Easy Mac n’ Cheese and Waste Not ,Want Not…

Hello everyone. I did a few of my favorite things today; I brought comfort food to a friend who was not feeling well and I used leftovers to create an AWESOME meal for her, if I do say so myself! My friend, CV, likes to call leftovers “encore presentations” to make them sound a bit more enticing and I love that. It is a way to be economical and creative at the same time. If you can combine that with presenting your creation as “giftable self-expression” (that’s my friend Todd’s term), your homemade edibles , you are going to have achieved a lot for one day (at least in my world).

Many of us have been in situations where we want to show our support for a sick friend, a post partum friend or a grieving friend, with food. It can be embarrassing, guilt-invoking or frustrating to have to buy prepared food or take out because we cannot get it together to cook homemade meals for them. Many women express that they feel competitive with other women in these types of situations, feeling inadequate that they did not give more of themselves by preparing their gift of food themselves.

Well, let’s not focus on the negatives of competition or jealousy! Let’s focus on what is important, reaching our own goals, and looking within. If we feel we are not all we can be in the kitchen, let’s take some time to commit to changing our ways and take small steps toward being able to provide giftable self-expression if that’s what we would like.

Let’s start with a Macaroni and Cheese that is made from really fancy cheeses leftover from your party! You know how you buy high-end cheeses for your parties, you end up with small chunks that are still fine to eat but not really aesthetically pleasing enough to put out for another gathering? Well, now you can use them in an easy dinner recipe!

High Fallutin’ Mac n’ Cheese

1 1b of cooked macaroni pasta or fussilli pasta (corkscrew pasta)
All your leftover fancy cheese chunks from your party
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs with a few Tablespoons of olive oil stirred into them
3 cups whole milk
5 TBS butter
1/2 cup white flour
nutmeg, salt and pepper

Take all your cheese and melt it in a bowl in the microwave. In a big bowl or pot,stir the melted cheese into the cooked pasta. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter and flour together and stir until combined with a whisk or a fork. Slowly add milk and keep stirring until mixture starts becoming thick. Turn off heat and add a few pinches of nutmeg, a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper or 1/4 tsp ground pepper.

Add this thickened white sauce (called Bechamel) to the pasta cheese mixture and then place in an 8 X 13 inch pan or any other pan that fits it all. Top with the breadcrumbs and place in a 425 degree oven until the cheese looks melty and the breadcrumbs start to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour. Keep checking, however, as oven temps vary. Eat immediately or bring to a friend who will not mind all the fat and calories! A little comfort food is good for us once in a while! Enjoy!

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