Mac and Cheese is a comfort food that has stood the test of time. Seriously, it’s been around since at least the 1800’s and probably even before then. Something that sticks around that long isn’t going anywhere. We all probably grew up eating the blue box mac and cheese, I know I did but there are also some awesome “grown-up” mac and cheese recipes out there. That’s not what we’re going to focus on today though. Today we’re going to focus on what to serve with mac and cheese.
Some people claim that mac and cheese is already a side dish but I’m on the fence about that. I think it can be the main dish of a meal, it just depends on what you serve with it. Lets get into the 7 tasty “side dishes” you can serve with mac and cheese.
Crispy Seasoned Potato Wedges
These potato wedges are super easy and delicious. They are crispy on the outside and stay fluffy and soft on the inside. Serve them with a bunch of different dipping sauces and you are sure to have a hit with kids and adults alike.
Get the Recipe – Crispy Seasoned Potato Wedges
Classic Vinegar Based Cole Slaw
As the name suggests, this recipe doesn’t use any mayo. This coleslaw is very tangy and very sweet. If you are a fan of slaw and especially vinegar based slaw, you have to give this one a try.
Get the recipe – Classic Vinegar Based Coleslaw
Best Potato Salad Recipe Ever
Alright, alright, I know what you’re thinking, “with a name like that,” this one better be good. Trust me, it is. Good potato salad needs to be a labor of love and this one is no different. This recipe has sweet pickles, green onions and parsley.
Get the recipe – Best Potato Salad Ever
So traditionally, you might consider ribs the main course of the meal and mac and cheese the side dish but hey, no need to get technical here. This is a simple rib recipe that anyone can pull off. Country style pork ribs, a simple rub, some BBQ sauce, some time in the smoker and you got it. Plus, ribs and mac and cheese are a classic BBQ pairing.
Get the recipe – Redneck Ribs
Fully Loaded Dirty Chips
Don’t let the name fool you, these are delicious. Sliced potatoes, cheese, bacon, green onions, sour creme, what’s not to love? This is classic bar food but even better. Mac and cheese, fully loaded dirty chips and a beer. Just like a Friday night out at a bar with classic bar food but you’re at home.
Get the recipe – Fully Loaded Dirty Chips
Kick Ass Cowboy Cauliflower
Want to turn up the dial on your mac and cheese dinner? This bold and smokey roasted cauliflower will the trick. It has just the right amount of heat for all you spicy flavor lovers out there too.
Get the recipe – Kickass Cowboy Cauliflower
Grilled Blackened Shrimp Skewers
Who doesn’t love skewers hot off the BBQ? They’re usually a simple recipe and are awesome on a hot summer night. This recipe is no different. Shrimp, blackened seasoning, some lime, olive oil and you have yourself an awesome dish. Shrimp skewers and mac and cheese. Sounds like a good weekend dinner to me.
Get the recipe – Grilled Blackened Shrimp Skewers
Mac And Cheese Side Dishes
I guess I will admit that a couple of those recipes above might fall into the main dish category and push the mac and cheese down to the side dish. The ribs and the shrimp skewers come to mind. Either way though, the goal here was to get us all thinking about what we can serve with mac and cheese. It doesn’t have to be some fancy protein dish that you spent hours on smoking or grilling it. Sometimes a simple dish to go along with it can be just as good. So next time mac and cheese is on the menu, keep the recipes above in mind. They’re all sure to be winners in your household.
The Best Cheeses For Mac And Cheese
The best cheese to use for mac and cheese is a cheese that will melt consistently and become creamy and smooth. There are a lot of cheeses out there but a few cheeses are the tried and true favorites for mac and cheese lovers everywhere.
Cheddar cheese originated in England sometime around the 12th century and is now one of the most popular cheeses in the world. The U.S. alone produced 3 billion, yep billion with a b, pounds of cheddar cheese in 2014 alone. Cheddar cheese usually comes in three different varieties, sharp, medium and mild. Your taste and sensitivity to the sharpness of the cheese will determine which on you want to use in your mac and cheese. Medium is always a good place to start though. Due to the low melting point of cheddar cheese it requires less heat to create the creamy smooth texture we are all used to in mac and cheese.
Gouda cheese originated in the Netherlands in the 12th century. Gouda isn’t as popular as cheddar cheese but it is still a great cheese to consider for mac and cheese. Along with cheddar, it has a relatively melting point which makes it ideal for mac and cheese. If you want an added kick, try using smoked gouda.
Creme cheese is pretty young as far as cheeses go, originating sometime in the 1800s. Unlike most cheeses, creme cheese is meant to be consumed fresh. Creme cheese is a good “base” cheese for mac and cheese but will need to be paired with another cheese while making mac and cheese.
Parmesan cheese is a great cheese to sprinkle on top of your mac and cheese when you are about ready to serve it. Parmesan is aged at least 12 months and is harder in texture than most cheeses. It has a high melting point, around 180 degrees. If you are going to use it in mac and cheese, make sure it is mixed in well or placed on top where it will be exposed to more heat.