Archer Farms Mac & Cheese – wht review

I’m not sure what it is, but I am addicted to Target. While I try to be a conscious consumer (I love shopping at the Farmer’s Markets, thrift stores, used record and book stores, etc.), something takes over me when I walk into the huge, gleaming Target store. I could be going to pick up a tube of toothpaste and deodorant and when I come to two hours later at the register, I’ve dropped $150 on things I really don’t need. Something tells me a few of our readers can relate!

Surprisingly, one item I had never purchased was any products from the Archer Farms line. I normally am so fascinated with the home wares and clothes; I don’t get over to the grocery aisles. So, here at we heart this, we decided a review and test taste was in order!

We picked up a number of varieties of the Archer Farms macaroni & cheese for our review team to sample. Archer Farms is Targets own line of food products and I must be incredibly slow because I just now made the connection – Target ~ Archer – see how they did that? Anyway, according to Target the line is “our highest quality made with the finest ingredients. (Target) promises you’ll love every little bit, bite and sip. 100% satisfaction guaranteed.”

Our review team will be by shortly to tell us which flavor they tested and give you their thoughts on the mac & cheese. In the meantime, what I most appreciated about this mac & cheese was the large variety of flavors (from kid friendly Classic Cheddar to the more adult Buffalo style, with blue cheese and spicy sauce) and that it is one-pot cooking. You just need to boil water, then add both the noodles and sauce and cook until thickened. No draining noodles and transferring to another bowl or back to the pot. Let me tell you, anything that cuts down my dishwashing gets the thumbs up from me!

Finally, I also liked that the back of the box offered a few suggestions to spice up the dish – either by adding veggies or protein or offering the best entrée to serve with the mac & cheeses. I experimented with some tvp crumbles in my creamy Tomato and I’ll let you know how it went in the comments.

Ok, peeps, let’s hear your thoughts on Archer Farms macaroni and cheese!

tyna

tyna

Tyna is a former editor and co-founder of we heart this that worries about becoming a crazy cat lady, reads at least a book a week, checks in at a Flyers fan forum every morning and is forever organizing her closets and drawers.
skin tone: NW 20/25
skin type: combination
favorite beauty product: eye shadows and lip balms
tyna

16 thoughts on “Archer Farms Mac & Cheese – wht review”

  1. stef

    Yeah, Target is heaven. Plain and simple.

    I got the Buffalo variety to test. It’s got a lot of good things going for it. I love that you don’t have to add milk, very handy when you’re running low. It also tasted pretty good, slightly spicy. But not especially cheesy (but really, how cheesy is Kraft? Even claiming to be “the cheesiest” can only get you so far with powdered cheese). I added Blue Cheese and that certainly upped the cheese and yum factor.

    But having made probably 1,000 boxes of mac & cheese in my life, I mistakenly dumped the box in a unmeasured pot of boiling water. And while reading the directions (too late), I see I was supposed to measure the water because you don’t drain it. D’oh.

    My final verdict? This is different, but relatively tasty. I’d buy it again, but wouldn’t go out of my way to find it.

  2. irene

    I was really excited to try out the wonderfully sounding and looking Porcini Mushroom Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese, by Archer Farms. If you could see the box you’d know what I mean! I was doubly surprised to learn where they came from; that being from Target! But then again, Target surprises me left and right with what they carry. I was even more excited to see that this is made with whole wheat! I am learning to really appreciate some of the newer pastas out there these days. Well, with trying to be a little more heath conscious, I look for brands that taste great and have some heath benefit to eating them as well. I wanted to try this Porcini Mushroom Whole Wheat Macaroni straight, without altering it by adding beef to it, as it suggest you can do. In retrospect maybe I should have. But, I wanted to see what it was all about- on its own. I can barely say this, but I was not thrilled to pieces with this product. I still ate most of it, and I didn’t hate it.. I just wasn’t nuts about it. I am a Mac and Cheese Freakoid, so I really was bummed. I would give it a so- so ranking. I love salt, more than I should and still, this was overly salty, (640mg per serving) and it was loaded with too much fat for me.. per serving it had 6 grams. NOBODY eats one serving.. Dang, even when it’s just okay, I will still eat more than a serving! Perhaps It would be awesome if I had added something to this. Please, someone else let me know if it was good doctored up! I hope so!

