Macaroni and cheese is an easy meal to toss together. People with tight budgets usually turn to the blue box on store shelves or sometimes the yellow box. Boxed mac and cheese tastes fine for the most part. But there is another way, a better way, a budget friendly slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipe.
It is easier than you may think to make a budget friendly slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipe with actual real cheese. The blue box is an easy meal. You just need the box, a tiny bit of milk, and some butter and you’ve got a meal.
But the cheese is powder and while the taste is kind of there, the healthy value is not. Sure, you will get some vitamins that have been added into the powder. But there is a healthier and more delicious way to make macaroni and cheese at home. The best part is it is a budget friendly meal.
The difference is this budget friendly slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipe is made fresh at home. You will absolutely taste the difference between the boxed mix and from scratch. There will also be far less sodium and it will taste like actual cheese.
Not to mention, you will be able to brag about the fact that your macaroni and cheese is made from scratch, not a blue, yellow, or whatever colored box.
Budget Friendly Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese Shopping List
Shopping for the ingredients is the first big hurdle we must make. The goal is to save as much money as possible. However, there is just no way we would be able to make a macaroni and cheese from scratch that is equal to or less than the price of a boxed meal.
Instead, we need to remember that this recipe is budget friendly for a homemade macaroni and cheese. Elbow macaroni will be easy, you can find that at any discount grocery store. The next stuff you will need to get is the cheese, everything else might already be in your pantry.
Tips for Saving
We priced out every ingredient in this recipe. The total price was $24.80, not including any taxes you may have to pay. However, it is important to note that you might already have some of these ingredients in your home. The first tip is to check and see what you have already and what you need to buy.
For example, you will need salt and pepper, which you may already have. That would remove about $3 from this recipe cost. So be sure to check and double check what you may already have. It is also important to keep in mind that there will be leftover ingredients.
That means you will be able to use more of these spices and cheeses in other recipes. That cuts the cost down drastically. You will spend a little over $25 but you will be able to save on the next recipe that needs paprika, milk, and cayenne pepper because you already have them.
Budget Friendly Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese Directions
Spray crockpot with non-stick spray.
Rinse uncooked pasta along with the remaining ingredients and spices to the crockpot and stir to combine.
Place the cubed butter on top spreading it around.
Cover and cook on low for one hour. Remove the lid and stir to make sure the cheese cubes are melted, and pasta is cooked.
If not done, continue to cook every 15 minutes or so until macaroni and cheese is thick and creamy.
Budget Friendly Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
1 Lb Elbow Macaroni ($0.78)
2 1/2 Cups Whole Milk ($1.69)
12 Oz Evaporated Milk ($0.94)
3 Cups Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese ($1.98)
1 Cup American Cheese ($1.39) (Singles are fine)
1/2 Cup Gruyere Cheese ($3.69)
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder ($1.29)
1/4 tsp Dry Mustard ($3.39)
1/2 tsp Paprika ($1.29)
A Dash of Cayenne Pepper ($2.39)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper ($1.99)
1 tsp Salt ($0.99)
1/4 Cup Butter ($2.99)
- Spray crockpot with non-stick spray.
- Rinse uncooked pasta along with the remaining ingredients and spices to the crockpot and stir to combine.
- Place the cubed butter on top spreading it around.
- Cover and cook on low for one hour. Remove the lid and stir to make sure the cheese cubes are melted, and pasta is cooked.
- If not done, continue to cook every 15 minutes or so until macaroni and cheese is thick and creamy. Enjoy!
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