14 Family Friendly Mac and Cheese Hacks

With five children, each one a couple years apart, we always have at least one kid going through a “mac n cheese phase”. Right now, it’s our four year old who will wake me up at seven o’clock in the morning and announce “Mom, I want mac n cheese for breakfast”.

Over the past few years we’ve learned a few tricks to turn a box or two of mac n cheese into a delicious meal that’s more than pasta and cheese. Check out these mac n cheese additions that are sure to make you feel a little better about serving this cheesy pasta dish.




Ham (Turkey or Chicken too!)








Butternut Squash







Spinach and Artichoke






From The Country Cook




From Mom’s Messy Miracles

Taco Seasoning



From The Girl Who Ate Everything



From Adventures in Cooking

I’m sure you have a few of your own mac and cheese hacks. What are your favorites?



Bacardi Rum Cake Recipe

Rum Cake Recipe

My stepdad’s birthday was yesterday and my mother had a very special dinner planned for him. Of course, that included his favorite cakes, one of which is his mother’s rum cake. Since my mother knew that I enjoyed baking she gave me the duty of baking this beautiful rum cake and me and the Monsters helped bake a plain white cake as well (another of his favorite cakes).

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Peaches and Creme Crescents

Peaches and Creme Crescents

Peaches are hands down my favorite fruit. They are tender and sweet and FUZZY! I wish I could have fresh peaches all year round but I can’t stand the idea of eating canned fruit. However, my husband and I recently found some new glass jarred fruits in our grocery store and I was amazed at how fresh they tasted. I just had to make something with them! So I pulled a few things from our fridge and came up with these.

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Red Velvet Oreo Brownies!

Red Velvet Oreo Brownies!

Even though they’re made from a boxed cake mix this sinfully delicious treat has the buttery texture of a to-die-for brownie. Whatever you want to call them they are perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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Vegan Baked Apples Recipe

Vegan Baked Apples Recipe

My sister is a hardcore vegan. In fact, she just finished a fast where she drank nothing but salt water to detox her system. Even though her diet may come off as complicated, as an ex-vegetarian I completely understand where she is coming from and I find inspiration in her diet restrictions to make creative dishes our whole family can enjoy. This one, however, was a delicious snack my husband came up with!

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Once a Month Meals- Crockpot Cranberry Chicken

Once a Month Meals: Crockpot Cranberry Chicken Recipe

One of our other favorite meals from Take One of our Once a Month Meal try was this Cranberry Chicken. At first I was a little wary of putting this together because there were only five ingredients and one of them was Catalina dressing! I mean, who would have thought to put that on chicken? But whoever came up with that was smart because this turned out awesome! Continue reading

Spicy Cheddar Dip

Heart Shaped Soft Pretzels with Himalayan Pink Salt

I made this spicy cheddar dip to go along with our Soft Pretzels. It has a bit of a spice to it because of the Creole seasoning, but you can always omit that from the recipe. If you do, you may need to salt to taste. This dip is also really good on sandwiches, eggs, potatoes and other yummy foods!

Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2-3  cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 to 2 tsp Creole Seasoning

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until blended, and butter has turned a light, golden brown. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Stir in cheeses until smooth and all of the cheese has melted. Season and serve.

Heart Shaped Soft Pretzels with Himalayan Pink Salt and Cheese Dip Recipe

Heart Shaped Soft Pretzels with Himalayan Pink Salt

 Soft Pretzels with Himalayan Pink Salt and Cheese Dip Recipe

I love soft pretzels. I remember as a kid standing and watching the employees at Auntie Annie’s twist that dough into a pretzel so fast I couldn’t keep my eyes on them. It was amazing! This recipe is reminiscante of Auntie Annie’s but with a more homemade taste! Most soft pretzel recipes call to be topped with Kosher salt, but if you haven’t tried Himalayan Pink Salt yet you really need to. It has a unique flavor and natural pink coloring that was perfect for these heart shaped pretzels. This would make a great Valentine’s Day lunch and twisting the dough would be a fun project to do with the kids!

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