Mucho macaroni
February 13, 2011 4:39 PM   Subscribe

What do I do with an excess of macaroni?

I was rummaging through my pantry and found in the far back 20 boxes of Kraft Dinner (macaroni and cheese) which have all expired. It seems that the powdered cheese stuff is the only stuff which actually goes bad, the macaroni pasta is just fine.

I don't want it all to go to waste but at the same time I've literally never made anything with macaroni other than following the instructions on the box for mac and cheese. What tasty things can I make with macaroni? I'm looking for anything from how to make homemade cheese sauce for mac and cheese to exotic recipes that you'd never think would use macaroni.

posted by sputgop to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You can make Half-baked Fundamentalist Mac and Cheese. Seriously the most simple and delicious mac and cheese. Plus following the directions is hilarious.
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:41 PM on February 13, 2011 [20 favorites]

In honor of recent events, Koshary.
posted by jon1270 at 4:42 PM on February 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

There was a recent thread about cooking with Kraft Dinner -- many of the suggestions there should work.
posted by vorfeed at 4:44 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Macaroni as normal. When the noodles are done stir in some butter. Then stir in honey and hot sauce.

Seriously, it's good.
posted by theichibun at 4:45 PM on February 13, 2011

I really doubt that there is anything wrong with the macaroni or the cheese powder unless it's many years past its printed expiration date. Have you tried making a box and seeing how it tastes?
posted by Juffo-Wup at 4:47 PM on February 13, 2011 [8 favorites]

I like chili mac: make chili and put it on macaroni.

Also, put some on string and make a beautiful necklace.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:54 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

My dad used to combine plain cooked macaroni, salt, pepper, crushed soda crackers and grated cheese in a casserole and cook the whole thing in the oven until the crackers browned. It sounds super simple, and it is, but I'm glad one of his two meals was this one because it was effing delicious.

I've since added garlic, chicken and salsa to it, but realistically, the whole thing is crunchy, cheesy and delicious.
posted by dflemingecon at 4:54 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just make a normal b├ęchamel and stir in cheese while it's still on the heat. A mature cheddar works well. Otherwise, just make any other pasta recipe.

But seriously, I'm sure it's fine. Just eat it. Or the previous thread about Kraft Mac and Cheese was great.
posted by turkeyphant at 5:01 PM on February 13, 2011

You can buy cheese powder on its own in some bulk food stores.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:12 PM on February 13, 2011

I'd be surprised if it were possible for that packet of cheese dust to ever actually spoil. Nearly everything has an expiration date - for things like milk it matters if you eat it a year later, for things like salt it'll be safe to use 100 years after the expiration date.
posted by foodgeek at 5:21 PM on February 13, 2011

I really doubt that there is anything wrong with the macaroni or the cheese powder unless it's many years past its printed expiration date. Have you tried making a box and seeing how it tastes?

I actually thought the same thing, and I tried one box. Trust me when I say that the cheese powder goes bad. I should have realized when I poured it in and it was much browner and clumpier than normal...
posted by sputgop at 5:23 PM on February 13, 2011

I have no idea what "kraft dinner" and "cheese powder" are, but if you want to make macaroni and cheese, cook and drain the macaroni and then add velveeta and milk and a bunch of pepper.

What the hell.
posted by fritley at 5:25 PM on February 13, 2011

Elizardbits' Greasy Honky pie comes to mind. But that does call for the cheese packet... perhaps some velveeta/cheezegoop in its place?

It's been discussed in detail here before.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:37 PM on February 13, 2011

My mom used to make a very cheap, simple meal we called "jumbled hamburger," which pretty much consisted of just macaroni and ground beef, with a small amount of some seasoning like Lawry's seasoned salt or whatever cooked with the beef, and ketchup. It was one of my favorite meals as a kid, and I still like it for its simplicity and fillmeuppitude.
posted by Gator at 5:53 PM on February 13, 2011

I'd be surprised if it were possible for that packet of cheese dust to ever actually spoil.

The oil separates out and goes rancid. I don't know exactly when that happens--it may be some considerable time after the stamped-on-the-packet expiration date--but it does happen. And it is not delightful when it happens.

Curry Mac Salad.