  3. krista

    Let me preface my review by saying that I’ve tried many of the Archer Farms products and they are fabulous about 90% of the time. Their cookies, crackers, and baking mixes (especially the beer bread mix) are divine. That being said, the mac and cheese would fit in the other 10% of things I never want to put in my mouth again. I received the 4 cheese and I tested it without doctoring it and it was so chemically tasting and kind of sour-gross-non-cheesy tasting. I then tried to doctor it with some parmesan asiago cheese, some spinach, and a little bacon. Bacon couldn’t even make this one palatable and everyone knows that EVERYTHING is better with bacon. Not this. Now, I figured maybe I wasn’t being open-minded. Maybe it was just that flavor, so I got the cheddar flavor on my own and it tasted IDENTICAL to the 4 cheese. My glutton of a dog wouldn’t even eat it and that says a lot. If I’m going to go for boxed macaroni from Target, I’ll stick to their Kraft knock off and just add a large spoonful of light sour cream, 1 T of butter and 1/4 c. milk instead of the recommended instructions. It makes it taste cheddary and creamy and it’s not like a punishment. I wouldn’t recommend the Archer Farms mac to anybody…unless I hate you, which in that case, it was yummy *tucks devil horns back*.

  4. irene

    I kind of got that feeling too Krista. If my dog was still at my feet even she would look up at me and give me the whites of her eyes, as to say, “What, are you kidding me?” I love macaroni and cheese like a mad women..Ask my husband of 21 years! But it goes further back than that! I remember being a kid and loving it after school for a treat that would set me off for the rest of the afternoon until suppertime! Here’s a funny one. My dear Mother-in Law is a fine baker and cook.. However I must admit, I hate her baked Mac and Cheese dish.. it is horrible.. I know she won’t read this so I’m telling it here. She spent all that time making her dish and ruined it with that fake cheese substitute, Velveeta! A very big Yuck! Now, for the record, Martha Stewart makes a mean, I say insanely delicious rendition of the right way to make the dish,

  5. Cori

    Well poop you guys….I was so exctied and ready to go out and buy some mac and cheese after reading the article, but now after the reviews….I don’t wanna. I’ll stick to my moms home made mac and cheese recipe.

  6. irene

    Something you should know..Thomas Jefferson- Is the Father of Pasta and The father of mac and cheese, one of our favorite comfort foods, was not a chef or even Italian. But he was someone known to enjoy his creature comforts—and he invented a lot of them.

    In 1787, Thomas Jefferson, perhaps our country’s greatest Renaissance man, returned to America from his tour as minister to France. He brought back a pasta machine acquired in Italy. He proceeded to invent a better pasta machine, and undoubtedly many recipes as well. In documents in the Library of Congress, one guest reports dining “a pie called macaroni*,” an early version of what we know as Baked Macaroni and Cheese. The macaroni was cooked until almost done, then combined with melted butter, salt, and grated white or yellow cheese and put it in the oven for 15 minutes or more.

    * The song “Yankee Doodle” has mistakenly come down to us with the word macaroni, pasta, instead of the original word, maccheroni, foppish. He put a feather in his cap and called it stylish—not pasta! In a related mistranslation, Cinderella ended up with fantastic slippers of fantastic glass (verre) instead of a typical aristocratic’s shoes lined with fur (vair). Jefferson had his staff add American or English Cheddar cheese; and while we enjoy that classic (especially with sharper, aged Cheddar), we have come to prefer two variations: goat cheese and truffle cheese.

    Any chèvre lover will appreciate bleat for joy over the delicious nuances provided by tangy, aged goat cheese. But for a real slam dunk, turn to earthy truffle cheese. Use truffle butter in the recipe, too. Imagine: a pasta fix and a truffle fix in the same dish! You’ll never look at mac & cheese the same way again. You can adapt the recipe below with the truffled ingredients, eliminating the Worcestershire sauce.

    And, don’t confine yourself to elbow macaroni. Corkscrews, penne, or any chunky, shaped pasta makes the dish as artistic as it is tasty (we like use tri-colored shapes as well).

  7. irene

    Recipe for Macaroni & Cheese: Food of Presidents

    Ronald Reagan’s favorite food was macaroni and cheese. Here’s his recipe, as prepared by the White House staff:
    From The White House Family Cookbook by H. Haller and V. Aronson

    Serves 4 as an entrée, or 6 to 8 as a side dish

    Ingredients
    1/2 pound macaroni
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 egg beaten
    3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
    1 cup warm milk
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    Pinch of paprika

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.
    Add macaroni to 2 quarts of boiling salted water and cook for 10 minutes.
    Drain well in a colander. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
    Stir in butter and beaten egg. Add 2-1/2 cups of the grated cheese.
    In a small bowl, combine milk with salt, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
    Spoon macaroni and cheese into the prepared casserole. Pour milk mixture over and sprinkle top with the remaining cheese.
    Sprinkle with paprika. Bake on middle shelf of preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until macaroni is firm to the touch and the top is crusty and browned.
    Serve at once, either as a light entree accompanied by a hot green vegetable and a crisp salad, or as a side dish with Hamburgers or Meat Loaf.

    Recipe Variation: Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

    Ingredients
    3/4 lb crisp bacon, crumbled
    1/4 cup butter
    1 1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
    1 pound uncooked macaroni
    3-5 scallions, finely chopped
    1-1/2 pounds of the cheese of your choice, grated—Cheddar, Swiss, goat, blue, etc.

