Tips To Cater Food During Event

If you are planning a catered event, you have a lot to think about. Not only are you responsible for choosing the dishware, utensils, appetizers, Hors d’oeuvres, entrees, and beverages, you also have to plan the venue, décor, guest list, invitations, budget, and much more. But most importantly, you must ensure you have enough food to feed everyone. In order to create the perfect catering menu, all of these aspects must be considered ahead of time.

Although it can be fairly easy to choose the items you want on your menu, it can be more of a challenge to plan for the right amount of food. Ordering too much food can be a waste of resources and money, while ordering too little can make your event seem incomplete. Continue reading to learn some important tips on how to order the appropriate amount of food for your catered event, and who you can trust for professional advice and recommendations.

Understanding Your Budget

When it comes to ordering enough food for your catered party, the first factor you want to consider is your budget. Basically, your budget will set the tone for how much food you plan to serve at your event. Furthermore, it is very easy to go over your spending limit if you do not pay attention, so work on finding a balance between the right amount of food and your set budget.

Consider the Essential Factors

Aside from your budget, the three most influential factors for your catering menu include your guest count, the type of event you are planning, and the length of time it will last. These three factors, coupled with your desired spending limit, will help lay the foundation of how much food you will need. This information should be used to gauge how much food you will need. For instance, if you are planning a baby shower that should only last a few hours, you will need much less food than if you are planning a family reunion.

General Rules of Thumb

You can gauge the appropriate amount of food based on the factors mentioned above, as well as, the fundamental catering model displayed below. Use these recommended limits to get your planning started, and then get your plan into motion by consulting with your trusted catering company for help fine-tuning your menu. They can help you meet your event’s needs within your set budget.

Appetizers and Hors d’oeuvres:

  • Cocktail Party – 10 to 15 servings per Person (no meal to follow)
  • Daytime Event – 1 to 3 servings per Person (light lunch to follow)
  • Evening Event – 3 to 5 servings per Person (lighter dinner to follow)

Lunch:

  • 5 Ounce Main Course per Person
  • 2 to 3 Sides per Person
  • 2 Desserts per Person
  • 2 Beverages per Person

Dinner:

  • 3 to 5 Appetizers per Person
  • 1 Serving Soup and Salad per Person
  • 7 Ounce Main Course per Person
  • 3 Sides per Person (include 1 starch and 1 vegetable)
  • 2 Desserts per Person
  • 2 to 3 Beverages per Person
  • 2 Desserts per Person

Benefit Eat Fruits Everyday

The best gift that Mother Nature gives to us are fruits. They are filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, too. They can be sweet, sour, or at times bitter. They are as well varied in shapes, colors and sizes. They are, without question, healthy to eat. They can be picked directly from one’s backyard or farm and can be purchased at the supermarket for a few dollars. They exist everywhere. There’s no reason why you can’t have them now.

Now, are you ready to know the five reasons why you need to eat fruits every day? If you are, then I’m going to discuss it right now.

Full of Nutrients

They are full of nutrients, specifically vitamins and minerals. They’re packed with anti-oxidants, too. They’re excellent for your health because they naturally contain nutrients and anti-oxidants. Certain fruits provide certain nutrients, to ensure that you get the right balance and combination of nutrients, eating lots of varieties of fruits is a wise idea. You can combine bananas with other fruits such as apples, grapes, mangoes, turnips, and water melons, among others. The choice is yours.

Provide Energy

They provide energy naturally. They are energy boosters. If you desire to obtain energy the natural way, eating fruits regularly is the way to do it. Eating them before and after exercise is a great idea. With it, energy of yours is not lost no matter how hard you exercise. So, don’t forget to eat fruits if you plan to exercise today.

Good for the Skin

They are good for the skin. They after all contain lots of water and fiber. Individuals with good-looking, healthy skin are usually fruit eaters. If you want to be one of them, then do not forget to chew any kinds of fruit any minute or any time of the day. When you’re eating them on a regular basis, you’ll be ending up with clear, healthy, glowing skin. And that’s a fact.

