My family and I have been eating deluxe Mac and Cheese for some time now. Everyone is a fan of the taste but I have never been a fan of the ingredients or nutrition facts. Honestly, if it were up to me I would choose to make macaroni and cheese from scratch. Unfortunately, I believe that I have only done this once in my life, so I guess that you could say that I am a fan of the convenience that comes with the deluxe macaroni and cheeses that are available, or any box macaroni and cheese for that matter. Still, I understand why so many people like the creamy taste that comes with the deluxe version, and the fact that when preparing it you do not have to measure any butter or milk. I was hoping to find a healthier alternative though, so we decided to try Annie’s Homegrown Creamy Deluxe Elbows and Four Cheese Sauce.
I am a big fan of the Annie’s Homegrown brand and even tried their Deluxe Shells and Real Aged Cheddar and Deluxe Whole Wheat Shells and Extra Cheesy Cheddar Sauce before. We were quite pleased with these two products and so I was eager to try the Annie’s Homegrown Creamy Deluxe Elbows and Four Cheese Sauce. We had been getting a cheap deluxe macaroni and cheese that was a store brand from the grocery store we frequent. Normally, I am all about analyzing the ingredients and nutrition facts of what we eat but I knew without even looking that boxed cheese could not be that great for you. So honestly I was a little afraid to review the ingredients of it, but thought that a comparison was necessary to determine how good or how bad the Annie’s Homegrown macaroni and cheese was for us. I figured since it was natural it would be a world better for us. It turned out that this natural macaroni and cheese was pretty good for us.
In one cup of Annie’s Homegrown Creamy Deluxe Elbows and Four Cheese Sauce, or about a third of the whole box prepared was 310 calories with 80 calories from fat. This may sound high but it was actually 80 calories with 50 calories less than what we were getting with the store brand. There was 650 milligrams of sodium, 170 milligrams less, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams less, 2 grams of fiber and sugars each, and 12 grams of protein grams, 4 grams less. I’ll admit that the reduced amount of protein was not a positive thing, but I would rather lose a little protein than to gain more calories, sodium, and carbohydrates. Oddly enough the vitamins and minerals section revealed that the natural macaroni and cheese offered six percent for vitamin A, two percent less, four percent less for iron, six percent less, and no vitamin C or Folic Acid as opposed to ten percent and thirty percent respectively. However, it contained nearly twice as much calcium listing sixteen percent. While it did not have better nutrition facts across the board, I thought that overall it was better than the other. The ingredients would tell me more on which was better.
The ingredient of the deluxe macaroni and cheese that I had been getting were a mile long and contained partially hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors. The ingredients for Annie’s Homegrown Creamy Deluxe Elbows and Four Cheese Sauce were organic wheat elbow pasta, a four cheese sauce made of cheddar, asiago, parmesan and monterey jack cheeses consisting of pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, and enzymes, water, cream, whey, natural sodium phosphate, salt, natural flavor, lactic acid, sodium, alginate, and annatto extract for natural color. The ingredients ran circles around that other’s ingredients without a contest. The natural deluxe macaroni and cheese was made with real cheese and organic pasta, making 70% of the ingredients organic. Lastly, I would analyze the taste.
In order to make sure that I had given the Annie’s Homegrown Creamy Deluxe Elbows and Four Cheese Sauce a fair review I followed the directions to a tee. You need to boil six cups of water, stir in the organic pasta and bring it back to a boil. Next, cook the pasta until it is done or usually for eight to ten minutes, I cooked mine for about nine and a half minutes. Then drain the pasta and add the cheese sauce and mix well. After doing so, what I had come up with was positively delicious. It did not even compare to the other it was so good. The only thing I noted was that it seemed to be slightly less creamy, but this could be remedied by removing a small portion of the cooked pasta before adding the cheese or cooking less to begin with. I did not mind this slight change and would switch over to using the natural macaroni and cheese any day. When they are on sale, the prices are pretty good and not much more than the other traditional options. I am going to keep my eye out for coupons and sales on this product and maybe stock up the next time that prices are good. I would recommend it for anyone who likes macaroni and cheese.