracker crust on top
Adding Breadcrumbs with some dried herbs and cheese on top and bake it. It will give your KD another layer of flavor also it’s fun to have a crusty crumb when mixed with the gooey cheese.
Related Reading: Why is My Macaroni and Cheese Grainy? [And How to Fix It?]
How do you make Kraft Mac and Cheese creamier and cheesier again?
It is quite possible that you have made the dish and ended up with a dry dish without the cheesiness. Or probably you have some leftovers and would like to revive your KD. As the pasta has the tendency to soak up all the moisture in the dish and make it dry. This is especially true if you did not have a lot of sauce from the very beginning.
Adding creaminess to the dish is mostly done by adding milk or cream and butter to the dish. To make your KD cheesy you will have to add the cheese of your choice or the one that is available.
Related Reading: What Cream to Use for Pasta? [With Table and Examples!]
There are a few steps that can ensure that your KD will become creamy and cheesy again!
- Put your KD in a saucepan and put it on the stovetop. Or a bowl if you’re using an oven or microwave.
- Add in milk – Half n Half, skimmed milk, regular milk, or whole milk. Whole milk works best.
- Add cream – You can add cream if the milk you use is not rich in fat or maybe you just want to add some richness to the dish. Fresh cream, heavy cream, and even sour cream can be added.
- Adjust seasonings if needed.
- Add the cheese shredded or cubed or sliced cheese. Cheddar, American, Parmesan, or cream cheese can be added.
If you are heating your KD in a microwave or oven then add all the ingredients together give it a nice mix and heat it up at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
- Ensure that the pasta does not get overcooked, to avoid the same adjust the liquid in the dish accordingly.
- You can even whip up a batch of cheese sauce starting with a roux and mix it in the KD.
Related Reading: Does Pasta Contain Egg? [A Complete Guide!]
How to add protein to Kraft Mac n Cheese?
Proteins that are cooked can be added separately towards the end of the dish such as meatballs, sausages, grilled meats, canned tuna, pot roasts, and bacon. etc. However, they can also be added to the sauce if you are cooking your pasta separately, which is not the case when your making KD.
Thus, it is recommended to add cooked proteins and toss them to your dish once mac n cheese is cooked.
How to make Kraft Mac n Cheese Spicy?
Spices are essential to be added to Kraft mac n cheese if you want to increase the flavors in the dish. Dried herbs and ground spices are some of the best options that can be added. Also, a few varieties of chilies will help add spiciness to the dish.
A few recommended herbs and spices are onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, Italian herbs such as basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, or paprika, or some chili flakes to add some hotness to your Kraft mac n cheese.
Some other spices that can be added are marjoram, nutmeg( it goes well with a classic cheese sauce), and mustard(commonly added to mac n cheese).
Related Reading: Should You Put Egg in Mac and Cheese? [Here’s What to Do!]
How to make Kraft Mac n Cheese Healthy?
There are a variety of ways that a simple mac n cheese can be made healthy:
- Add pureed vegetables to the sauce.
- Add frozen or fresh vegetables.
- Add meat of your choice
- Pureed vegetables such as butternut squash, avocado, and cauliflower are pureed as a sauce.
- Use healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil instead of butter
- Use plant-based milk as a dairy substitute
- Use vegan cream cheese.
Any of the above options can be used to make your Kraft Mac n cheese healthy!
More Related Articles
Here are some more articles related to Macaroni and Cheese that you may find interesting!
- Should You Put Egg in Macacroni and Cheese? [Here’s a Complete Guide!]
- Why is Your Macaroni and Cheese Oily? [And How to Fix It!]
- Is Pasta and Macaroni the Same? [Here’s the Difference!]
- Can You Use Pizza Sauce for Pasta? [Here’s a Better Way!]
- Is Pizza and Pasta Flour the Same? [Here’s the Differences!]