Eliminate Certain Illnesses

They can be your natural medicines. They are free from toxic or unwanted chemicals. Thus, using them as natural medicines to certain illnesses is a fantastic idea. For instance, if you have high blood pressure or asthma and you want these illnesses to be cured the natural way, eating any types of fruit regularly is your best solution. It is through it that you’re able to redeem your old back self again, that is healthy and strong. Such strategy has been used for over a century already.

Perfect for Sleeping

They are perfect for sleeping. Bananas and nuts are the best examples of that. Mentioned fruits are termed as natural sleeping pills to some individuals. Bananas and nuts have certain elements that would help you sleep better and soundly at night. That explains why some individuals would take in bananas and nuts prior to sleeping.

Those are the five reasons why you need to eat fruits every day. I’m sure that the only thing that you want to do at the moment is to eat fruits. Am I right?

All About Hamburgers

A slider is an American term for a small sandwich, measuring about 2 inches across, made with a bun. The term usually refers to small hamburgers but can encompass any small sandwich made with a mini-roll. What was once exclusively sold at their place of origin, fast-food pioneer White Castle, they are popping up all over, especially on menus of family restaurants, sports bars and cocktail parties nationwide. Convenient finger-food, they come with a variety of fillings and ingredients and can be quite pricey, depending on where you eat them and what’s in them. If you just have to have some, White Castle also sells them in the frozen food section nationwide and has recently rolled out a new vegetarian version to mixed reviews (available in their restaurants only).

Some credit their nickname to the Navy where mess hall greasy burgers would literally slide around on your plate. Burger purists insist that a true slider is only made at White Castle and that anything else is merely a mini-hamburger. Well, not according to their legendary creator, Billy Ingram, the founder of White Castle who dubbed his small, square hamburgers so easy to eat, they were sliders (get it?).

In 1921, a tiny restaurant resembling a castle began selling a five-cent hamburger. Recently, Time® Magazine pronounced the Original Slider® as the most influential burger of all time. And purists will argue that the humble, all-beef patty includes onions and pickle, maybe American cheese, and is the only “authentic” version, which are steamed on a bed of onion bits, not fried. Any version can be enjoyed as an hors d’oeuvre, a snack or an entrée (but make sure you get several–don’t forget, they’re small).

Sold by the sack full at their place of origin, you can also find them at other restaurants frequently served three or four to a platter, one variety or a combo. Here are the most popular versions and price ranges:

Sports Bars: Tri tip beef, around $3.25, especially during football season;
Micro-breweries, different versions (they go great with beer);
Arby’s roast beef slider $1.00;
Various family restaurants: meatball, sloppy joe, chicken, or beef, average $1.50 to $3.50 a piece;
BJ’s Restaurants: 4 for $10.75 (cheese extra);

And the top varieties nationwide:

Barbecue Brisket Sliders
Club Burger Sliders with Avocado Ranch Dressing
Pimiento Cheese Sliders
Nacho Mini-size Burgers
Chicken Delight Sliders
Buffalo Thigh Sliders.(make sure they’re boneless)
Mini Beef-and-Sage Sliders with Gorgonzola
7-Layer Sliders (for diners with big mouths only)
Philly cheesesteak
BLT
Club burger with ranch dressing

And last but not least the most pricey, available to order online only:

Omaha Steaks: $3.75/ea for 8 filet mignon sliders ($29.99 + shipping);

Neiman-Marcus catalog: 18 mini-cheeseburgers, all-beef patty topped with cheddar cheese and bacon on a sesame seed bun; $45.00 (plus $12.50 shipping);

Available through Amazon: Lobster Slider filling (18 oz. fresh) 12 Brioche Buns (frozen) a mere $119.00;

And new to the burger scene is a franchise quietly exploding (is that possible?) across Southern California and points East, Burgerim’s currently has 103 domestic locations including Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Las Vegas, with their eye on huge national expansion. They feature 2.8 ounce patties served in combos, with a choice of 10 types of patties (including salmon, lamb, sausage, veggie), 3 types of buns, 5 sauces, and 9 toppings; a unique and popular concept, proving to be successful.

