Just call me Larry Gross: Cheap MasterChef.
I buy boxed macaroni and cheese because it doesn’t cost a lot. I don’t usually get the Kraft brand. Most of the time, the store brand will do.
It tastes OK, but over a period of time, it tastes a little boring. Now, through trial and error, I’ve discovered you can casserole up your boxed macaroni and cheese. I’ve been doing it for the past couple years now.
Just buy a box of macaroni and cheese and follow the stove top instructions listed on the back of the box. Have the stuff you need ready— a large saucepan, that six cups of water, ¼ cup of margarine and ½ cup of 2% milk. I never get hung up on these measurements—just kind of guess.
While the water reaches a boil and then while the macaroni is cooking, I’m busy doing other things. I’ll either find a can of tuna or salmon or chicken in my cupboard, then I’ll go looking for a can of peas and carrots.
In my refrigerator, if I’m lucky, I’ll find some fresh mushrooms and some green or red peppers and a white onion. I cut up some of the mushrooms, peppers and onions into small pieces. I don’t measure any of this. I cut up what I feel like. There are no hard and fast rules here.
I drain the can of tuna or salmon or chicken I’m using (if you buy it in a pouch, you don’t need to drain) and also the can of peas and carrots. By the time you get this all done, your macaroni is probably finished cooking.
Turn off the burner. Drain the macaroni and return it to the saucepan. Toss inside all your ingredients—the margarine, the milk, the kind of seafood or poultry you’re using (tuna, salmon or chicken), the peas and carrots and the cut up mushrooms, peppers and onions. Then add that powered cheese and start stirring, mixing all your ingredients thoroughly together.
Your macaroni casserole will make you at least two dinners and a lunch. It tastes just fine when you microwave the leftovers. Two minutes should do it. Sprinkling grated parmesan cheese on top of your casserole dish adds even more flavor to it.
So don’t think of that box of macaroni and cheese in your cupboard as being boring. There are always ways to turn boring into something a little more interesting and tasty.
(Photo from cookinglight.com)