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about the author

 

STEPHANIE ZONIS focuses on good foods and the people who produce them.

 

 

August 2010

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Pastas

Best Macaroni And Cheese

Page 5e: Kraft Macaroni And Cheese, Part I—Microwavable Varieties

 

You are reading part of a review of 54 boxed macaroni and cheese mixes from nine different manufacturers. From here you can go to the index of all of the mac and cheese brands, go to Page 1 of the complete macaroni and cheese article or continue to the next page of reviews.

 

Kraft Macaroni And Cheese—Microwavable Varieties

Kraft is the most well-known macaroni and cheese manufacturer, and makes more than two dozen varieties of the warm comfort food. Here, we have reviews for eight microwavable varieties. Note that no milk or fat is added to any of these products.

EasyMac Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (Original)

  • Serving size: 1 package/58 grams
  • Yield when prepared: about 2/3 cup
  • Per serving: 220 calories (35 calories from fat). 4 grams total fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 700 mg sodium, less than 1 gram fiber, 6 grams protein, 8% calcium
  • Tasting notes: Sauce has a mild and somewhat salty cheese taste. Sauce initially quite thin, but thickened rapidly.

EasyMac Triple Cheese Dinner

  • Serving size: 1 package/2.05 ounces/58 grams
  • Yield when prepared: 2/3 cup
  • Per serving: 220 calories (40 calories from fat). 4.5 grams total fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 660 mg sodium, less than 1 gram fiber, 7 grams protein, 6% calcium
  • Tasting notes: Liquid went above the top of the cup while the pasta was cooking, but nothing overflowed. The sauce is very creamy but very mild, with a little cheese flavor initially. The sauce for this product is thicker than many, a plus in my book.

 

EasyMac White Cheddar

  • Serving size: 1 package/2.05 ounces/58 grams
  • Yield when prepared: about 2/3 cup
  • Per serving: 220 calories (30 calories from fat). 3.5 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, less than 5 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, less than 1 gram fiber, 6 grams protein, 6% calcium
  • Tasting notes: The sauce was quite thin, even after I let the product stand for three full minutes. Some cheese flavor.

Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (Cheddar Explosion)

  • Serving size: 1 package/56.8 grams
  • Yield when prepared: about 2/3 cup
  • Per serving: 220 calories (35 calories from fat). 4 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 580 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber, 7 grams protein, 15% calcium
  • Tasting notes: Despite my being very careful not to add water to above the Fill Line, this boiled over slightly while it was cooking. The cheese sauce, thin at first, thickened somewhat upon standing and had a little more cheese flavor than most. Pasta is in a cool spiral shape.

Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (Extreme Cheese Explosion)

  • Serving size: 1 package/2 ounces/56.8 grams
  • Yield when prepared: generous 1/2 cup
  • Per serving: 220 calories (40 calories). 4.5 grams total fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 700 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber, 6 grams protein, 8% calcium
  • Tasting notes: I turned my back momentarily during the cooking process, and the carton either leaked or overflowed when I did so. The cheese sauce in this product is of a particularly aggressive orange color. The sauce is thin initially, though it does thicken upon standing. Slight flavor of cheese and dairy. Cool pasta shapes.

Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (SpongeBob SquarePants)

  • Serving size: 1 package/54 grams.
  • Yield when prepared: generous 1/2 cup
  • Per serving: 210 calories (35 calories from fat). 4 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, less than 5 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, less than 1 gram fiber, 6 grams protein, 6% calcium
  • Tasting notes: Contains actual MSG, a rarity among the products I tried. The sauce, initially thin, thickens substantially within just a couple of minutes, but has only a slight cheese flavor to it.

Velveeta Shells & Cheese (Made with 2% Milk Cheese)

  • Serving size: 1 package/62 grams
  • Yield when prepared: generous 1/2 cup
  • Per serving: 180 calories (25 calories from fat). 3 grams total fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 640 mg sodium, less than 1 gram fiber, 7 grams protein, 10% calcium
  • Tasting notes: There’s a white powder in this cup that, according to the label, is required for proper cooking. Unfortunately, when you lift out the little packet of cheese sauce mix, the powder tends to cling to it, as well as to your fingers; this didn’t happen nearly as much in other microwavables of the same brand. Had almost a tinny aftertaste, with little cheese flavor.

Velveeta Shells & Cheese (Original)

  • Serving size: 1 package/2.39 ounces/68 grams
  • Yield when prepared: generous 1/2 cup
  • Per serving: 220 calories (70 calories from fat). 8 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 640 mg sodium, less than 1 gram fiber, 8 grams protein, 10% calcium
  • Tasting notes: The loose white powder in the carton that’s “necessary for proper cooking,” according to the label, clings to the sides of the packet of cheese sauce powder that’s removed prior to cooking. This white powder then comes off on fingers and falls into the cooked pasta when I add the packet of cheese sauce mix. The sauce here has a nice thickness and coats the pasta evenly and well, but I detected no cheese flavor at all in this product. In fact, there isn’t that much flavor, period.

 

Continue To The Next Page: Kraft Macaroni And Cheese, Part II—Deluxe & Homestyle Deluxe Varieties

Go To The Article Index Above

 

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