Not Kraft Mac and Cheese – Wahoo!

I live with a Mac and Cheese purist. Let me clarify, a Kraft Mac and Cheese, blue box, “it’s the cheesiest”, purist.

Easy Mac? Not the same. Velveeta Shells and Cheese? Not bad, but not mac and cheese (“That is why they call it shells and cheese”). Home made? Hmmmmm…..

Note the multi pack.

My 17 year old was raised on the food of the children of the 90’s, chicken nuggets and blue box mac and cheese. When he was six, my mom came to visit and decided to make him home-made mac and cheese. He became excited when she told him that mac and cheese was for dinner. When meal time came and the macaroni was actually normal sized and yellow (versus tiny and orange) he did not hesitate to show his displeasure. Mom still talks about it to this day.

In the past I had suggested making home-made mac and cheese and even tried to convince him by suggesting that I would put bacon in it. Even though he considers bacon in its own special food group at the top of the pyramid, it was not enough to sway him for a desire for the blue box instead.

As the critic was away for lunch one day, I jumped at the chance to make it for the rest of us.


The recipe calls for Ritz crackers, but as I had corn flake crumbs, I used those instead. They were great.

While the recipe does not call it such, you start by making a roux (butter, flour, heat and mixing).

Mix in the noodles (I added bacon bits here too)

Cheddar on top.

Just out of the oven with the corn flake crumb topping.

Down-Home Macaroni & Cheese

Prep Time: 25 min |  Cook Time: 45 min  | Servings: 5 servings, 1 cup each | Difficulty: Medium


  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 lb. (8 oz.) VELVEETA®, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/4 cup)


1. HEAT oven to 350°F.

2. MELT 3 Tbsp. butter in medium saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook 2 min., stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to boil; cook and stir 3 to 5 min. or until thickened. Add VELVEETA; cook 3 min. or until melted, stirring frequently. Stir in macaroni.

3. SPOON into 2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with Cheddar. Melt remaining butter; toss with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole.

4. BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Cheese, Pasta, Pork, Recipes

Author:The Ranting Chef

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64 Comments on “Not Kraft Mac and Cheese – Wahoo!”

  1. Nicola Guttridge
    April 28, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Looks lovely – Mac n cheese can’t be beaten! Do you add a bit of mustard or mustard powder? Makes it amazing – as in this recipe ( – but without the tomatoes! x


  2. April 28, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    That looks gorgeous but what on earth is Velveeta? Might we have an equivalent over here in the UK? Thanks!


    • April 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      it’s a solid proccessed cheddar cheese product. We don’t have it here in Canada either so I use cheedar in a pinch but gruyere and emmental is my go to for mac and cheese.


  3. April 28, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    I had the same issue with my 14 year old son! He is starting to like the homemade stuff now…but he used to hate it – wouldn’t touch it! My 12 year old daughter on the other hand refuses to eat cheese at all – so it’s not often I get to make it anymore! Yours looks fantastic!


  4. April 28, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Love the idea behind this mac and cheese recipe. My 4 year old niece expressed her displeasure when another aunt went out of her way to make shells and cheese especially for her without the help from Kraft. She said her mommy makes the best mac and cheese referring to the Kraft crap. Kids are so funny! I too ate a lot of Kraft mac and cheese growing up unfortunately. Thanks can’t wait to try and share this recipe!


  5. April 28, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    LOL! “As the critic was away…”

    I have to admit, I did not grow up on mac and cheese. My first experience was out of the blue box, to which I grew accustomed. When I was treated to homemade mac and cheese, I did not like it at all. It was just overcooked bland pasta to my palate. I couldn’t see (nor taste) what all the fuss was about. Your recipe looks appetizing and worth trying.


  6. April 28, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    My sister lives in Provance France, and when we come to visit, it is always appreciated if we bring a couple blue boxes of mac and cheese.


  7. April 28, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Reblogged this on My Beautiful World and commented:
    This is the guy ranting in his kitchen that I referred to in an earlier post:


  8. April 28, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I, too, also grew up with Kraft Mac’n’Cheese, especially with ketchup. This is our favourite mac and cheese recipe:


  9. mbgarris
    April 28, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    I know how you feel! My boyfriend grew up with the same type of love for kraft Mac and cheese and it is definitely not the same as the good homemade stuff. At least hell branch out there and eat it when I make it homemade. 🙂 your recipe sounds quite yummy and I think I might try it next time I make Mac and cheese.


  10. April 28, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    My husband turns his nose up at my homemade mac -n- cheese in favor of Kraft as well………I’ll never understand it! But with bacon…….he may just change his mind, or at least expand his palate! Thanks.


