Pros: In just four minutes you can have a hot snack! And no pot to clean!
Cons: Doesn't taste as good as the other mac & cheese products.
I love macaroni & cheese. All kinds. Home-made, frozen, or from a package. They all taste different, and I like them all.
One of the easiest ways to make a quick mac & cheese snack is with Kraft Easy Mac. The box I just bought says it's the "Extreme Cheese" version, and that it now has "more flavor, smoother cheese sauce". I've had the original Easy Mac so I'll be curious to see how this one compares. Will it be more flavorful? Will it be smoother? For the sake of an accurate Epinions review, I will make the sacrifice, and submit myself as the taste subject. Read on for the results.
So what is Easy Mac?
It's a quick way to make a single serving of mac & cheese. Each serving is 3/4 cup - enough for a kid's meal or a quick snack. This stuff is really easy to make. There are two envelopes per serving. One contains elbow macaroni, the other contains the cheese mix. Pour the macaroni into a 2-cup microwavable bowl. Add 2/3 cup of water. Microwave, uncovered, on high, for 3.5 to 4 minutes. When finished, the bowl and the macaroni will be HOT. There might still be some water left in the bowl. That's OK. Simply stir in the contents of the cheese sauce packet, then stir well. Even if the sauce seems a bit watery, the directions clearly state NOT to put it back in the microwave. Just leave it standing, it'll thicken.
The directions say that you can add a tablespoon of milk and a teaspoon of margarine if you want "extra creamy" mac & cheese. I don't need any more fat or calories than this product already has, so I'll make it following the original instructions. Speaking of fat and calories, this isn't the lightest snack I could make. Each serving contains 230 calories, 4g of fat, and 520mg of sodium.
So how does it taste?
Well, I let it stand for several minutes before eating. There were two reasons for this. First of all, it was VERY hot. Those 4 minutes in the microwave really do a number on it! The second reason is that the sauce really does continue to thicken, the longer you leave it out. While the box doesn't state an amount of time, I suggest leaving it for 5 minutes. The sauce will be nice and thick, and you won't burn your mouth.
Bearing in mind that this is the "Extreme Cheese" version, I have to say that the sauce is neither "smoother" nor "more flavorful" than the original Easy Mac. In fact, I'd say that it looks and tastes the same as the original Easy Mac. I like the taste, but it's not as good as the old-fashioned boxed macaroni (the kind where you have to boil the macaroni, then add the cheese and other ingredients). But, still, this isn't bad. I would rate it as "pretty good but not great" mac & cheese.
On the other hand, its simplicity gains it some points in my house. There are times where you just want a very quick snack with no hassle. Especially when you only need one serving at a time, this is a very convenient product. And kids who are old enough and responsible enough to use the microwave (and know to use pot holders!!!) can make this snack themselves, without having to use the stove.
I usually have a box of this stuff on hand, for convenient, hot snacks. Each box contains 6 servings. The boxes are sold individually in grocery stores, or in bulk in places like Sam's Club and Costco. They're simple! Kids can make them. Husbands can make them. And, yes, even though I CAN make the other kind, this is so much easier! Lazy of me, I know, but this product gets 3 stars for its taste, 4 stars for being so convenient.