So I am not a big fan of boxed Mac and Cheese, but I'm also pretty lazy/short on time, and today I was craving mac and cheese bad, but didn't have the time to make a white sauce and bake it and all that jazz before I had to start working. This is my compromise~
1 box Mac and Cheese (I actually loathe Kraft and will buy any store's generic over it)
1/4 cup butter
2 T milk + 2 T half and half/cream
1 slice Swiss Cheese
2-4 T shredded parmesan
red pepper flakes
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 T butter
Bring your water to boil and add salt and macaroni. My box said to cook 7-9 minutes, but it was done to my liking at 5.
While that is coming to boil, mix Panko and 1 T butter in small microwave safe bowl. Cook on high in microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Cook and stir in 10 second intervals until as brown as you like. 50 seconds total worked for me in my microwave.
Drain pasta and return to pan, turn heat to low. Add cheese sauce packet, butter and milk/cream. *Cook over low heat, stirring until sauce thickens. Add swiss cheese and parmesan and continue to cook and stir. If it sounds/looks like it's getting too hot move it off the heat for a bit and then put it back. As soon as the cheese is melted and yummy stringy looking you are done!
Season with black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste and top your bowl with the browned Panko bread crumbs. Almost homemade tasting mac and cheese in <15 minutes!
*When I was little, we never cooked the sauce and it was always runny and gross. We just added the butter and milk and sauce pack and mixed it together in the pan with the heat turned off, the butter melted from the heat of the pasta but never thickened. Possibly that's why i think boxed mac and cheese is kinda gross. Or maybe it just is.