  11. April 28, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Looks fantastic–thanks for sharing (bacon!!!), I remember turning my nose up at my mom’s homemade mac-and-cheese. Now a mom myself, I am sorry for not appreciating her extra work. The homemade stuff is so much better!


  12. April 28, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Interesting how mac and cheese has gone from the ordinary to the extraordinary, but every now and then I still like the blue box.


  13. April 28, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Looks like super comfort food to me.


  14. April 28, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    If you ever find yourself in Detroit, check out the “shells and cheese” at Slows Barbecue. It’s out of this world… my arteries are clogging just thinking about them.


  15. April 28, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    I was raised on homemade, my husband Kraft. The boys love Kraft, but recently discovered my homemade was good! Loved the post! Brought back memories–recipe looks delicious!


  16. April 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    looks delcious! 😀 We don’t have velvetta as available here in Canada unfortunately so I use gruyere and emmental instead.


  17. April 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Macaroni cheese is my 12 year old’s favourite – he will love this recipe! I sometimes add pieces of cooked chicken with the cooked bacon, maybe discretely grate some carrot and try and sneak that in or a bit of grated courgette (zuchini)…No wonder he calls me “sneaky”!


  18. April 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Love the idea of adding bacon…’cause ya know, it makes everything better!


  19. April 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Even back in the late 50s, when we walked home for lunch from our elementary school, my brother George and I could be sure that Kraft Mac&Cheese would be on the menu at least once during any week and we loved it. (Campbell’s tomato soup was another definite). Our adult kids still love it too, especially our son. My mother’s “scratch” M&C was wonderful, and I make a mean dish too; but son Ade usually won’t bother with it if I add a can of diced tomatoes (which is how Mom always made it). It’s my #1 comfort food!


  20. April 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    I love it! My days of name brand KD are over – my partner hates anything but, but then they changed their recipe for the cheese mix and he now hates it! (Yes, I’m sitting here very happy about that because now I can MAKE something – that also doesn’t taste like cardboard!)


  21. P.S. I Love Soap Co.
    April 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Fake mac & cheese vrs Real Mac & cheese..Real Mac & Cheese Will Always win….I throw seasoned bread crumbs on top of mine…and i usually add 3 different cheeses….YUMMMMM:)


  22. biggsis
    April 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I went to college with a guy who measured all monetary amounts by how many boxes of mac & cheese he could buy. He preferred the store brand, cheapest of the cheap version and turned his nose up at the better versions as well. Ah well! At least you all got to enjoy it one day!


  23. April 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    I loved my mom’s macaroni and cheese but she used cheddar cheese and eggs to thicken it and did not use crumbs of any kind. She baked it so it was a bit crispy around the edges. I have never quite been able to make mine taste like hers, but I mainly use it as the bottom part of a casserole with left over spaghetti sauce on top, and top that with parmesan before I bake it. Quick way to use left over spaghetti sauce and have a different dish. Plus, everyone–my teenage exchange students and grandson, seem to like it.


  24. April 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Kraft has tainted the taste buds of many children. Mine included. Both boys would not eat my homemade mac and cheese, my daughter just didn’t care what I fixed. They all prefered the stupid boxed junk to homemade. Wish I’d thought to add bacon. That might have worked with the boys. Most of the old recipes for mac and cheese did use a white sauce base. I always add dry mustard to mine but usually depend on cheddar cheese instead of Velveta. That is for melted “cheese” and tomato sandwiches!


  25. mainstreetmusings
    April 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Homemade mac & cheese is the best but I too live with people who prefer Kraft Dinner (what it’s called here in Canada.)


  26. April 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m afraid I grew up on the blue box, too! And when my grandma made me homemade mac, the same thing happened – I didn’t like it. Thank goodness my tastes have changed, and I’ve discovered that it really isn’t hard to make it from scratch. Who wants all those artificial colors and flavors in their bodies, anyway?


  27. April 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Too funny. Kids are amazing creatures of habit.

    I also make mac/cheese with a béchamel base (roux). Can’t imagine any other way to do it.


  28. April 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    First thanks for giving me the correctly spelling of “roux”! LOL! My mom has been starting out with a roux since she started showing me how to make it at age 13. I’ll have to try it with the corn flake crumb topping, but I can’t do without the romano/parmesan crumb topping so I’ll combine and see what happens!

