Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Road Recipe: Mac and Cheese

Who doesn't love mac and cheese? I know my husband is obsessed with it, and we always have plenty of boxes of Annie's mac and cheese in the cupboard for his go-to bachelor meals when i don't want to cook. Annie's has several varieties that include organic pasta and real cheese. The ingredient lists are short and wholesome, and although a box of mac has more calories than i need on a frequent basis, it's a great option for camping or quick weeknight fixes.  I never make it as is, though. You know me, i like to mix it up. My stovetop mac methods include playing with additional herbs or veggies, meat and oil. I also like to add more cheese. For our first night on the road at South Llano River State Park i made our mac thusly:
  • 2 boxes Annies mac and cheese - Cheddar shells
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Chopped jalapenos
  • Dash smoked paprika
  • Big spoonful of ricotta cheese
  • Large can tuna

I usually cook the pasta about 1-2 minutes shy of the box directions, about 7-9 minutes total. I usually throw half the jalapenos in the boiling water and the other half at the end. If i'm using sausage or hot dogs, i chop them and add them to the water first. Throw in the pasta, bring to a boil and cook then drain. Add the tuna first, then the milk, any oil (truffle oil!!!) or butter if you're using it and the cheese dust and remaining peppers. Stir well then mix in the cheese. I often do the cheese mixing right in the bowl i'm serving in so as not to dirty the pasta pot. When using tuna, i like to put it in first so that it warms up with the residual pot warmth, then add the cold milk etceteras.  Add chopped cheddar last if using so that you get yummy globs of not-totally-melted cheese here and there. The ricotta totally made this batch: creamier than normal and very flavorful.

Some other variations i like:
  • Tuna and Peas with Peace Parmesan (my favorite!)
  • Buddy's Chicken Sausage with extra cheddar and jalapenos
  • White Cheddar Shells with truffle oil and dried basil

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