take comfort

what's for dinner

Categories: Grains and Pasta, Dinner for Two, Supper, Well Equipped, Posted on March 17, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten

If you’re feeling on edge you are not alone. Sitting idlily with the newscasts running and our phones pinging isn’t helping. So how about a little distraction that’s part preparedness? One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is homemade mac and cheese. This creamy concoction with a crisp edge is sure to soothe the weariest of souls. An added bonus- you can make a double batch, portion it out, for it freezes beautifully. 

And don’t let a trip to the grocery store make your anxiety soar. You can make this recipe with almost any small tubular dry pasta. So don’t panic if you don’t see what want on the grocery shelves. Truly any pasta will do. 

One of my favs is small shells. But you could use elbow macaroni, penne, cavatelli, heck you could break up spaghetti. The point is not to get worked up about making what is supposed to comfort you.

For my favorite mac and cheese portion out six ounces uncooked dried elbow or small shell pasta.

And if you don’t have a kitchen scale you really should. I use mine constantly. Ordering one online might be a fun stay at home activity.

Dice up four ounces each of white American, yellow American, and swiss cheese. Again, don’t flip if you can’t find what you want, really twelve ounces of cheese will do, but this combo melts beautifully.

Place the diced cheese and one cup whole milk in a 4-cup microwavable measuring cup or bowl.

Microwave on high stirring frequently.  

Until melted, about three minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the package and drain. Return to the warm pot. Combine the pasta and the cheese sauce.

Stir over medium to medium-low heat until combined and beginning to absorb, about two to three minutes. 

It will seem soupy at first, but trust me it will soon absorb all the liquid as it cools in the pot. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. 

The macaroni and cheese can be made ahead of time. Cool and place in a buttered ovenproof dish. Cover and refrigerate. To serve preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir in milk, one tablespoon at a time, if the pasta needs moisture. 

Sprinkle with crushed croutons. 

But if you don’t have croutons you could use crushed crackers or even potatoes chips, but you might want to sprinkle these on at the end of the cooking time so they don’t burn.

Loosely cover with foil and back until heated through about 20-30 minutes.

After 20 minutes remove the foil and continue to bake for 10 minutes until bubbly and brown. You can also heat this up in microwave, but it really does taste better if you bake it in the oven.

This recipe also freezes well. Portion the macaroni and cheese into freezer containers, cover and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Then reheat according to the directions above. In a pinch you can thaw it in the microwave on 50% power, stirring frequently.

So whether you are home alone or with those you hold dear, serve up a little dish of love and take comfort. 

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