Damp, chilly days require stick-to-your-ribs, tasty comfort food. Sheila and I like to combine weekend shopping trips with lunch at the local all-comfort-food diner, but sometimes the winter weather keeps us home. During a couple of rough weeks with sleet, snow, and ice pounding the area, we needed a LOT of comfort food, but the roads were dicey and we elected to stay indoors. What did we do? We came up with our own version of the meatloaf we had enjoyed so often downtown. The owner wouldn’t share his secret recipe and laughed when we asked, but we did a bunch of taste-testing and we think we came pretty close. There were no bodies lying on the floor after we ate, so we must have gotten it right. Try it and see for yourself. 🙂
The temperatures are cooling off and comfort food takes center stage at our house. We fend off the chill with body warming soup and hearty sandwiches during the Fall and Winter, but every once in a while, we like mac & cheese. It works for lunch or dinner.
I like to taste test the new versions with different goodies added to the mix, but there is a basic recipe that Sheila uses (and even I can make) that is fail-safe. We sometimes prepare it ahead and serve it as a side dish if we’re expecting a crowd.
A couple of thoughts: It looks like a lot of instructions, but you’re boiling noodles, grating cheese, making a sauce, and putting it together in layers – like lasagna. No bodies were found while making the latest batch. Promise. 🙂
Here’s our famous Mac & Cheese recipe:
Ingredients for noodles
1 8 oz box small elbow noodles
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon butter or margarine for boiling water, to keep noodles from clumping
1 teaspoon butter for tossing noodles
Ingredients for white sauce
4 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
pinch ground black pepper
12 oz. Sharp Cheddar, grated
2 cups Croutons, seasoned (we use the garlic & herb variety)
Optional – 1 cup Bacon, crisp, crumbled
Optional – Whole tomato
Preheat oven to 375.
While noodles are boiling, prepare the white sauce
As the sauce thickens, stir to keep it from sticking to the pot and/or clumping.
It is ready when it is the consistency of creamy gravy.
Add pinch of black pepper.
Remove from heat and set aside. It will thicken a bit more while sitting.
Use a 2-quart baking dish. You will be assembling the mac & cheese in layers (like lasagna).
Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on bottom of baking dish.
Spread 1/3 of the noodles in the bottom.
Spread 1/3 of the remaining white sauce on the noodles.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese on top of the sauce.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the croutons on top of the cheese.
Repeat the layers twice more, but with the top layer, crumble the remaining croutons and spread evenly on top.
Bake at 375 until heated through and cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes, no lid.
Serve with salad.
Create a well in the center of a whole tomato and serve mac & cheese in it.
Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of mac & cheese as a garnish.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 20 minutes
This year our football and baseball playoff parties may be at home, but it’s still time for great food, easy to make for a group of ten.
We both like black beans in several dishes, so we decided to make black bean soup, but added diced tomatoes and lentils for texture and color. This soup is so thick that it can be used as a topping for rice or pasta.
I ate it like chili, in a bowl, and there was very little soupy liquid. Don’t want it that thick? Just add water.
We made so much while testing the recipe, that I gave some to the neighbors to try. They lived. Promise! 🙂
This one bubbles and pops, so keep the lid on.
Optional garnish: sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
Add meat and/or serve over rice/pasta for a delicious, filling, main dish.
A scoop on top of a baked potato would be delish!
Watch the game, and enjoy! 🙂