In the past year since the pandemic began, I know many of us have had to become more resourceful when it comes to meal planning. Between cooking more meals at home, working with what we could find at the grocery store when the shelves were bare and learning to stock the pantry when we could, the past 12 months have certainly taught us a lot about food.
Even though I am a weekly grocery shopper, I always keep some things stocked in my kitchen, and one that I can depend on finding in the back of the cupboard no matter what, is elbow macaroni. Not only is it one of the most economical staples you can find, there are so many things you can do with it. From simple casseroles, to hearty pasta suppers and creamy macaroni salads, those tried-and-true elbows are a busy home cook’s best friend. So, I rounded up 45 of the best elbow macaroni recipes for the next time you find yourself with an extra box on hand.
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When you launch the gallery you will find some things you probably expect to, but also some great new ideas for those classic elbows. My Mom’s Goulash has been a family favorite around here for four generations. There is a Homemade Hamburger Helper that will bring back all the childhood feels. The Cajun Pasta Salad would liven up your next burger night and the Budget Hamburger Casserole can save you some extra pennies. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget everyone’s favorite way to use elbow macaroni…mac and cheese of course! I’ve found Homemade, NO-Boil, Baked and Creamy Stove Top versions. I even brought my Mac and Cheese Cupcakes for hands friendly, no spoon required, fun!
Related: 20 Best Instant Pot Mac and Cheese Recipes
Looking for something to pack in your lunch all week? We love the Tuna Macaroni Salad so much we eat it year round, and I came up with a chicken version too! Both would be perfect in your lunch box for you, or the kids. I even found a couple soups with macaroni in them for those cold winter nights when you need something warm and comforting. There are plenty of easy casseroles for those busy weeknights, and even a great “fancier” meal with the sausage and white bean ragout.
In my local grocery stores I can usually find a one-pound box of elbow macaroni for a dollar or less. Talk about being able to stretch a buck! With these classic, new and unique recipes I have so many reasons to stock up and make sure the pantry always has a box just waiting on me.
Up next, 15 baked pasta recipes you’ll want seconds and thirds of.
Krista Marshall is the creator of Everyday Mom’s Meals and a full time stay at home mom. She lives in northern Indiana with her husband of 17 years and their two amazing and busy sons, age 16 and 4. Everyday Mom’s Meals is for everyone from the novice cook to the experienced home chef. Krista wants to get families around the table with simply made, delicious food. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter too!