I don’t know how much stock you put into food holidays, but today (July 14, 2015) is National Macaroni and Cheese Day. I bet that made you sit up, take notice, and maybe even start drooling a little bit. Admit it; as far as food holidays go—today celebrates the mother of all comfort foods. Mac and cheese…just say those three gooey words and you’ll instantly crave the complex cheesy layers and limitless pasta options.

So let’s celebrate the emblematic American side dish with a few unique preparations of the classic comfort dish…

 

1. Creamy Gruyere, White Cheddar, and Parmesan Mac and Cheese

If classic cheddar just doesn’t cut it all on it’s own—try adding a bold combination of freshly grated Parmesan and sharp, tangy Gruyere cheese to the mix. Gruyere melts oh-so-fine and adds an aromatic edge to buttery breadcrumbs, white cheddar, whole milk, dried mustard, and elbow macaroni.

Creamy-Gruyere-White-Cheddar-and-Parmesan-Macaroni-and-Cheese-466x700

Source: SolidGoodEats.com

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2. Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese

For the blue cheese lovers out there—you know it’s mold but you don’t care—so props! Banish a day of the blues by folding a thick and creamy concoction of buttermilk blue cheese and gorgonzola crumbles, freshly grated Fontina cheese, panko bread crumbs, fresh herbs, flour, and whole milk into a casserole dish with elbow macaroni and baking until golden brown and crispy on top.

bluecheesemac-2-2

Source: HowSweets.com

3. Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese

You don’t have to decide between meaty vs. cheesy goodness when you can have both in one bowl! This pulled pork mac and cheese is proof that you can find gourmet harmony. Mingle the smoky barbecued goodness of succulent pulled pork with the simple tang of sharp old cheddar cheese.

pulled-pork-mac-and-cheese-30

Source: NutmegNanny.com

4. Lobster Mac and Cheese

Add some decadence to your classic macaroni and cheese recipe by adding tender chunks of cooked lobster meat. You can also up the cheese ante by incorporating an array of aromatic white cheddar cheese, velvety Brie cheese, shredded

gruyere cheese, and shredded fontina cheese. Bake with a butter and crushed Ritz cracker topping and make the excuse to stay in and snuggle while you nosh on the couch with your sweetie.

lobster

Source: Tablespoon.com

5. Skinny Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Let’s face facts. Mac and cheese, albeit delicious, is not the healthiest meal you can make—especially during swimsuit season. However, when you prepare this guilt-free version, you can have your comfort food with the goodness of veggies too! Just be sure to use lower fat ingredients—like reduced fat sour cream, low fat milk, and low fat cheeses—like Parmesan, sharp cheddar, and Gruyere—and fill your dish full of fibrous cauliflower florets.

cauliflower

Source: DamnDelicious.net

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6. Spicy Sausage and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

For a truly warming comfort dinner that can double as lunch the following day, try blending pureed pumpkin into your classic mac and cheese. This comfort dish is spiced with fragrant sage, fiery Italian sausage, whole milk, flour, and tangy cheddar (or mix half cheddar with Fontina or Gruyere). Mix all uncooked ingredients with al dene cellentani (or elbow) pasta and bake in a casserole dish for 20-minutes until the sauce bubbles over and the aroma envelopes your kitchen.

sausage pumpkin

Source: theViewfromGreatIsland.com

7. Mediterranean Mac and Cheese

Infuse classic macaroni and cheese with the sunny and savory flavors of the Mediterranean. The classic comfort casserole gets a lift from fresh tomatoes, pitted Kalamata olives, dried oregano, fresh garlic cloves, and tangy goat feta cheese, and a can of tuna. Pour over pasta, top with more feta, and cook to golden brown and bubbly.

med mac_cheese_vert

Source: Martha Stewart

8. Beer Mac and Cheese

This memorable cheese sauce is made with 3 simple yet show-stopping ingredients—cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and beer! Take time to pair your hard cheese and beer perfectly. For instance, try not to overpower your cheese with a heavy, dark beer. Instead, whisk a crisp, light, easy-drinking IPA with an easy-melting cheese (i.e., block cheddar) until you get a smooth sauce. Then fold into cooked macaroni and add crumbled bacon pieces.

beer-mac-and-cheese-3

Source: aSpicyPerspective.com

Anna

Anna adores cooking, drinking wine, and listening to records, but she does a lot of yoga to balance things out ;) This explains the black bean brownie disaster of 2007 (don't bring that up). She's noshed in countries like Greece, Turkey, France, Ireland, Costa Rica, and numerous other weird, yummy places that will get her waxing all poetic about her favorite recipes.

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