I love macaroni and cheese. When it comes to my obsession with this dish, my reputation precedes me. I mean come on, not everyone is called upon to judge a mac and cheese cookoff. Nor does everyone write about their “favorite macaroni and cheese spinoffs.” Most people who are neutral about noodles and cheese wouldn’t dream up a hand soap based off it.
Tonight I wanted to offer my top five macaroni and cheese toppings. Of course a topping is never imperative for a dish that has no trouble standing alone but for those who want to sprinkle a little fun on their mac and cheese, I can help you out. In no particular order, here is my list…
Ritz Crackers – This suggestion is a true Brent Reser original. In my head it just occurred to me that the texture and taste of Ritz crackers would really complement macaroni and cheese. My brain was not mistaken. Take four crackers and crush them into pieces but be careful not to turn them to dust. Now sprinkle them on top of your mac and cheese. You will now have a dish with a very agreeable consistency and perfect crunch. Try it…trust me.
Parmesan cheese – Nothing better than adding more cheese to a dish with “cheese” in its name, right? That is what I am encouraging you to do here. Although most people will sprinkle parmesan cheese on their pasta, they will usually not equate mac and cheese as a pasta (which it is) and thus not even think about it. Amateurs. Grated parmesan on macaroni and cheese adds a little more flavor and a bit of beauty, but don’t take my word for it.
Rice –In college it was always a big deal when it was macaroni and cheese day in the dining hall. The stuff was AWESOME but the cheese sauce they used was very gooey. It could get pretty messy and had the tendency to stick on the roof of your mouth. My way of breaking up this stickiness was to put a scoop of white rice on the golden crack and then stir. It did the trick and tasted delicious at the same time.
Hot Dogs – I don’t think Sidney will ever let me live down the day when she came over to my apartment and I served her microwavable mac and cheese topped with chopped hot dogs. I guess it wasn’t gourmet enough for her. Hey, how can you go wrong with macaroni and cheese and hot dogs? Although I still think the combination is dynamite, I won’t be making it for any future anniversary dinners.
Hot Sauce – I have managed to stay away from hot sauce more and more over the years but I still think it goes great with macaroni and cheese. There will be times when I don’t want to add a bold flavor to my bowl but if I am in a sweating mood I won’t hesitate to add some. But if you want to do it, make sure you do it right—add Sriracha.
If you are looking for a good dinner idea on Fridays this Lenten season, consider macaroni and cheese. When you do, feel free to take a page out of my playbook and “spice it up” by using one of my recommended toppings…just as long as it is not hot dogs. Don’t Blink.