So call them mini-sandwiches, little burgers, kid-size, bite-size, just remember. They all come from Big Daddy–the one and only, the original White Castle slider. Pure and simple. Are you craving some yet?

Things You Should Know About Movie Grill

Even though we’re civilized people who understand that a society needs rules, the last thing we might associate with a place with rules is a movie grill. If you think about it, a movie grill is supposed to be the leading model of how a movie theater should run. It keeps the customer as its top priority, so the notion that there would be anything the customer couldn’t do seems a little contradictory.

Then again, it is important for folks to remember that a movie grill is also a business that caters to a large number of people. If they, or any other business, allowed their customers to go “willy-nilly” and do whatever they wanted, you’d have chaos. Movie grills are about making the moviegoing public feel at home while providing a top-of-the-line movie experience. This means that for all of the fun and innovation, there are some things you probably shouldn’t be doing.

Here are a few things you probably shouldn’t do at a movie grill:

Don’t Arrive Late – Obviously, life can get in the way, but try to arrive a bit early for your movie. There is usually have a limit as to how late they will see someone, so be sure to check with your local theater about their policy.

Don’t Forget about Age Limits & Requirements – Though the MPAA ratings system is a guide for moviegoers, your theater may also have limits in terms of the ages of prospective young viewers. Moreover, if you have very young kids, there might be policy info that pertains to best times for certain ages.

Don’t Forget about Cut-off Times for Food and Drink – Alcohol consumption has cut-offs based on local laws, and when it comes to food, movie grills want to have customers close out checks prior to the end of the movie. As such, food service usually ends about 30-40 minutes prior to the end of a movie to help in this pursuit.

Don’t Fret About Having A Printed Ticket – If you purchased tickets at home but couldn’t print them out, you can either use a lobby kiosk to print out your tickets, or you could go to the box office for help. If you’re big with technology, you can also use a QR code for paperless ticketing.

Don’t Be Disruptive – As in any movie theater, don’t be disruptive during the movie. This includes phone use, talking, and constantly moving around. This is big as well for families who are used to having their kids using mobile devices or who have a hard time being still.

Movie grill or not, these “should nots” are common sense in nearly all applications. Part of what is being asked of you as a customer, a consumer, and as a fellow person is to be considerate of those around you and of those who are there to serve you. That said, movie grills have taken the industry by storm for the last two decades, so you owe it to yourself to check one out. You just might find it to be the place to go for a night out on the town.

Secret Of Avocado Fruits

Have you heard about a magical fruit which contains a large number of healthy fats that can in fact benefit your body in numerous ways? Recently, the avocados have gained recognition in the healthy lifestyle community. This article talks about this unique fruit and the ways by which it can keep all your health issues aside.

  • What is this unique fruit?

Avocado is a pear-shaped fruit which grows on a tropical tree. They are green in color, rough in texture and contain a big seed inside them. They are also known as alligator pear or butter fruit and contain healthy fats with less to no cholesterol.

  • Given below are some of the reasons why this fruit should be made a part of your diet:

Super Fruit: – They are very rich in vitamins, minerals, nutrients and healthy fats. It is a known fact that healthy fats help to reduce weight and promote metabolism. Making avocados a part of your balanced and healthy diet will not only reduce weight but also keep you full for a longer time and it can be used as a substitute for products like butter.

Dental Care:-

Bad breath is usually caused by an upset stomach and due to the build-up of bacteria in your mouth. Avocados can help to kill the bacteria, remove bad breath and even help to prevent oral cancer.

