Canned Spam Is The Simple Trick For Bulking Up Boxed Mac And Cheese

Compared to other kinds of quickly-made meals, boxed macaroni and cheese ranks high in terms of taste. Sure, the cheese often comes in a pouch and has a suspiciously bright orange color, but the best instant mac and cheese brands can make you forget it's not homemade. The only downside? They're not as filling as they were when we were kids. To bulk them up, add a touch of Spam.

Tinned Spam is made from a blend of ground pork shoulder and ham and seasoned with salt, sugar, and sodium nitrate. Thanks to its savory, sweet flavor, it's one of the few canned meats we consistently enjoy. Spam's presence in Hawaiian, Korean, and Filipino food has cemented the product as a pantry staple for us, especially when it comes to making macaroni more filling. Like crumbles of bacon to gourmet mac and cheese, Spam adds a quick umami boost to the fuss-free recipe.

To keep things simple, all you need to do is cook the pasta according to its instructions and heat your Spam. While it doesn't need to be cooked, the meat becomes richer and takes on a crispy texture when heated. Slice the Spam up and heat it in the air fryer or pan-sear the pork before adding to your cooked noodles. If you're feeling fancy, you can sprinkle in some Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes or sesame seeds and green onions.

Elevate Spam mac and cheese with these simple upgrades

The combination of Spam and instant macaroni is meant to be quick and easy, but if you have a little time to spare, baking the dish gives it a homemade feel. Cook the noodles then combine it with the cheese, chopped spam, and milk before baking for around 20 to 25 minutes at between 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You can top the meal with shredded cheddar or mozzarella for a fresher taste or emulate the cozy feel of a baked mac and cheese casserole by including panko or Italian breadcrumbs.

To truly build flavor, you'll need to start with the liquid you boil the pasta in. The directions may call for water or milk, but simmering the elbow-shaped noodles in canned soup is one of the absolute best ways to upgrade boxed macaroni and cheese. A can of cream of mushroom or cream of onion soup infuses the meal with a subtle caramelized note while thickening the dish. In the last few minutes of simmering the pasta in the sauce, pour in the fried, cubed Spam for a crispy bite.

For a bolder taste, add a dash of Vegemite to the dish. The salty Australian condiment coaxes out more flavor from the cheese, and is often eaten with Spam, as well. Fry up some slices of Spam and spread Vegemite on top before serving it with the mac and cheese.