Before you get all nervous based on the post title that I’m taking this blog in an altogether different direction, please remember that the girl* writing this is the same one who needs her arm twisted to have even one glass of wine on a school night and whose most common “I drank to much last night” side effects are a strong craving for plain, roasted chicken and a general sense of malaise. The food in this post is for all. [It's just especially good for some.]
*Technically, I’m not a small child…but don’t you find it odd to call yourself a woman? I don’t think I’m one of those really either…perhaps a lady…or a belle (Southern preferably)?
In honor of the weekend upon us, I am going to present you with a cure-all for something some of you might experience over the course of the next couple of days, depending on your interest and enjoyment in drinking beverages of the “adult” variety. Trust me, take a bite out of this——and, while you still might feel a little ill…at least you’ll also be happy.
I’ve mentioned my roommates a lot, and if you haven’t figured out yet, they tend to love the night life, Alicia Bridges style, a wee bit (whole lot, whatever) more than I do. [I mean, last weekend, one of them said, as she went to bed at midnight, "Wait. I'm going to bed and SARAH'S STILL AWAKE?!?!"]
Being the best (and most humble) roommate ever, I cook and bake for them on occasion, and their favorite thing I have ever made was the macaroni and cheese I made during post-Halloween “lethargy” [read: hangovers]……from the remnants of the Pumpkin Cheese Ball I’d made for my Pumpkin Party.One of my roomies (let’s call her ‘N’) loved it so much that she talked about it for weeks afterward (no joke, one of her best friends told me she was doing so), and I even had to attempt a recreation one Friday night after unearthing the last remaining portion of the original “ball.” Sadly, we had no small pasta, so I improvised with broken lasagna noodles…….and toasted Sourdough bread. (I’m nothing if not inventive [slash] creative [slash] a culinary genius.)It tasted kind of like mac & cheese fondue…so yes, AMAZING.
[Thank you, Shades of Blue]
Clearly, it’s not realistic to expect cheese balls to be pre-made and at-the-ready for any and all Mac & Cheese Emergencies*…so I had to turn that cheeseball into a stand-alone sauce for a little something I like to call…
*Yes, I did feel that that state of affairs should be capitalized.
[Yes, you should listen to the song while you read this, make this, and eat this.]
While my dear friend Molly from college has mastered the art of the stovetop blue box variety of mac & cheese (real butter, best eaten straight from the pot while lamenting the harsh way boys treat us), I like to think that this might be the perfect non-blue-box variety.
To quote ‘N’: “Best. Mac. And. Cheese. Ever.” (Repeated 10 times throughout the course of the day…and the following evening when she returned to the fridge for the leftover cheese sauce and made it AGAIN.)
[Note: Before we go any further, YES, I am aware that technically this should be called "pasta and cheese sauce" or something, because I have yet to actually use macaroni...but really, people....really?]
…and a box of the pasta of your choice—and since I probably should state the obvious in that this is in no way a healthy recipe*, you might as well use white, enriched, no-real-nutrient pasta while you’re at it.
[These were the coolest noodles EVER by the way...they literally unravel if you pull the end of them. So not only were you eating well...you got to PLAY with your food too. ]
You will also need 2 cups of milk…
…and liberal dashes of ground red (cayenne) pepper and paprika.
[Also a little S & P, but those always seem to show up late to the party, when the camera's been put away (or the photos no longer make sense....if you know what I mean).]
So then you pretty much dump the pasta into boiling water and melt the cheeses together in milk you’ve brought to a bubble on the stove. Drain the pasta, and pour it directly in the cheese sauce (unless you don’t like uber-cheesiness, in which case you’ll want to pour the pasta back in it’s OWN pot and add the cheese sauce to your liking). Remember: cheese sauces thicken up as they cool, so make it a little saucier than you think you should.
Or ever, really.
(Oh How) “Happy” Hangover Mac & Cheese
1 16 oz. box pasta [preferably rotini, trottole, or something with 'grooves' ]
2 cups milk
16 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz. chive-and-onion cream cheese
paprika, ground red (cayenne) pepper, garlic powder, salt, pepper [all spices to taste...about 1-2 tsp. each]
1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk to a bubble.
2. Meanwhile, bring a second pot (big enough for the entire box of pasta) of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. [That means "however you like it cooked."]
3. Into the milk, add the cheeses, and paprika, cayenne, salt, and black pepper.
4. Stir until all the cheese is melted. Taste every so often….just to be sure you like it.
5. Drain the pasta and pour it either directly into the cheese sauce, or back into it’s pot….to which you would then add the cheese sauce.