Skin Care: –

Avocados can be applied in the form of skin and hair masks. Being rich in nutrients, they help to soothe uneven, chapped or damaged skin and hair. They are especially helpful for people suffering from chronic skin diseases.

Anti-oxidant properties: –

Being rich in vitamins, avocados have anti-oxidant properties. They have anti-cancer properties too and reduce premature aging. They improve vision and protect our eyes from diseases like cataract and age-related eye conditions.

Other benefits: –

They reduce morning sickness in pregnant mothers, keep the kidney and liver healthy, reduce the chances of diseases like arthritis, make your bones stronger, maintain the blood-glucose level and promote a healthy heart.

  • Some ways to incorporate avocado as a part of your diet: –
  1. They can be consumed directly.
  2. Avocados can be made a part of your salad. They can be consumed along with onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. Adding salt, pepper, lime juice and boiled meat along is also a good option.
  3. Chopped avocado can be used as a dressing over soups.
  • Eating too many avocados can, in fact, be dangerous for your body, read the points below to understand that they should be consumed within a given limit:-
  1. Avocados are rich in potassium. Consuming one too many avocados can increase the potassium levels in your body which can be dangerous for the heart.
  2. Some people feel nauseous and vomit after consuming too many avocados.
  3. They are even known to cause a migraine in some people.

Don’t be afraid of the side-effects. This fruit has many benefits and consuming it in a given limit will definitely make you healthier in every aspect.

Healthy Fruits You Should Eat During Summer

Summer has arrived. It is the season of shorts, sunscreen, hit the beach, filling the coolers and many other things. But summer also brings with itself excessive heat and chances of dehydration. In this season you need to eat food that helps prevents above mentioned conditions from occurring. Here are a few summer fruits and their benefits.

Watermelon – Ripped only in summer, this big red ball of health is filled with water and taste. The amount of water present in this fruit helps you in being hydrated and keeps your body cool. Watermelon also acts as in defense and protects your skin from sunburn. You won’t get food cravings after its consumption, it keeps your tummy feels filled. It is also good for people with high blood pressure, but in a limit. This one ought to be consumed almost every day in summer.

Oranges – Oranges are sweetest, juiciest summer fruit full of nutrients. Orange is low in calories and keeps your blood pressure in check. Orange is also a source of Vitamin C which is the most required vitamin in your body after an age. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that is also useful in skin damage caused by sun rays. Not only oranges, but their peel also performs wonders on your skin. It lightens your skin tone and erases all the scars and shades.

Mango – Mango is called the king of fruits. There are many reasons for calling it so and one of them is the long list of its benefits. It is proven by research that mango prevents cancer. Mango, when mixed with milk, becomes a source of strength. Mango shake increases immunity and gives you the strength to perform better. Vitamin A present in mango helps with good eyesight and stops night blindness. Mangoes have enzymes that break down protein and improves digestion. Like oranges, mango is also beneficial for skin. Those skin pores you can’t get rid of, mango removes them.

Litchi – Litchi though arrives a little late in summer but is worth the wait. The taste and sweetness of litchi are exquisite, plus it is also a source of nutrients. Apart from the taste, litchi also excels in health factor. It is filled with Vitamin B & Vitamin C and minerals like magnesium and potassium. It is also proven to be helpful in asthma. The antioxidants present in Litchi have cancer-fighting abilities. The minerals help in proper blood circulation throughout the entire body. It prevents signs of aging and promotes hair growth as well.

Peaches – Peaches are also high in Vitamin C. The fiber present in peaches fills you up without increasing weight. Peaches also cure metabolic syndrome. It also lowers the risk of cancer. It is a mixture of all the nutrients – protein, carbohydrate, calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, sugar and rich in various vitamins – A, C, E, and K. Though you should try to consume peaches that are canned in water and not the one canned in syrup. Peaches with syrup are not so healthy and can increase your sugar level.

