How to make Mac & Cheese not shitty.

One of these days it’s going to happen to you.

You’re going to walk into your kitchen with the intent of making dinner for the family that you “love” and you’re going to think to yourself, ‘Man! I  just don’t want to deal with this shit’. 

You don’t have a fucking thing to feel bad about. Do you know why? Because making food for people who have a tendency to treat you like an afterthought gets old. Doubly so if they’re a picky bunch of fuckers. Triply so if you gotta make shit that you’re just not into. Quadruply so if you wait until the last fucking minute to do food prep.

Speaking for myself, I give myself a night off every week. In doing so, I have found that I give more of a fuck about cooking the other 6 days of the week if I know that I have ‘throwaway meal’ that I can use to get a breather from feeding the family.

Since it’s the winter months, it’s usually soup. That’s right canned soup. Why? Because that shit is economical and easy to prepare.

When it warms up, I make mac & cheese. On it’s own, you’ll be lucky if you sate your own appetite. If you combine it with a few odds and ends you can turn it into a fucking meal with leftovers to spare.

Ingredients.

  • Mac and Cheese (Whatever you’re partial to. I do Velveeta because that shit with the powder is bonafide cancer in a box).
  • Peppers – chopped, uncooked (Whatever you want. I like to do a mix because colors).
  • Frozen Corn – thawed (Just because it’s cheap and the government has been sneaking this shit in our food for years. Not really. I use it to make the mac and cheese last because leftovers are your friend).
  • Protein – precooked (Again, whatever you want. I tend to use chicken because I have that on hand the most, precooked)
  • Extra vegetables? (This is your call. There’s enough veg all ready. I used broccoli in this version of this recipe because I had company over and I didn’t feel like fucking talking to them).

 

IMG_3153

  • First things, first: start boiling a pot of water (and turn your oven on if you’re making the broccoli). Medium heat for the water and 350 degrees for the broccoli. While you’re waiting for the oven to heat up and the water to start boiling starting prepping your veg.

IMG_3155

  • I tried (roughly) this same recipe with cooked peppers and everything came out fairly shitty. DON’T COOK THE PEPPERS. Just give them a rough chop and move on with things.
  • KITCHEN HACK: running out of things to hold prepped things? Lids for pots and pans double as bowls, homey.

IMG_3158

  • Like so!

IMG_3156

  • So, you got your veg all prepped and (hopefully) you were aware enough to catch when the water started to boil to throw the noodles in.
  • At this point, if you have extra veg (because you’re concerned about your families poo) now is the time to put that in the oven. 
  • PRO-TIP: Only assholes throw noodles at the ceiling in an effort to know when they’re done. DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE. Noodles are done when you want them to be fucking done. Want them a bit on the crunchy/chewy side? Don’t leave them in the water that fucking long. When it comes to mac and cheese noodles, I have found that they visually double in size the longer that you leave them in there. Just saying.
  • When you drain your noodles, use a bit of caution. If you’re a rookie, get the damn colander out (that thing that looks like a pot but can’t be a pot because it has holes in it) and drain your noodles that way. Mac and cheese is best when you drained all the fucking water out of it.
  • Nobody likes eating drippy noodles.

IMG_3160

  • Time for the cheese that makes it mac & cheese. There’s nothing to it. Open the packages. Squeeze that shit in there like in the picture above. Mix it well like the picture below. There’s nothing to any of this really. It’s a throwaway meal, remember?

IMG_3161

  • When it’s completely mixed, add your vegetables of choice.
  • PRO-TIP: You’re adding cool, if not cool food to food that is rapidly cooling. Turn the burner back on to medium, even low heat. When you add all of your veg, stir that shit up good. Everything will kick back up to a palatable temperature.

IMG_3162IMG_3164IMG_3163

  • This is what it should look like after you mix everything up properly.

IMG_3167

This is what mac and cheese typically looks like in my house. Not an elaborate meal, but a meal that you can bang out in 20 minutes with zero prep work to sweat.

Do yourself a favor, pick a night for a throwaway meal night and give yourself something to look forward to. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Advertisements

Sometimes you just need to use the food that you’ve been avoiding. 

IMG_2945

I know that in the past, I have talked high and mighty about the need for prepared meals in the life of any given family. Meals shouldn’t come out of a box or a bag (specifically tv dinners or anything with the word ‘helper’ after it).

The day will come, Dear Reader, when you can give no fucks about preparing food. You could be short on time.  You could have had a bad day (or week). The people you are preparing said food for could be a real bunch of assholes about what you have made in the past. You could just simply be out of steam.

The point is, is that it’s ok, to reach for that which you have been avoiding with respect to the menu your personal kitchen produces (as long as you make it your own). 

On occasion, I will do this quite simply because I can. Preparing meals is really difficult when you are doing so with the intent of people actually eating the food you put in front of them instead of just moving it around on their plate or whining about any given facet of the meal. In short, it’s a nice little break you can give yourself. Me? I try to do it at least once a week.

IMG_2952

My answer to the dilemma of ‘making it my own’ is to throw in so many goddamn vegetables that not only am I changing the very nature of whatever package I’m working with, but also I’m ensuring that leftovers will result.

Leftovers are good. They are your friend. They will be there when you don’t know what to make those ingrates for lunch. 

I digress.

The trick with veg-ifying Ramen, is to leave everything in the pot for as long as possible. In doing so, the noodles, veg, and whatever else you may want to throw (Chicken or shrimp works in this instance. Personally I throw the chicken in the bowl prior to serving. Throw it in the pot and it’s liable to disintergrate on you) in their sucks up the boullioned water thereby ensuring maximum flavor output.

IMG_2953 TA DA! It’s a ‘healthier’ take on ramen. 

A word to the wise: Ramen leftovers are shit after a day. If you’re not having it for breakfast or lunch, don’t bother.

Don’t want to fuck with Ramen? I can’t blame you. You can achieve the same goal with that ‘american classic’, macaroni and cheese. 

IMG_3153

Mac & Cheese is a versatile staple. You can throw anything in it and it will come out ok. Hot dogs, tuna and peas, bacon & broccoli: whatever you want. You’re the one eating it.

On a personal note, through a lot of trial and error (because I live with some picky sons of bitches) I have landed on a solid combination.

IMG_3167Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (with corn & mixed peppers), a side of broccoli, and chicken. 

This combo produces empty plates, consistently, in record time.

In closing, preparing food is great because you are keeping the best interests of your family in mind, but sometimes you just need to take a goddamn break.

Have a cheater meal that is your go to? Don’t be shy: share it in the comments, mang!