Budget Meals: Easy Mac Recipes

Do you remember the last time someone prepared you a homemade batch of baked mac and cheese? Macaroni and cheese is a comfort food that reminds you of simpler times-- before final exams and student loans. And while your pocket book and your schedule may not allow for fancy cheeses or hours spent waiting for the oven, you probably have a package or two of Easy Mac tucked away in a cupboard or drawer somewhere. Find one, and get cooking!

Easy Mac and Cheese Recipes

Many budget recipes for students require a full kitchen. For the following dishes, all you will need is a microwave, mini-fridge, knife and five or less ingredients. Easy Mac is available in a variety of flavors including: Original, Alfredo, Cheesy Taco, Cheesy Pizza, Three Cheese, and White Cheddar. While many of the recipes below call for specific flavors, any variety of Easy Mac may be substituted into any given recipe.

Good Morning, Mac


Before a big exam it’s crucial to make sure your fully fueled. In just a few minutes, this recipe will fill you up and prepare you for whatever the day might bring.

1 package Original flavored Easy Mac

Bacon bits

One microwave-prepared egg

Pepper to taste

  1. Crack 1 egg in a microwave-safe bowl and scramble with a fork. Cover the bowl and cook on high in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir the egg to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked.
  2. Prepare Easy Mac as directed on the packaging.
  3. Stir scrambled egg into Easy Mac.
  4. Add bacon bits and pepper to taste.


The Mac Daddy

Who says low-budget meals need to be boring? Get late-night pizza taste without waiting for the delivery guy or spending money you don’t have. Check out this recipe where supreme pizza meets macaroni and cheese for a taste explosion worthy of its name, “Mac Daddy.”

1 package Cheesy Pizza flavored Easy Mac

Ten pepperonis, diced

1 tablespoon onions, chopped

2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped

Crushed red pepper to taste

  1. Place onions and green pepper in microwave-safe bowl with a little bit of water. Cover and cook on high for one minute.
  2. Dice pepperonis and set aside.
  3. Prepare Easy Mac as directed on the packaging.
  4. Mix ingredients together.
  5. Add crushed red pepper to taste.


Make any day of the week Taco Tuesday! Unlike most low budget meals, this south of the border concoction wakes up your taste buds. Top it with salsa or sour cream if you have some on hand.

1 package Cheesy Taco flavored Easy Mac

5 black olives, diced

1 tablespoon onions, chopped

½ can diced chicken

Sour cream and/or salsa to taste (optional)

  1. Place diced chicken in microwave. Heat for one minute.
  2. Dice black olives and onions.
  3. Prepare Easy Mac as directed on packaging.
  4. Add sour cream and/or salsa to taste.

Ham and Che-easy Mac

Dress up your mac and cheese a sweet and surprisingly good treat. The pear in this recipe makes it a French foodie-inspired treat, but without the expensive price tag. Double the recipe for your next date night.

1 package Triple Cheese flavored Easy Mac

¼ cup ham lunch meat, diced

¼ cup fresh pear, diced

  1. Dice pear and place in microwave-safe container with a little bit of water. Cook for 1 minute. Drain any excess water.
  2. Dice ham.
  3. Prepare Easy Mac as directed on packaging.
  4. Mix ingredients and enjoy!

Mac of the Sea

Tuna is an inexpensive way to get your protein. This creamy three-ingredient recipe is an easy and tasty way to keep your stomach and your wallet full.

1 package Alfredo flavored Easy Mac

½ can of tuna in water

Dash of celery salt

  1. Drain tuna.
  2. Prepare Easy Mac as directed on package.
  3. Stir in tuna and celery salt.

Reuben’s Mac 

Be Irish for a day. Use some leftover lunch meet and some sour kraut from your last tailgate party to put together a tasty treat.

1 package White Cheddar flavored Easy Mac

¼ cup corned beef, diced

2 tablespoons sour kraut

  1. Dice corned beef.
  2. Prepare Easy Mac as directed on package.
  3. Mix Easy Mac, corned beef and sour kraut.

BMT (Bacon, Mac ‘n Tomato)

No bread? No problem. This Easy Mac recipe is ike a BLT… only better.

1 package Original flavored Easy Mac

Bacon bits to taste

¼ cup diced tomatoes

  1. Dice tomatoes.
  2. Prepare Easy Mac as directed on package.
  3. Add tomatoes and bacon bits to macaroni.

Buffalo Mac

Spice up your lunch or dinner routine by combining two college student favorites—wings and macaroni and cheese.

1 package Alfredo flavored Easy Mac

2 tablespoons Frank's® RedHot® Buffalo Wings Sauce

½ can of chicken

¼ packet powdered ranch dressing

  1. Mix canned chicken and Frank buffalo sauce.
  2. Heat chicken mixture in covered, microwave-safe dish for one minute.
  3. Prepare Easy Mac as directed on package.
  4. Stir in ranch dressing mix until completely dissolved.
  5. Mix in buffalo chicken.

Eating on a budget is easy to do if you can keep meals interesting. Try one of these recipes or experiment and make your own. You’ll save time and money and test your own creativity.

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