    Directions
    Cook the bacon until it is very crisp; blot very dry on paper towels.
    Melt the butter in a small pan at a low temperature. Add the bread crumbs and saute until browned, stirring frequently to avoid burning the crumbs.
    Cook the macaroni according to package directions to the al dente state; drain.
    Layer ingredients in a baking dish, alternating macaroni, then cheese, then crumbled bacon and chopped scallions on top of this. Make thin layers.
    Top with the bread crumbs and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

  8. Mel

    OMG Stef – I did the exact same thing!! ie, not measuring the water because I was planning on pouring it all out just like mac and cheese. I tried to save the recipe and it just didn’t work that well – but wasn’t awful-a little less creamy than it should’ve been. I got the Creamy Tomato to try, by the way. It’s got parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, cheddar, and gouda in it. I mixed it with chicken and that’s really quite good with this mix. I liked the little bit fatter shape of the shells too. I would buy this one again, actually – I thought it was pretty darn good. Pam – those recipes sound delish. I’ve got some fancy mac and cheese recipes too that are similar from a cooking class – they taught us to use Japanese Panko crumbs for the topping – oh yeah, that adds a yummy twist!

  9. tyna

    I guess the best description for my view of this boxed mac and cheese is “meh”. I didn’t find it terrible or great, just sort of there. I tested the Creamy Tomato as well. I added some lightly sauted tvp crumbles to mine for my own veggie version of hamburger helper. I definitely liked it better with the burger crumbles.

    The best thing about it for me was the one pot cooking – not that its so hard to drain noodles, I just appreciated not having to do so (or wash the colander later).

    I’ve heard lots of good things about Archer farms, so this won’t put me off trying other items from the line, but I most likely will stick with my Annies mac & cheese when I want an easy meal.

  10. I did the same thing as stef and mel! and but i started over because i knew i’d be writing a review and i wanted to make sure i did it right. I got the creamy tomato and i really liked it. But i am a huge fan of boxed “sides” i still always get the boxed potato augratin from betty crocker, rice a roni and stuff. I actually liked this and have bought it again. Because like most of you on here you can pretty much find me at target all the time! I’m going to give this a thumbs up!

  11. I tried the Sundried Tomato version of this Mac and Cheese. While I also love other Archer brand products, this one didn’t make the cut for me. It wasn’t horrible, just not great. It wasn’t cheesy enough and the flavor was on the bland side. While I won’t be buying this particular product again, I will keep buying their yummy baked chips and crackers.

  12. Correction to my above post…I tried the creamy tomato version, but it tasted very similar to sundried tomato. Pamela I think I have to try your Bacon Mac & Cheese. YUM! Two of my favorite things in one recipe…bacon and cheese!

  13. christy

    I have to admit I’m not the biggest Mac and Cheese fan, call me crazy I know but as compared to some other boxed Mac and Cheese I thought these were pretty good. You definitely need to add extra flavor, I wish I had added bacon, that makes everything better!! I’d give these a 3 1/2 stars. I’m with Krista on Archer Farms products in general. They are all pretty darn tasty, but the Mac and Cheese was just a little too bland for 5 stars.

  14. suzan

    I received the 4 cheese for review. I would have done the same thing a number have people did and just filled a pot with water because come on, who doesn’t know how to make Mac n’ Cheese however I learned my lesson when I tried Annies the first time without reading the directions. After following the directions I tasted and I must say bllllaaaah. I added some ground turkey still bllllahhh. I can’t really say why I dis-like this product so much, maybe it’s the fake cheese not being fake cheesy enough or the texture. Not sure what it is, 1 thing for sure is that I will not be buying this product again. I do love the Archer Farms blueberry oatmeal. YUM. Mac N Cheese no! I like T will stick with my Annies Organic bunny shaped pasta.

  15. We had a horrible experience with the cheddar version last night. Tasted simply disgusting. Turns out, the last ingredient on the list is *allspice*

    Yes, allspice. WTF were they thinking?

  16. I just opened another box of Archer Farms Italian-Style Four Cheese macaroni and cheese. I had bought 3 or 4 boxes at the same time because of a sale price. This was the second time the box included ingredients from other boxed items!!! I have found dried peas, carrots, and something red (maybe sun-dried tomato or red pepper?) in both boxes. This is supposed to have 5 ingredients (besides all the hard-to-pronounce crap they also throw in) — pasta, parmesan, asiago, romano, and ricotta!

    I just got off the phone with someone clearly in India who had to ask me to repeat the same things over and over again because he couldn’t understand English. He offered me a $3 gift card … wow, really??? … for 2 separate occasions of NO QUALITY CONTROL!!!

    I hate to even think about what else gets into the food they sell that isn’t as clearly visible as green, orange, and red pieces of food in a white cheese/pasta mix!

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