    Your son sound like mine. He’s only just started eating mac and cheese in the past couple of years. (He’s 27 now.) =0)


  29. ambergravitt
    April 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    I had the exact same experience growing up–nothing but the blue box would do, and when my grandmother (a stellar cook) made the homemade mac, I was highly disappointed. Times have changed and I will pretty much eat anything that is even loosely related to macaroni and cheese. Your recipe looks yummy–especially considering I live near Chico, California, a proud little college town that Herb Caen, legendary SF Chronicle columnist, referred to as the kind of place where you find Velveeta in the gourmet case at the grocery store. 🙂


  30. Pip
    April 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    This is fantastic, I’ve never thought of using anything other than breadcrumbs before. Awesome!


  31. April 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Please. Do it again with real cheese. Velveeta is plastic fantastic. Might as well do the Kraft.


    • April 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

      I have to agree with you here. I would much rather use a “real” cheese like swiss, cheddar, mozzarella, parm, or whatever is on hand…


  32. April 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    As somebody who’s lactose-intolerant, not only am I soooo enticed by the first picture you posted on the mac ‘n’ cheese, but it looks so creamy and tempting that I might try it myself now that I’m done with school…oh gosh!


  33. April 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    that looks so tasty. a little bit of crunch with a smooth creamy texture. it taste good on the palate. thanks for sharing


  34. April 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    I do not consider mac and cheese of pretty much any kind to be a healthy part of a diet. But I do love it and the blue box comes in handy when I am in a rush. I don’t ever cook it without adding a vegetable. My vegetable of choice for mac and cheese is green bell peppers. I sautee them a bit with garlic while melting the butter.

    As I said, I consider this to a be a “pinch” food . . . when I am in a pinch for dinner.

    And the homemade stuff probably not much better health-wise, but oh-so yummy. When I make it I do the roux too! But again, I always add a veggie. Can’t bring myself to eat something so decadent with out adding a veggie to make it a little (tiny bit) nutritious. And sorry, my bloggy friend, I have to state the obvious — VELVEETA® is not cheese.

    (just read nkh1’s comment, funny!)

    I think ALL kids prefer “the box” over homemade!


  35. April 28, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    A fun post…an all american meal if there ever was one…i’d forego the crackers and instead saute as much garlic as you can stand – and i can stand ALOT – and stir that in for a kick of goodness!


  36. April 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    I think I out-do everyone with the strangest child thingy…my almost 18 yr old daughter and her friends won’t touch anything other than easy-mac chicken flavour!!! Not having had any type of mac & cheese growing up, it’s a novelty for her. I made her a home made mac & cheese to try and ween her off that “chicken” stuff and she just shrugged her shoulders and said “it’s ok…” She tried to tell me she had it for lunch the next day but our dog looked a little too happy and wouldn’t eat her biscuits!!!


  37. April 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    I had the same problem with my brothers. I made a gorgeous mac and cheese. Roux, bechamel, gruyère, mozzarella, smoked cheddar, Parmesan.

    They wouldn’t touch the stuff. It still shocks me to this day.

    Love this mac and cheese. I bet the velveeta made it really creamy.


  38. April 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    This looks fantastic! Mmmm.. love a good mac and cheese!

    My kids are the same way. They prefer the blue box over homemade and it drives me crazy!!! I don’t buy the blue box anymore, but they get it as a special treat when they visit their grandparents. 🙂


  39. April 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    Your mac & cheese looks great! I don’t think it should be a 3 meal a day staple unless your are in college. The big problem is matching a wine with it. May I suggest M D 20/20 for your dining pleasure:)


  40. April 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Raised my boys with both kinds. While the blue box was a standby, nothing beat the home made real McCoy. However, one grandson is a purist…


  41. April 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Homemade mac & cheese is def. comfort food! Use whole wheat pasta, skip the Velveeta and use less processed cheese(s), and make it healthier! mmmmmm….


  42. April 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Wow. That looks awesome. Love the cracker topping.


  43. April 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    I have to admit that I understand your son’s irrational loyalty to the Blue Box. Not only in the 90’s, but for those of us who went to unviersity in the 80’s, “KD” (Kraft Dinner) was the gold standard. In fact, when I first moved to Japan, I used to fly back every year and send myself 2 or 3 of the big bulk packs of the stuff, so strong was my addiction.

    And like your son, I refused the alternatives. Then my roomate back in Canada once gave me the KD challenge. He mixed the noodles from a box of KD and the Safeway brand 50/50, then he used the KD flavor pack on one lot, and Safeway on the other. I, of course, was blindfolded. (Yes, I trusted this friend not to take advantage of the blindness by dropping anything nasty into my food).

