Cheap Food Ideas | Easy Mac and Cheese Bar Recipes

I have a confession to make. I quit my job. I know, I know. It’s sudden, and I sort of leaped without thinking about where I would land. While I know I will do great things on my new journey (wherever that may take me), I will have to adjust my spending. No longer can I shop just because, purchase cute shoes, or have too many cocktails at a fancy restaurant. I have to be a bit more strategic with my spending and my budget, and the first area of my life that needs an overhaul is my grocery budget. It’s too easy to get caught up in the BOGOs, the coupons, and the sales…and then your cart is overstocked and you have way too many things that you don’t need! I still want to live a fabulous life without sacrificing taste or style, so I just will have to start looking for cheap food ideas. My first creation? An easy mac and cheese bar inspired by the flavors of Kraft!

DIY Mac and Cheese Bar Buffet

Setting up a colorful and crafty party doesn’t have to involve a big budget. There are several ways to throw a budget-friendly shindig that is still fun and tasty. I’m going to show you how to create a custom mac and cheese bar for $10 or less! Yes, seriously.

Kraft Dollar Dinner Ideas #shop

For the mac and cheese bar, I used the Kraft dinner boxes which were 1.25 each. The Koolaid was was just $1. So, my total was $4.75! I bought a bag of frozen broccoli for $1, a can of chicken for $2, shredded cheese for $2, and I used a few ingredients I had on hand. Your mac and cheese bar may look nothing like mine, but I wanted to provide a few easy suggestions and recipes to spice it up!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner #shop

I prepared three different Mac and Cheese flavors: thick and creamy, three cheese jalapeno, and garlic and herb alfredo. The original is a family favorite, but I had yet to try the other flavors. I was looking forward to mixing and matching at the mac and cheese bar to create three unique combinations.

DIY Mac and Cheese Bar

First up, a quick rundown on the extras. I used bacon bits, mozzarella, buffalo sauce, broccoli, and shredded chicken.

DIY Macaroni and Cheese Bar Party Inspiration

I prepared all three packages of mac and cheese at the same time and steamed broccoli in the microwave. Everything was “done” in 15 minutes or less. So, yes, you can have a budget-friendly party quickly! I loved how everything came out, and it was so simple.

Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

My first creation was a buffalo mozzarella mac and cheese bowl. Want the recipe? Keep reading!

Buffalo Mozzarella Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Mozzarella Mac and Cheese

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Set up a mac and cheese bar and try these different varieties!


  • Kraft Thick and Creamy Mac and Cheese Dinner
  • bacon bits
  • buffalo sauce (try Frank's brand)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Add 2 tsp of buffalo sauce to one cup of prepared mac and cheese.
  2. Top with bacon bits and mozzarella.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 478mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g

The nutritional information here is an estimate. While I try to provide accurate information via Nutritionix, this information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that it will be completely accurate. I am not a certified nutritionist and any information should only be used as a general guideline.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Another creation we made at the mac and cheese bar was this garlic and cheese delight.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese Recipe

I used one cup of the prepared garlic and herb Alfredo Kraft mac and cheese and topped with broccoli and bacon bits.

Macaroni and Cheese Bar DIY

My last creation included shredded chicken, the three cheese jalapeno Kraft mac and cheese dinner, and I topped it with shredded mozzarella.

Kraft Mac and Cheese Dinner #shop

Other mac and cheese bar essentials are small serving bowls (I had paper ones from Target that were about $2), plenty of plastic forks, milk and margarine (to prepare the mac and cheese), and plenty of cool drinks like the Koolaid Bursts.

Mac and Cheese Bar DIY

And, I do have to admit, my family enjoyed this setup. My toddler loves the soft, cheesy texture of the Kraft mac and cheese, and he enjoyed trying broccoli along with it!

Mac and Cheese Recipes

What flavors would you combine? Have you ever created a mac and cheese bar?

Cheap Dinner Ideas

Krystal | Sunny Sweet Days
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