Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Desperate Momma's Macaroni & Cheese

The last thing my son said to me as he left for school:  "Mom, can you please make homemade macaroni for dinner?"  Before even processing the request, I answered with a resounding "Sure, bud!" 

Problem: We just returned from vacation and it didn't register that my pantry and fridge were down to survival mode status. No OJ.  No bread.  No milk.  It was a cold, sleety, dismal day out and I just didn't have the get-up-and-go to make it to the grocery store. I hate going to the grocery store when the weather is inclimate. Misery is going to and from the car and then standing out in the mess while putting the bags in the car.  Then, just when you think it is over, you've gotta do it again when you get home!  Well, unless you can park your car in the garage, which is always an iffy situation around here.

In desperation, I scoured my food sources and came up with a rag-tag provision of ingredients. A memory flash zipped through my mind of my mom's own desperate attempt at dinner when I was a child. Her final product: Cheese (Velveeta) & Spaghetti. It soon became one of our staple stand-bys.  Back in my day, True Blue Texans always had a brick of Velveeta on hand! Or, at least, Mom did.

Speaking of Texans: after I made the sauce for my Desperate M & C, I taste-tested it and promptly grabbed my bag of tortilla chips.  Ahhh....creamy, cheesy deliciousness!  My mind drifted to a loftier idea for my luscious sauce:  just stir in a can of Rotel (another must-have in the Texas pantry) and y'all have a really amazing queso dip! 

Now here's the rub with this recipe--I love it so much that now I am going to have to go to the grocery store next time I want to make it and don't have the ingredients!

Now to laundry:  I wonder how desperate I will have to get to actually finish it today?  I'll have to go count how many pairs of clean socks there are in my kids' drawers.  Does it really matter if the match?

Desperate Momma's Macaroni & Cheese
8 oz dry pasta cooked (whatever shape you've got)
3 TBL butter
3 TBL flour
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ small white onion minced
1 cup 2 % Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
4 Slices 2 % American Cheese
½ cup 2 % Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Italian Bread Crumbs

Cook pasta.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour until combined.  Gradually stir in Evaporated Milk and stir constantly with whisk.  Stir in sour cream and continue to stir until smooth.  Stir in salt, pepper and onion.  Gradually add cheese and stir until cheese melts.  You may think it is lumpy, like I did, but then you will realize that it is just the onions.  Mix cheese sauce with pasta.  Spoon into a 2-quart baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes while you lick the spoon and bowl you used.  Better yet, grab those tortilla chips!

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