Easy Tuna Mac.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:12 PM on February 13, 2011

Macaroni Salad of course. There are a million different ways to make it so it's really your personal preference. Just cook the macaroni, then add mayo or salad dressing. That's your start. After that season it to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, etc.) then add anything you like. Stuff that regularly makes it into my macaroni salad: chopped hard boiled eggs, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, tunafish, canned baby shrimp, mustard, olives, bacon, vinegar. Just use anything. Stir and chill. Makes a really nice lunch served on some lettuce.
posted by katyggls at 6:17 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Using the macaroni only, you have the basis for delicious tuna & macaroni salad:

3 cups cooked macaroni (about what you'd get from a single Kraft Mac & Cheese dinner)
1 12 ounce can medium or albacore tuna in water, drained of water, and flaked with a fork
1 4.25 ounce can chopped black olives
2 medium stalks fresh celery, washed, dried, and chopped fine
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or a little more/less, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or a little more table salt, to taste)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or more, to taste)
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

Prepare macaroni according to package directions (salting water for cooking macaroni recommended). Drain, rinse, and chill macaroni until cold (38 degrees F, or less).

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, and toss thoroughly with fork, until well mixed.

Serve with captain's crackers, cottage cheese, and maybe, iced tea.
posted by paulsc at 6:17 PM on February 13, 2011

American chop suey.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:23 PM on February 13, 2011

There's no reason that you can't use this as you'd use any pasta--if you like pasta and red sauce, make elbows and red sauce. If you're wild about pasta and chicken with capers and lemon, make elbows and chicken with capers and lemon.

Make lasagna casserole--cook up some onions, brown some beef or sausage, cook the noodles. Mix them together, add some ricotta and red sauce, top with shredded cheese, bake until brown. Variations include adding spinach, using tvp or chicken instead of beef, and throwing in some chopped roasted peppers.

I'm oddly fond of elbow noodles, peas, sauteed onions, butter, parmesan, and pepper.

Toast some walnut pieces in a skillet. Add a knob of butter and melt it, then sprinkle in some dried rosemary/sage/thyme. (Pick one.) Toss in some cooked macaroni, cubed cooked squash (like butternut or acorn), and spinach. Sautee for a few minutes, until the pasta and squash have little brown bits on them. Serve as is, or top it with crumbled blue cheese or shredded parmesan.

Elbows, ro-tel, cheese, beans, corn, chopped onion, and chopped peppers makes a delicious casserole, with or without chicken or beef. (If you use meat, sprinkle some taco seasoning on it.) Really, elbows are great for just about any casserole.

I've made pasta quiche before, where you grease a pie tin with butter, lay down a thick later of cooked noodles, then fill with 3 eggs + 1c milk, cheese, veggies, and maybe a little meat. Bake at 350 for about an hour. I can't say that it's gourmet dining, but it's fairly tasty and very kid friendly.

Elbows also do well in pasta salad, and there are a million variation on that--I probably have half a dozen types of pasta salad that I make regularly. (Let me know if you want recipes.)
posted by MeghanC at 7:50 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

You want to make Alton Brown's Stovetop mac and cheese. I can hardly stand the box stuff anymore (I usually skip the hot sauce, and sometimes double the evaporated milk).

Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon Spaghetti is almost criminally easy.

(I watch too much Food Network)
posted by jenlovesponies at 8:50 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

fusilli Jerry
posted by auiricle at 9:11 PM on February 13, 2011

I've eaten lots of pasta with minced garlic lightly sauteed in butter.
posted by Bruce H. at 9:16 PM on February 13, 2011

I cooked twice as much macaroni as I needed to one time -- I stuck the rest in a freezer bag and tossed it in the freezer. Later, I baked with it. Came out great.

(So if you KNOW the cheese powder is bad, there's an option for keeping the mac okay.)
posted by Heretical at 11:02 PM on February 13, 2011

After you dump the macaroni in the pot of boiling water, take a look inside the box. Find any insect larvae? I have!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:15 AM on February 14, 2011

You could make trashy kugel--baked macaroni casserole with sweet creamy add-ins, raisins if you like even. It's delish. And there's always cold mac salad, not that different in options from cold potato salad (creamy lobster roll-like, curry, German-tangy, tuna, summery fresh herbs and veggies). Or make "good" macaroni and cheese (this is debatable; I'm not a Martha Stewart-y bechamel girl myself) with homemade creamy sauce and add ins on the stovetop. Or as mentioned chili mac, which vaguely evokes Empress/Cincinnati chili.
posted by ifjuly at 1:03 PM on February 14, 2011

I made koshary for the first time last night, and heartily second the recommendation. It is like a wonderful food collage. Also excellent as leftovers, which is good, because the recipe I used, which I expected to make maybe three servings actually made six servings.
posted by Adridne at 10:52 AM on February 16, 2011

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