There are people who think I always cook rather elaborate meals, full of lots of work and many pans, but that is not the case. Yes, sometimes I go a little nutty and do a ton of work, and sometimes I want quick, easy, and still yummy, or comfort food. So the other night we had homemade cobbled together Mac and Cheese, and tuna salad sandwiches. I found the mac n’ cheese recipe from Alton Brown, our favorite t.v. chef (and my sister-in-law), . Why is he our favorite? All the Monty Python references, and silly skits.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1/2 lb uncooked elbow macaroni (that’s about 2 cups)
- 4 T. unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 6 oz evaporated milk (fat-free works just fine)
- 1/2 t. hot sauce
- 1 t. kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 3/4 t. dry mustard
- 10 oz sharp cheddar (about 2.5 cups or so, and you can use any mix of cheeses you want, I’ll give you an example)
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente, then drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter, stirring to coat. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir this into the pasta, then add cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.
Now, how was it cobbled together for our dinner, you ask? I didn’t have any kind of short pasta, no elbows, no rotini, no penne…I had spaghetti and lasagna noodles. Obviously I wasn’t going to use the lasagna noodles. So, I used 12 oz of spaghetti (I figured since it was smaller & didn’t have the hollows I should increase the amount a bit) and broke it into about 1 inch lengths. I leave out the hot sauce, because Rick doesn’t really like the peppery flavor, but the amount used doesn’t really give it much heat. I also don’t use just cheddar. I weighed out my cheese on my kitchen scale. This time I used 5 oz of sharp cheddar, 3 oz of shredded Parmesan, and added 2 oz of a cheese blend with Colby, cheddar and Monterey Jack. Use what you like. I have made it with all cheddar and it was good, but why limit yourself. I almost always add Parmesan, because I like the bite it gives. Like I said though, use what you like, what you’ve got on hand. it’s an easy, quick, go to recipe for those nights when you want something comforting. I’m not going to give you a recipe for tuna salad. Everyone’s tuna salad recipe is a personal thing. Me, I put more pickle relish & onions in than anything else, except tuna, and I don’t use a regular “yellow” mustard most of the time. Again, it’s something you make to your own tastes. I’ve never seen anyone use a recipe for a “regular” mayo (or in our case Miracle Whip) based tuna salad. Some put in celery, green peppers, or egg. Some leave out the mustard, or onions, or pickles…I imagine a lot of it has to do if your Mom or Grandma made tuna salad, and how they made it…you build from what you are used to.
Okay, enough about food. I want to talk a little about how cool and funny kids are. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of imagination, creativity, and ingenuity that they are capable of showing in play. My darling Pally loves to draw a sidewalk chalk house (looks like a house plan outline) on the patio slab of the vacant lot next door. A few nights ago, no one was out to play, but she really wanted to have a good time in her “house”. What do you think she did? Did she bring out baby dolls or Barbies? Nope. She hunted out the molted exoskeletons of the dog-day cicadas. She gathered up about 10 or 15 of them and she took them over to her house, and had a grand old time. Unfortunately, the next morning when she went out to play, they had blown away.
It also goes to show how different siblings can be. Pally is playing with bug shells. Bug is petrified of bugs. My child, who we started calling Bug, back when she was a sweet and squirmy little baby, hates, HATES bugs. Shoot, she ran away from a butterfly that got into the grocery store a few weeks ago. No two kids are alike. They think differently, the act differently, they react differently. But we love ’em just the same.