July 14th may just seem like another scorching hot summer date on the calendar. However, this monumental day is a celebration that brings to light one of America's most prized and treasured dishes — Macaroni and Cheese. That's right. An entire day is dedicated to this creamy, cheesy, and scrumptious meal beloved by all from coast to coast. Whether you like it baked in the oven, cooked on the stovetop, or changed up with a unique twist, here are 7 homemade recipes to make this National Mac and Cheese Day unforgettable.

1. Baked Mac and Cheese

This baked macaroni and cheese recipe linked above is the perfect dish for any occasion. The insane creaminess of the cheese combined with the perfectly golden breadcrumb topping creates the perfect blend of smooth and crunchy. The best part about this mac and cheese is the Instagram-worthy moment where the cheese stretches from the moon and back. While a crunchy topping may not be your thing, give this recipe a try because once you have a bite of this irresistibly delicious dish, you'll never look back. 

2. Real Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Boxed mac and cheese is a thing of the past, but with this classic look alike recipe (linked above), you can relive your childhood dreams using easy techniques and real ingredients. A great thing about this dish is that there is no flour or butter components. Meaning making it gluten free is as easy as substituting the noodles for a gluten-free pasta. While other recipes call for so much cheese it'll put you in a food-coma, this timeless variation still maintains the classic creaminess without tempting you with a nap afterwards. Boxed mac and cheese better watch it's back, because this dish is here to stay.

3. Cajun Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn't like a little spice to liven up an already delicious dish like mac and cheese? This terrific variation on an American classic incorporates Cajun flavored shrimp with cheesy noodles, creating a craveable, scrumptious taste of good ole southern cooking. The recipe lays out some pretty straightforward steps, but if you still feel uneasy about cooking shellfish, check out this guide to cooking shrimp perfectly every time. This dish is a must try if you're craving something unique in honor of National Mac and Cheese Day.

4. Skinny Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

While cauliflower may not scream 'mac and cheese', this healthy recipe puts a fit spin on the American classic while still maintaining the creamy deliciousness we all love. The dish is made up of about equal parts pasta and cauliflower, so you still get a taste of tradition, with a splash of veggies. All of the cheese, half and half, and butter don't make this dish 100% fat/calorie/carb free, but if you're looking for a healthier alternative to satisfy your mac and cheese cravings, this creative spin is a terrific go-to recipe that you're sure to fall in love with.

5. Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese

Hatch green chile season is a time of pure happiness and joy for foodies across the Southwest. From queso and enchiladas, to salsa verde and green chile stews, the New Mexican chile is a perfect ingredient to liven up and add a unique flavor to any dish. Macaroni and cheese is no exception to the wonders of hatch chiles. This mac and cheese recipe combines the creaminess of cheddar and gouda cheeses with the subdued spice and enriched flavor of the hatch chile. Whether it's under the summer stars, or next to the warmth of the fireplace, this dish is perfect for any occasion and is sure to fulfill all of your mac and cheese desires.

6. Pesto Mac and Cheese

Growing up, Italian food was always a solid, reliable choice for a dinner cuisine. However, after endless bowls of pasta, tomato sauce, and the occasional meatball, it quickly became mundane. That was, until I was introduced to pesto. It's vibrancy and freshness, intertwined with the smooth texture and bright color brought life to dishes in dire need of a revamp. This mac and cheese recipe reflects that one of a kind flavor pesto brings to the table. The creamy, cheesy, and vivacious flavor makes for the perfect weeknight dinner.  I apologize in advance for wrecking your summer bod, but once you have a taste of this dish, you'll understand why this recipe is both revolutionary and ever so addictive.

7. Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

Fried food is as American as singing the Star Spangled Banner with a mouthful of apple pie as a Bald Eagle flies overhead. But fried mac and cheese? Get out your red, white, and blue, because this delicious dish is as patriotic as you can get. Game Day, Thanksgiving, or just a relaxing Saturday afternoon, this comfort classic will have people eager to take the last bite. While frying things may seem a little daunting, follow this guide to making the perfectly crispy, delicious, and golden brown fried food every time.

While you may not get the day off of work to honor National Mac and Cheese Day, you can celebrate with these classic, creative, and all around terrific homemade recipes. If you are hungry for more, be sure to check out these 78 Macaroni and Cheese dishes by Delish, or step up your game with these Bon Appétit Mac & Cheese recipes to satisfy any craving. July 14th is a day that puts the spotlight on perhaps one of the most beloved American dishes, so take a part in the festivities by whipping up a batch of homemade mac and cheese and party like there's no tomorrow.