Easy Mac and Cheese,  not from the blue box

I always have blue boxes on hand for easy meals. We don’t resort to them much, but I am not afraid to break them out. Boxed macaroni and cheese tastes…fine. It tastes like what it is. It’s dependable.  But I wouldn’t say it tastes…good.

So over the past several years, I have toyed with homemade mac and cheese. Sometimes the sauce breaks. Sometimes it’s bland.  Or gritty.  And if I get too crazy with the cheese variety,  the kids won’t like it. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon some shortcuts that I was able to make a version that was fool proof and kid proof.

Shortcut 1: Use canned condensed cheese soup. I use Campbell’s.

Shortcut 2: Use a couple ounces of Velveeta. Just go with it. Just enough to give the sauce viscosity without giving it that overwhelming, delicious salty plastic flavor.

With these two ingredients,  I can use whatever other cheeses I want. Smoked gouda? Fontina? Pepper jack? Yeah, use them all. Shred it, add it, melt it, taste it, add milk…work with the consistency and flavors that your family loves.

Sorry for the lack of recipe.  Once you get the process down,  it’s not really necessary.  And it’s about adding the type of cheese you like and fussing with it until you get the cheese sauce of your dreams.

To make our meal tonight, I will include diced ham, and a Caesar salad.

Do you have any mac and cheese secrets?

P.S. This version of macaroni and cheese is purely for the kids. I have learned over the past few years that I must invent kids versions and adult versions of the same dish. If I was having a dinner party, my m&c would include a roux…bacon…and a delicious mixture of “adult” cheeses. “Adult” cheese sounds dirty. I’ll just leave you with that.

Doritos Taco Pizza

This is 100% for the kids. Before having them, there is no way on George Clooney’s green earth that I would make this for myself. It’s ridiculous. It’s sacrilegious to even call it taco anything. But oh, well.

Ingredients

  • 2 premade pizza crusts
  • 1 pound of ground beef, browned with taco seasoning, pepper, and Mexican Oregano
  • Some shredded cheese
  • 1 can of refried beans
  • 1 can of Enchilada sauce (el pato is life)
  • Lime
  • Cilantro
  • Crushed Doritos

Method

Brown meat with seasonings. Shred cheese. Layer thusly: first spoon on enchilada sauce. Then beans. Then a drizzle of more sauce. Then meat. Then cheese. Bake. Then add Doritos, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.