Fancier Mac n’ Cheese

7 Apr

Dear Zoe,

When we were both still living in Brooklyn and I was mostly eating beer and ice cream for dinner, I remember you suggested I try Ramen. I believe I thought that would be too unhealthy (as though I were in a position to complain) but you suggested that I could add healthy vegetables, like frozen spinach and mushrooms and peas and green onions.  Add a little Siracha sauce (was it you or Caroline that liked to call it Hot Cock after the rooster logo?) and you’ve got a lazy meal fit for a queen.  Nina and I applied this genius to the other college stand-by: Macaroni and Cheese.

It’s quite as good, so I thought I’d return the favor.  Because, food blogger or no, sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking.

Lots of love,

Mac n’ Cheese is delicious.  This is so universal an opinion it is basically a fact and anyone who disagrees please post a comment justifying your unnatural point of view – I am very interested.  The best mac n’ cheese, I learned while living and working in Brooklyn, is made from scratch (the cheesy sauce, anyway) and good luck finding anyone who will share their recipe with you unless you also share their blood.

Plenty of food blogs offer their mac n’ cheese secrets should you like to make a fancy version.  The method I am about to share, however, does not exactly make for fancy mac n’ cheese … it’s just fancier.

What you will need:

1 box Annie’s Organic or Kraft Conventional Macaroni (yep, the ones with the powder cheese!)
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. frozen corn
2 T butter
3 T milk
1/2 c. grated cheese (medium cheddar, american, colby … nothing too strong)
3 t ketchup
1 T Frank’s hot sauce (Franks has a great, tangy flavor, but other hot sauces, or even BBQ sauces, would work)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Boil the noodles according to the instructions on the box.  Meanwhile, heat the frozen peas and corn with the butter in a small sauce pot on medium heat.  Once the peas and corn are thawed and the butter is bubbling, add the milk plus the grated and powdered cheeses and reduce the heat to low.  Stir constantly.  Add the pepper.  You may choose to add the ketchup and hot sauce to this faux-roux or serve them on the side.

Once the noodles are cooked al dente, strain and return to pot.  Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and stir until evenly coated.  Serve with salad, beer, baked beans, BBQ, jerk chicken, goat … you get the idea.

Or, just eat it alone! It’s a great-tasting lazy meal for one person or two.


11 Responses to “Fancier Mac n’ Cheese”

  1. Zoe April 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Genius, my friend. I’m glad you took it a step further! This may inspire me to get out of my “popcorn-for-dinner” funk, even if just for prepackaged noodles and veggies!

  2. Julia April 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Becky, your writing style is great. I was laughing most of the time I was reading, while considering if peas and mac could be good. You win. I’ll try it.

    • Zoe April 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

      Girl, if you haven’t had mac ‘n peas, you are missing out. Childhood staple.

  3. Emma April 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Thank you for relieving me of my guilt over boxed mac n cheeze cravings the past few weeks! I think I’ll finally give in. This used to be a stand-by meal when I was in grad school. I especially liked it with green beans and a little parmesan.

  4. Emily April 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Hey, I share my mac & cheese recipe with everyone who crosses my path, whether or not they express any interest, because I like to brag. It is yummy, and easy, and I will send it to you if you need it. It has no green things though.

    • Bec April 13, 2011 at 12:53 am #

      It’s true. Emily makes the best mac n’ cheese I’ve ever had save the mac n’ cheese Ms. Mabrey made for our staff Thanksgiving at Ebbets Field Middle School in November, 2009.

      • Zoe April 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

        Will Emily share the recipe with us?!

  5. Caroline April 12, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    It’s “Cock Sauce” not “Hot Cock”
    Am I right or am I right? Zoe?
    Leave it to me to comment on the cock part of this eloquent entry…

    • Zoe April 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      Yes, CC you are totally right.

  6. Zoe October 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I would like it to be noted, via internet that Siracha can indeed, be added to boxed mac ‘n cheese. In fact, it should always be added to boxed mac ‘n cheese. Bec, I’m not sure what this Frank’s hot sauce is, but you should scrap it. Much love, Z.


  1. “All By Myself” Remix: Food Edition (feat. hotdogs) « The People v. Picket Fence - May 31, 2012

    […] you are a close follower of this blog, you may remember from a while back a post suggesting ways to fancy-fy your box macaroni. If, upon reading that post, you thought to yourself, “Yeah, that’s […]

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