Why Tuesday is Taco Day

Unless you live in the Southwest, you may not be familiar with Taco Tuesday, but it’s a tradition among Mexican restaurants, both large and small, to feature tacos at a discount each Tuesday thus generating more business, and allowing families to dine out for less. (Think of them as Mexican happy hours.) And you may not be familiar at all with the most popular taco, namely the fish taco.

Although many people still think of ground beef and shredded lettuce as the filing of choice, the fish taco tops the hit parade in most restaurants, especially in California and other border states, and traditionally contains shredded cabbage, a piece of fried white fish or grilled mahi mahi, white cheese, maybe some avocado slices and topped off with a creamy dressing. There are a lot of variations, of course, which might add salsa fresca or chile peppers, served up with a wedge of fresh lime (an essential). And of course, there are always the designer and gourmet variations, which may include lobster, shrimp, calamari or salmon, with a melange of fillings. There is almost no end to the ingredients (and prices) depending on where you dine.

Tacos de pescado (fish taco) originated in Baja California, Mexico, where they consist of fried or grilled fish, shredded lettuce or cabbage, pico de gallo, and a creamy sauce, all nestled on top of a tortilla (flour or corn). Historians seem to agree that in the U.S. the first tacos, which were housed in a crisp shell, can be attributed to Taco Bell, where they were served to a receptive dining audience, and contained ground beef, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, a bit of cilantro and shredded cheese, but in all likelihood had been served years before in a handful of Mexican restaurants. The hard shell variety is not native to Mexican cuisine but was embraced by Americans as a fun snack or meal, often accompanied by rice and beans, The concept of fish tacos is nothing new. Mexicans have been wrapping fish and other seafood in corn tortillas for centuries but probably didn’t garnish them with pico de gallo or creamy dressing. They ate them in a simple sandwich-style.

And embraced they were. In 2016, Americans ate over 4.5 billion tacos. That’s roughly 490,000 miles of tacos, which would take you to the moon and back or could equal the weight of two Empire State Buildings. Wow, just think of the salsa that would be needed.

There is no question that the king of fish tacos is Ralph Rubio, who as a young college student headed south to San Felipe on the Baja Peninsula each spring break to surf with his college friends, living on beer and the local cuisine, fish tacos. The legend goes that young Ralph could not talk the beach vendor into returning with him to San Diego and opening a taco stand, so he decided to do it himself in the early 80s. California surfers flipped over the tacos, as Ralph’s future was secured. And yes, Rubio’s has Taco Tuesday each week, featuring his original recipe for under $2, packing in hordes of hungry fans.These days, San Diegans consider the fish taco as their official food but may disagree on where to find the best ones. More popular than the ballpark hot dog, you’ll see thousands of baseball fans wolfing them down at Padre games.

Hole-in-the-wall stands can serve up some of the cheapest and tastiest, but many just head for their local Rubio’s knowing they will not be disappointed. Since most Mexican restaurants feature a salsa bar, you can drown your taco of choice with cilantro, several types of salsa, hot sauce and lots of fresh lime juice. Popular chains La Salsa, Chipotle and Baja Fresh have certainly helped spread the fame of soft tacos, along with numerous regional shops.

The carne asada taco, made with shredded beef or pork, also reigns but never quite measures up to the fish version. And of course nothing goes better with any taco than a cold Mexican beer or fresh lime margarita. If you have never tried one, take your first opportunity to enjoy this delicious import from our Southern neighbors.They make for a simple buffet dinner, an easy sports party snack or an inexpensive workplace lunch. Best of all, it doesn’t have to be Tuesday.

Benefit of Peanuts

Whether you are a chunky or creamy fan, peanut butter and its many forms comprise one of America’s favorite foods. Are you a brand loyalist, be it Skippy, Jif, Peter Pan, Smucker’s, or an organic-only consumer? On average, Americans eat more than six pounds of peanut products each year, worth more than $2 billion at the retail level. Peanut butter accounts for about half of the U.S. edible use of peanuts-accounting for $850 million in retail sales each year.

