Sunday, November 3, 2013

All About Annie's Mac and Cheese

I love macaroni and cheese, I could eat it everyday without complaint. Since I love mac and cheese so much, I often try and find ways to jazz it up. Above is an MS Paint rendering of the flavors that I have tried in the past month or so. Before I give you my opinion I think you should know a little about how I make Mac & Cheese, I seldom use milk or butter. If I use a milk product it will likely be Horizon organic half and half (1.79 for the pint at Target) , if I use butter it is Kerry Gold garlic butter ($1.99 a stick, I'll review this later). Mostly I just use Stonyfield plain yogurt. I don't use a certain amount. Each box of Mac has it's own mystical consistently based upon flavor and I find the eyeballing method is best. I even go so far as to use the utensils that we'll be eating with to mix it so I have one less utensil to wash. If I find the first dollop of yogurt was insufficient, I use other spoon to heap in the extra to keep the yogurt clean. This kind of noodle benefits most from being properly cooked. When you over cook the noodles it steals a lot of the flavor. In order to properly gauge cooking time I employ the slotted spoon and the cold water technique. Every minute or so I will steal a noodle douse it in cold water and eat it. When it is to your liking you strain and so on. The issue I find with every Annie's mac is that the powder mixes in really poorly, probably because they don't have a bunch of BS in it. It's a sacrifice I am willing to make. Now onto the flavors themselves. Left to right, top to bottom.

The Bunny Pasta is one of my all time favorites. I have along standing belief that shaped noodles make Mac taste a million times better. I believe it has something to do with surface area. The flavor is cheddar and it's much like it's processed Kraft companion a nice mild cheddar. I recommend pepper and maybe a little paprika in this one. I also thought mustard would be good if you liked such a thing, but I for one dislike mustard.

Cheesy Taco Mac, what can I say, YUM. It was made with sour cream and a little garlic herb butter, then garnished in fresh green onion. This was a hit in our house. It gave you a pretty bold taco flavor and I felt it would have benefited from some sauteed peppers and onions, and/or faux meat crumbles. It was satisfyingly junky like I was eating some Taco Bell. I realllllly enjoyed it and immediately regretted taking so long to try it. I will make up for lost time.

The Aged Cheddar and Shells is another epic flavor. I am a huge fan of a strong cheese and this flavor delivers. The noodles are really easy to keep from over cooking and offer a nice chew. This one gets my approval. I have jazzed it up using everything from green onions to zucchini.

The Organic 5-grain mac, it's not the best, their white cheese doesn't have much flavor, but if you jazz it up, it is good for you in the sense that  it's made from good for you stuff. It tastes healthy.

The Blue Box, this is the OG normal mac, it's good, but it isn't my first choice. It has a mild flavor and normal elbow noodles. If you miss Kraft this is a good bet.

Shells and White Cheddar, the white cheese in this one is better than the one in the 5 grain mac, it's not as bland, the shells offer a nice chew and the powder blends a little better than any of the others. It's pretty yum.

What's your favorite Mac and Cheese?

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