    The result? I picked the WRONG brand!! I was sure it was KD, but it wasn’t. Again, I trusted that he was telling the truth. Why not try a taste test on your son? While bacon may not be enough, you can probably exploit his undying loyalty for KD to have him defend his brand as the best above all. Just then pray that he chooses your home made sauce and not KD. lol


  44. April 29, 2012 at 1:24 am #

    My family call it Krap macaroni & cheese, lol.

    I love making homemade mac & cheese… Throw in a little Italian sausage, mmmmm mmmmm good!


  45. April 29, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    You mean bacon is not in its own special food group? Next you’re going to tell me that the Easter bunny and Santa Clause don’t exist. I’m heading to therapy now. Sob!


  46. April 29, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    looks delightful! I used to love the velveeta shells and cheese as a kid.


  47. April 29, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Can’t believe how much cheese is in that recipe but it looks delicious!


  48. April 29, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    True story: When my husband & I were in Florida a few years ago, visiting relatives, one of them was his nephew Joe, who happens to manage (NOT own – owner is a millionaire) one of the most exclusive, highest-rated restaurants in the state (5 stars, by whatever system it’s rated). He and his partner took us and another friend who was visiting to dinner there one night. We all ordered different sides so we could taste-share, and one of the sides that Joe said we had to get a taste of was a “lobster macaroni & cheese.” After I’d tasted it, he asked me if I liked it. Of course I did. What’s not to like? Then he asked, “Can you figure out what the secret is?” I couldn’t. He told us that his then-chef had tried all kinds of versions as he concocted the recipe but wasn’t coming up with the texture he was seeking, In the end, he was satisfied with a bit of Velveeta swirled into the already cheesy dish, which gave him what he was looking for! (And that meal, had all five of us been paying in full, surely would’ve run at least $800 to $900, or more, for the entire table. We are unlikely to ever again consume a meal in such a place!)


  49. April 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Yummy! I’m doing this one next week for lunch (need some hours to bur those calories before going to bed 😉 ) Thanks for sharing!


  50. April 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    I much prefered buffet/box mac’n’cheese to anything my Mum made – what kid can resist that bright orange gooeyness?!! 😉 Guess I like the homemade stuff better now ’cause I’m a boring grown-up! 😛


  51. April 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Why is it that the blue box is so appealing to kids?! Mine like it way better than homemade, too. They’ll eat mine, but they fuss about it. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!


  52. April 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    That looks delicious!!! Definitely going to try this!


  53. April 30, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    I spent a summer in Chicago a while back and lived with a guy who worked in the Mkting Dept in Kraft… I ate from above mentioned blue box every single day! I ate so much that I swore if I ever ate it again I’d get the Kraft logo tattoo’d on me! Will absolutely try this version though as I think my kids will love it!


  54. April 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    I have, in the past subsisted (happily, I must add) for months on Kraft Mac and cheese. I’d probably lapse into it again if it were available here. Home made does the trick too, though. Doubly so with bacon!


  55. May 2, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    My husband loves home made mac and cheese, his grandma makes it the best but I am going to have to give this recipe a try, he like your son has bacon at the top of all food groups so I am sure he will enjoy this very much!


  56. May 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    It’s funny how expectations can so taint food. I wonder if he would have liked homemade mac and cheese if it had an unrelated name….


  57. May 3, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Yours looks really good but I’d have to try it to see if it can take the place of my blue box mac & cheese.

    Costco used to carry a 12-pack of Kraft, but as with everything in that store, eventually they get rid of the name brand in favor of their own Kirkland brand. I tried the Kirkland brand. It is nasty, nasty, nasty. I still have 9 boxes to go. Yuk.

    However, I did get adventurous and put some Velveeta in the second box. Worked out much better, but still not blue box quality. The third time I make the Kirland goop, I just threw their nasty cheese away and used Velveeta. Much, much better.

    So if you ever have mac & cheese that tastes like…. (I’ll just leave it at that since this is a family site. lol), you’ll know that someone went to Costco and is trying to pass off Kirkland as Kraft, Just because they both start with a K……….


  58. May 3, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I recently posted on making a successful mac ‘n cheese without using a recipe (I have trouble cooking with a recipe)…and my Little Guy was not impressed! He prefers the blue box kind…and my Big Guy, now living on his own, eats little else! Guess it’s a popular dish the round the world!


  59. May 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    that looks delicious and very similar to my Grandma’s homemade mac and cheese, which we all love 🙂


  60. June 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    VELVEETA is squeeky cheese. VELVEETA isn’t real cheese to me. Sorry I can’t stand it.



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