The peanut plant can be traced back to Peru and Brazil in South America around 3,500 years ago. European explorers first discovered peanuts in Brazil and saw its value, taking them back to their respective countries, where it was a bit slow to catch on but became popular in Western Africa. (And the French just never quite got it.)

History tells us that it wasn’t until the early 1800s that peanuts were grown commercially in the United States, and undoubtedly showed up at the dinner table of foodie president Thomas Jefferson, probably in the form of peanut soup, a delicacy in Southern regions. After all, Jefferson was an enthusiastic gardener who lived in Virginia. Civil War Confederate soldiers welcomed boiled peanuts as a change from hardtack and beef jerky. First cultivated primarily for its oil, they were originally regarded as fodder for livestock and the poor, like so many other now-popular foods. Technically not nuts, peanuts are part of the legume family and grown underground in pods, along with peas and beans.

Peanuts started to catch on in the late 1800s when Barnum and Bailey circus wagons traveled cross country hawking “hot roasted peanuts” to the crowds. Street vendors soon followed, selling roasted peanuts from carts, and they became a staple in taverns and at baseball games. (Throwing the bags to anxious consumers became an art form.)

As with many other popular foods, peanut butter was first introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 but basically still had to be made by hand. Catching on as a favorite source of protein, commercial peanut butter made its appearance on grocers’ shelves in the late 1920s and early 30s, beginning with Peter Pan and Skippy.

Dr. George Washington Carver is unquestionably the father of the peanut industry, starting in 1903 with his landmark research. He recommended that farmers rotate their cotton crops with peanuts which replenished the nitrogen content in the soil that cotton depleted. In his tireless research, he discovered hundreds of uses for the humble peanut.

While it is believed that the Inca Indians in South America ground peanuts centuries ago (we know for certain they weren’t spreading it on white bread with grape jelly), credit is usually given to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (of corn flakes fame) for creating the first peanut butter in 1895 for his elderly patients who had difficulty chewing other proteins.

In the U.S. peanuts are the 12th most valuable cash crop and have an annual farm value of over one billion dollars. They are an easy, low-maintenance crop, nutritious, economical, transportable and just plain delicious. Some of our more popular uses include:

Butter
PB&J sandwiches
Brittle + other candies
Crackerjack
Soup
Baking and cookies
Garnishes
Snacks, both boiled or roasted, in-shell or no-shell

Not to be forgotten is peanut oil, which is a highly regarded form of cooking oil, due to its ability to withstand higher temperatures and the added benefit that food doesn’t hold any peanut flavor after cooking.

Sadly, due to a rise in allergies, peanuts are disappearing from sporting events and other venues, and some airlines replaced them years ago with more economical pretzels. But no matter how you enjoy them, in their simplest form, covered in chocolate or mixed into your favorite dishes, this popular snack and sandwich filling crosses all economic and age barriers. We’ve gone nutty, all right. And for those of you who are allergic, you have our heartfelt sympathy.

All About Sports Drink

There’s nothing like chugging a cold sports drink after an intense workout or game. It’s refreshing, has lots of flavors to choose from and its good for you, right? Well, like anything else, there are pros and cons. Read on to know more.

When you get physical-when working out, running or playing sports-all that sweating causes you to lose lots of nutrients and minerals. Your muscles lose protein as well, since they are broken down. A quick pick-me-upper would be a sports drink. It replenishes lost fluids and provides potassium, sodium, and other minerals. But despite their benefits, there are drawbacks.

Since sports drinks are not created equal, there are some with an exorbitant amount of sugar, sodium and certain acids harmful to the enamel of your teeth. There’s also other chemicals like coloring. When your body is deprived of so many things, when you drink or eat something it’s easily absorbed. And you don’t want your body being filled up with unhealthy things when it’s supposed to be effectively recovering. Luckily, you can see the ingredients in the nutritional label, so you can make an informed choice.

