As the plate of golden perfection was placed in front of me, I was mesmerized. My mouth watered and my soul danced. I quickly raised my fork to my mouth shoveling down spoonful after spoonful of the warm deliciousness known as “The Blue Box: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese”. I had what they called “the blue box blues”. It was then that my everlasting love of Mac & Cheese began.
Yes, I’ve loved mac & cheese since I was a youngster, but a lot have changed since then. For example, now I don’t take pleasure in eating mac & cheese with powdered “cheese”. Nevertheless, with my hectic schedule, I rarely have the time to throw down in the kitchen and create praise worthy mac & cheese. So I often shamefully indulge in crappy box mac & cheese to satisfy my cravings.
I’ve set out to find a mac & cheese that I’m not ashamed of. I’m looking for something simple and quick that I won’t mind preparing after a 12-hour work day, but also something more adult. A dish that not only tastes good when it’s freshly cooked, but one that can be refrigerated and enjoyed for lunch the next day.
Despite my desire for a quick fix, I do not want to completely disregard the nutritional value. After all, the days I could eat unconsciously without going up a pants size are far gone. So in this, and my upcoming blog posts, you’ll get to enjoy me review numerous types of store bought mac & cheese discussing the cooking time, ingredients, and taste – both fresh and reheated.
First up is, you guessed it, the blue box! Well maybe not the one you’re thinking about, but Kraft makes a blue box mac & cheese without cartoon shaped noodles and powered cheese, to appeal to a more mature crowd.
This one is called “Deluxe”, sounds luxurious already. In this box, they have also given us more cheese sauce AND bigger macaroni – you excited yet, because I am. But the best part is it’s “made with real cheese”!
Hold on a second, if this is made with real cheese why is it sold in the pasta aisle instead of with the rest of the real cheese in the refrigerator aisle? Now I’m a little concerned.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients. I consider myself a fairly educated woman and I don’t know what half this stuff is. So I’ve taken the liberty of looking up the ingredients in the cheese sauce. The noodle ingredients don’t frighten me as much as whatever they’re passing off as “cheese” that miraculously lasts for years without refrigeration. I don’t want to bore you and go through every single ingredient on the list, so I won’t be touching those ingredients that the product “contains less than 2%” of.
Whey, Milk, Canola oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, salt and Whey Protein Concentrate are main ingredients of this “cheese sauce”. Interestingly enough, these ingredients don’t compare to the ingredients listed in Kraft’s refrigerated cheddar cheese.
The cook time on this was approximately 15 minutes from start to finish, no heavy lifting involved. The creamy consistency and the taste were pretty good for a boxed mac & cheese. Don’t expect rich robust flavor but it’s worth the $2.50 I paid for it.
How’s reheating? Horrible. After 1 minute in the microwave you get something that looks and taste similar to plastic, disappointing.
Overall, taking into consideration the preservative filled ingredients, bland tastes, and the poor reheating ability, this mac & cheese leaves a lot to be desired.