“boxed” mac & cheese flavor goes uptown

macaroni and cheese

Ah, Kraft Dinner… my secret craving that I haven’t given in to in quite a while.  Of all the macaroni and cheese dishes I’ve eaten ~ although delicious in many flavors, shapes and forms ~ nothing compares to that little box of orange powdery goodness.

As an Italian-American, it’s probably blasphemous for me to say that that box contains one of my all-time fave “pasta” dishes.  But with my dietary morals preventing me from buying the box… what to do?

Enter Cabot Cheddar Powder.  By the famous New England farm-owned company, this sharp white cheddar powder is very pure; it has a touch of dry buttermilk and not much else.  To me it’s just like the orange stuff only better.  So here is a dressed-up version of my old boxed favorite.


  • 1 to 1-1/2  pounds small-shaped pasta, cooked
  • 2  sticks butter
  • 1  pint cream
  • 1  pinch each s&p
  • 10  or so grates fresh nutmeg
  • 1   8-ounce jar Cabot Cheddar Powder {or similar}
  • 1/2  cup pasta water on reserve


  • In a medium stockpot, cook pasta according to brand directions
  • Remove a small mugful of the water, then drain pasta, cover and set aside
  • Return empty pot to stove and, over medium-low heat, add the butter
  • Stir nutmeg and s&p into melting butter
  • Whisk in cream, then cheddar powder about 1/3 at a time
  • Continue to whisk until all lumps are dissolved; taste and, if desired, thin with some pasta water
  • Add pasta back into pot and stir well to completely coat and mix thoroughly

mac & cheeseThe tangy twangy sharpness is just like the boxed taste I remember.  And it didn’t take any longer to prepare than that convenience-version.  Of course additions can be made, but I really wanted to replicate this certain flavor.  The pasta brand I buy is slightly over a pound, at 17.6 ounces or 500 grams, and I like it saucy so this amount of sauce was perfect.  But it could probably suit as much as  1-1/2 pounds of pasta, depending on personal taste.

I used the orecciette shape; I’m sure it would be great with penne, fusilli or the classic elbow.

11 comments on ““boxed” mac & cheese flavor goes uptown

  1. It’s hard to admit to foodie friends that I still like KD…. I usually cook half the box and use all of the cheese powder…. Is that wrong?

  2. Karen says:

    I love Cabot cheese but have not seem the powder. Where in the market would you find it…near the pasta?

    • hi karen, thanks for visiting ~ if you click on the “cabot” link in the post it will take you to their website, where you can purchase the powder online. if you don’t live in the new england area, it might not be available to you in stores.

      there are other cheddar powders available, at king arthur flour’s website as well as on amazon.

      • Karen says:

        I will go on their website…thank you. I do live in New England, our home is in New Hampshire and we have a summer cottage in Maine.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I have been really enjoying your blog so I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! – here is the link:

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