So if you choose to chug sports drinks, be sure to check the label first. If it seems unhealthy, there are sure to be other options. Thanks the advantage of these commercial drinks, there are so many options in the market. But if you want an alternative, you’ll be surprised that a banana can be enough.

A banana can reduce the risk of muscle cramps because of its potassium content. Its natural sugar content gives your body the carbohydrate content it needs to replenish itself after an intense physical activity.

Now, of course, you have to address the fact that after all that activity you are thirsty and a banana won’t replenish all that thirst. Well, that’s true. So you’re in for a treat. You can make your own shake starring the mighty banana. Just take one medium banana, some crushed ice and a glass or chocolate milk. Yes, you heard it correct, chocolate milk.

The trick here is to provide your body with a carbohydrate to protein ratio or 4:1. This way, your body can replenish the lost energy supply in the form of carbohydrates, at the same time you can feed your muscles with protein so they can recover effectively. There’s also the nutrients from the banana, calcium and other minerals from the chocolate milk. And of course, it tastes awesome. If you’re worried about calories, choose a low-calorie, low-sugar chocolate milk. But do remember that your body will have a high metabolic rate after your workout, so it can easily burn some calories.

Whether you choose sports drinks or a banana protein shake, it’s good that you have viable choices.

The Secret of Mac And Cheese

What did foodie president Thomas Jefferson start? After discovering a cheesy, rich pasta dish in France. he brought it back in the early 1800s and introduced his dinner guests to a delicious new concoction loaded with rich cream, cheddar cheese and baked to a bubbly, crusty perfection. The latest from France, he undoubtedly proclaimed, along with his other creations including ice cream, french fried potatoes, fine wines and exotic fruits and vegetables, all whipped up at his estate kitchen by his French-trained chef (not to mention at the White House), and Colonial foodies dug in. For Southerners, homemade mac and cheese casserole has always been a staple on holiday dinner tables.

Once commercial production began, Kraft Foods harnessed its great potential by mass-producing and boxing it up for busy mothers and hungry children, putting it on the map during the Depression, in 1937. While many cooks still preferred to make it from scratch, it created quite a stir in packaged foods, right up there with sliced white bread and Toll House cookies. In spite of a former First Lady’s campaign maligning it, boxed mac and cheese is a pantry staple.

No question, it has come a long way, and some of its newest versions are just plain outrageous. Seems each restaurant and chef wants to outdo the others, and while perhaps some (maybe) delicious variations, the new combinations could qualify as just plain bizarre. Here is a list of current popular creations:

Mac and cheese bagels (actually baked into the dough) from Einstein Bros.Bagels

Mac and cheese balls, breaded and deep fried for a new experience in hors d’oeurves (Trader Joe’s are especially good)

Pizza topped with mac and cheese is showing up at several major chains

Hamburgers topped or stuffed with mac and cheese

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Meatball-stuffed sandwich sliders

Mexican foods (quesadillas, burritos and enchiladas) stuffed with M&C

Hot Dogs topped off with M&C (hold the ketchup)

Rich homemade baked M&C casserole with lobster (and a very hefty price)

Mac and cheese topped with white truffles

Of course, driving up the cost and (sometimes) the taste level, any cheese can be used, including Gruyere (Martha Stewart’s favorite which will run you about $30/pound, but hey, it’s Martha Stewart) and blue cheese, which adds an interesting and new taste for this classic dish, rather than traditional cheddar and Velveeta. Maybe a chunk of butter and some sour cream to up the calories.

And at one L.A. restaurant, truffle oil and a splash of white wine is added for the bargain price of $95 per serving (you read that right). Yikes.

In other words, just about anything you can dream up, you can do with your basic mac and cheese, so get creative if the spirit moves you. But for you purists, nothing beats the creamy goodness of macaroni, rich cheddar cheese sauce and buttery crumb topping baked to gooey perfection in the oven. It may be all grown up, but no doubt about it. Some things are better just left alone.