Recently, while on a shopping trip, J tried a sample of beefy cheesy mac, macaroni and cheese with ground beef. To say he loved it would be putting it much to mildly. He inhaled the stuff, one generous scoop of it, and was crying for more.
So, I decided I would make him some macaroni and cheese at home as a treat, and I picked up some Kraft because that's what you eat when you want mac and cheese fast, right? But when I made it I thought, "This stuff is edible?? It hardly should count as food! I can't believe I'm feeding this to my child!" I went ahead and gave it to him, regretting it every moment. And he loved it, as did the husband later on, but I felt too guilty to ever serve it again.
However, I dreaded learning how to make macaroni and cheese from scratch. Down here, in the south, making this particular dish is serious business. Women hide their family recipes in locked cabinets, guarding their particular combination of cheeses like state secrets. Making a batch can take half a day and the praises can be sung for a week after it's served. Intimidating, to say the least.
So it was with great trepidation that I embarked on a mission to find a recipe for homemade mac and cheese that wasn't going to make me cry in frustration and take a year to prepare. Fortunately, I found, get this, a three ingredient recipe: noodles, grated cheddar cheese, and butter! Huzzah. It's prepared on the stovetop and takes about 13 minutes from start to finish. Of course, I couldn't just stick with the recipe as written, so I added some cream cheese because, well, I had it on hand. I also added some chopped ham and frozen peas and carrots, all of J's favorite foods wrapped in one cheesy package. And it was a huge success, judging by the quantity he ate and the two-fisted shoveling into his mouth going on.
Now, when I make it again, I will change the recipe slightly. For example, I don't think one needs all that butter, so I will substitute milk. And the key is the sharpest cheddar I can find and more spices (or any, for that matter). J was fine with the medium cheddar, but the husband likes things a little more flavorful. The ham I'll probably keep; it was a tasty addition.
Next food update: strawberry freezer jam!