Macaroni and Cheese

We’ve got a guest, so I wanted something quick but still kind of indulgent, and we had the ingredients for mac and cheese.

Ingredients:

  • flour
  • butter
  • taco seasoning
  • salt, pepper, garlic
  • milk
  • cream cheese
  • shredded taco cheese
  • macaroni

Start the water boiling on high and the butter melting on medium. Add as much flour as you used butter, and let that turn into a roux. Let it cook down for a bit so it doesn’t end up tasting like flour. You should be moving on to the next step around the time your pasta water comes to a boil.

Add your spices and a splash of milk, and stir it all together so it makes a thinner paste. Add a chunk of cream cheese for additional flavor and creaminess, add some more milk, and let all of that melt together while stirring frequently.

When it comes just to a boil, turn the heat down and add all of your shredded cheese. Let it melt, stirring constantly, and by the time it’s done your pasta should be ready. Add the pasta to the sauce and serve!

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

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Wine makes everything better

I finished all of my finals, and it was amazing. I celebrated with spaghetti, meat sauce, and most of a bottle of the cheapest Cabernet Sauvignon I could see at Target.

Ingredients:

  • spaghetti
  • salt
  • pound of ground beef
  • jar of red sauce
  • some Italian seasoning
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • wine

Start browning the meat on medium-low and add a spoonful of minced garlic to it. It’ll smell delicious. While that starts up, pour yourself a glass of wine and fill a pot with water. Salt the water and put that on high on another burner.

When the meat is browned, add the jar of red sauce plus, depending on how thick you like sauce, a little bit of water. Throw on some more Italian seasoning and a generous splash of red wine, and whatever sauce you bought for as cheap as you could find it now tastes amazing. Making sauce from scratch takes hours and a lot of somehow dealing with tomato chunks, but this is a fast track to delicious.

Is the water boiling yet? Hopefully! Whenever the water comes to a boil, add however much spaghetti you want and cook according to package directions.

When the noodles are done and the sauce is hot, serve and enjoy with a well-deserved glass of wine.

Balsamic Chicken

I had peas from Thanksgiving that I’d thrown in the freezer, and I wanted to use those up while disguising the whole vegetable thing because to be honest I am not a fan of peas.

Marinade/sauce ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • lemon pepper seasoning
  • honey
  • lemon juice
  • oregano
  • basil
  • Mrs. Dash Table Blend
  • garlic
  • pepper

Other Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Peas
  • pasta

Basically throw everything that smells vaguely like a spring garden into the marinade, then add chicken. Marinate then for about four hours in the fridge or a couple hours in the fridge and then in the freeIMG_1217zer for a couple days as you admit you’re a disaster who’s gonna be eating takeout and then in the fridge again as it thaws. Whatever works.

Cut the chicken and put it in a frying pan on medium with a little more olive oil and start water for pasta.

When the chicken’s mostly done, add the (thawed) peas. Maybe a little extra balsamic vinegar, too, so you have something approximating a sauce for your noodles.

Spices

A well-stocked spice cupboard makes it easy to fancy up pretty much anything, and have a variety in one’s endless chicken-and-pasta combinations.

Well, a spice cupboard plus hot sauce and mustard. Those two are also important. Dumping a can of cream of chicken soup over whatever carb you scrounged up and calling it a meal? Add paprika and garlic and dijon and you’ll feel all fancy.

It also doesn’t have to be super expensive to get set up with a good spice cupboard, since if you get one thing every or every other grocery trip, you’re not going to be running out faster than you can procure.

You also don’t need to get the most expensive spices – sure, that smoked Spanish paprika smells and tastes completely amazing, but if all you want is something to add dimension to otherwise bland fare, the cheap stuff does the job.

Apple and Sausage Stuffing

Wow, this recipe sounds eerily similar to this recipe, doesn’t it? That is probably because I didn’t want to buy more pears.

Ingredients:

  • two things of sausage
  • two things of stuffing
  • a few apples
  • half a bag of dried cranberries
  • chicken stock or bouillon

This version doesn’t have butter because you’re cooking everything in one pot, so you have sausage fat to go use. Get out a fairly big pot with a lid.

Cook the sausage in it! While that’s cooking, slice up the apples. When the sausage is done, throw in the apples, cranberries, and however much chicken stock the back of your box of stuffing tells you to, or water plus bouillon. Bring that to a boil, add your stuffing, briefly mix (basically turn it over so you don’t get dry bits of stuffing), and remove from heat. Put a lid on and let it sit for five minutes. Ta-dah!