I have been "saving" this macaroni and cheese for a really long time. For some reason, I had built it up in my mind to be the best thing I'd ever eaten. My mom has this recipe that takes like 5 hours to make and involves about 7 different cheeses and a ton of cream and who knows what else, and I was anticipating that this would be better than that. Perhaps I was hoping beyond hope, but, I mean, it comes with breadcrumbs and everything. They've also been marketing very aggressively toward adults, which I took as a sign they were attempting to do something very different than their previous products.
The preparation, while not as arduous as a legitimate homemade mac and cheese dinner, was nonetheless more involved than your typical prepared dinner. You have to prepare the pasta, then mix the "Special Seasoning" packet with butter, then add milk and cheese sauce and cook that before adding pasta. Then there's an optional oven finish, in which you put shredded cheese (not included) and bread crumbs (included) on top and bake at 425 degrees for a few minutes. I obviously did this, since I figured I had already come this far and might as well make it as good as possible.
It actually looked like this at one point. And I was scared.
They tell you to stir the pasta into the sauce, and at first when it looked like this I was worried there wouldn't be enough cheese for the macaroni.
But there was!
Out of the oven.
Flavor: 4/5. So when I stole a bite or ten before adding the breadcrumbs, it was pretty solid, but definitely still had a strong "artificial" taste. You know the one – where it doesn't taste bad, but you can definitely tell it's not real cheese. Not that I'd expect anything less from Kraft, but it certainly wasn't "Homestyle" unless your home is the Velveeta factory.
Consistency: 5/5. Creamy and, while I was worried there wouldn't be enough sauce for all the pasta, there definitely was.
Pasta Shape: 3.75/5. I like the elbows, and the ridges were a nice touch, but the whole time I was wishing they were shells or something similar. Elbows bore me. Personal preference.
Overall: 4/5. I really, really wanted this to be perfect. I wanted to genuinely be able to say that I've found a new supermarket mac and cheese that tastes like the real thing. Unfortunately, this isn't it. It's certainly not bad, but for the amount of effort you have to put in I would say it's probably not worth it. Just throw some bread crumbs on top of Velveeta and call it a day in about half the time.
Nutrition Information: Serving Size 3 oz (about 1/4 package), prepared. 340 Calories, 120 Calories from Fat; 8g Fat, 2.5g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat; 15mg Cholesterol; 690mg Sodium; 41g Carbohydrate; 1g Fiber; 3g Sugars; 10g Protein.