9 Quick Dinners That Start with a Box of Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Photo by bd.weld.

Turn a basic box of mac and cheese into something deliciously different! These quick, easy recipes for chili mac, pizza bake, tuna casserole, Tex-Mex mac, (and more) combine just a handful of pantry ingredients to create winning weeknight dinners. If you're looking for super-simple pantry dinners, you've come to the right place. Dig in!

01 of 10

Savory Hamburger Supper

With just a box of macaroni and cheese and cans of diced tomatoes and corn, you can turn ground beef into a quick one-dish meal. "Easy. Fast. Not a ton of dirty dishes. Kids ate it. Husband ate it. SCORE!" raves jentamu94. "We doubled it and had lots of good leftovers."

02 of 10

Quick Tuna Casserole

Photo by twee.

Meet the quickest tuna casserole ever! Feel free to 'fancy it up' topping it with fried onions, and broiling it for a few minutes. MISSWISS call it, "The quickest, easiest, and best tuna casserole I've ever made! I used frozen peas instead of canned."

03 of 10

Spicy Mac and Cheese Soup

With this recipe, you'll always have time to whip up a quick dinner. A couple of boxes of mac and cheese magically transforms into a tasty soup. Melissa Goff says, "This was a great way to use up pantry items...my family dug into it before I pulled out the sour cream. Even hubby had some and didn't say nothing about the tomatoes in it."

04 of 10

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Chicken luxuriates in ranch dressing and hot sauce and gets layered with celery and blue cheese. "What a great way to take a plain box of mac and cheese and give it that wow factor," says Sherry. "Recipe was super simple with left over chicken."

05 of 10

Shipwreck Dinner

Ground beef, packaged macaroni and cheese, and frozen veggies quickly and easily transform into a tasty, kid-friendly dinner. "I was in a pinch for a quick dinner and this fit the bill," says BETSEY1214 . "I only had individual servings of Mac and cheese so used 3 of them. Had leftover peas and carrots so used them and a can of corn, drained. No diced tomatoes so I used a can of ro-tel. My husband is a meat and potatoes man and generally doesn't like dishes like this, but he liked this one! Good meal and very quick and easy."

06 of 10

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza Bake

This simple pizza bake brings together two family-favorites: mac & cheese and pizza toppings! And it's ready in less than an hour. "We really liked this! It's a good base recipe that is easy to adjust to your personal tastes and preferences," says Rebekah Rose Hills. "I think adding in some seasoned ground beef cooked with diced onions / peppers would be a great twist and will try it again with that variation."

07 of 10

Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese

A box of macaroni and cheese combines with ground beef spiced up with taco seasoning mix. "Easy, fast, tasty and cheap!" says Kris Redell. "Who could ask for more? It is a dish that you can even dress up for company with some olives and green onions! A big winner!"

08 of 10

Spamaroni and Cheese

Spamaroni and Cheese
Spamaroni and Cheese. Jennifer Aleman

"Easy, economical comfort food, combining childhood favorites," says DustyRider. "My kids loved this when they were growing up." It's on the table in about 35 minutes. Reviewer Belinda B. says, "This was an easy and go-to casserole if you're ever in a pinch...I just tweaked it a bit by browning the Spam first, then adding Italian seasoning and diced Italian tomatoes."

09 of 10

Dorm Room Chili Mac

This dinner of boxed macaroni and cheese, a can of chili, and some shredded Cheddar come together fast. "Oh, I love this," raves C.L. "So fast, easy, and cheap! Honestly, I just use the cheapie Aldi generic brand of mac and cheese and my favorite chili. So delicious!"

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