I think that just about any child would be satisfied with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, for dinner whether as a side or even the main course, even if it needs some extra flavorings. I sure did, although I would frequently add Ranch dressing to mine.
However, as children transition to teens and then adults, their tastebuds change and grow more complex.
I know that in my mid-thirties (at the time of composing this piece) any kind of instant macaroni and cheese dinner is way too bland and sometimes not even some high-end Ranch dressing can help it.
So, back in the latter parts of 2020, I was hanging out with my then neighbors (I say then because we are no longer neighbors due to the wicked deeds of a woman named Ida.)
They were given a bag of plain elbow pasta and were wondering how to make it into a worthwhile meal.
Since I had begun to cook for them around that time, I came up with a wonderful version of macaroni and cheese that I will share the recipe thereof in this piece.
First here are the ingredients that you will need:
Dried Elbow or Shell Pasta.
Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago Cheese Blend.
Red and Green Sweet Bell Pepper Flakes.
Table Salt (only if you choose not to use Bacon.)
The Seasoning Base:
First of all, take a decent-sized saucepan and cover the bottom with Olive Oil.
Next, add the Bell Pepper Flakes, Basil, Black Pepper, and Olive Oil, then take at least two strips of bacon, cutting them into one-inch squares. In order to know when you have enough seasonings, you must not be able to easily see the bottom of the saucepan. Sautee the mixture, stirring frequently until everything is caramelized.
Once the seasoning base is caramelized, add whole milk to the saucepan until it is 5/8 full.
Combine Shredded Mild Cheddar along with the Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago Cheese Blend. Add enough until the milk is no longer pure white. Then add a liberal amount of Parsley.
If you chose to forego using bacon, this would be the time to add salt to taste. It will require a considerable amount of salt, though, in my humble and honest opinion.
Lower the fire and stir almost continuously until the sauce is thick, then put the fire on the lowest setting and keep stirring though not as much.
Take another pot and fill with water and bring to a boil.
Add the Shell or Elbow Pasta and a few drops of Olive Oil.
Boil until pasta is soft.
Drain pasta in a colander whilst running cold water (this is to preserve the drain seals of your kitchen sink.)
Place pasta back into the pot, give the sauce a couple of vigorous stirs then combine sauce and pasta.
Mix until all is well blended.
Serve and enjoy.
This is a great side dish to entrees such as pork chops or fried chicken or baked barbecued chicken. Another side item I would highly recommend with such a meal is sweet peas, which I have been meaning to post my recipe for them to this blog as well.
You can also refrigerate this dish overnight, reheat it in your microwave oven and serve it the next day. It will taste even better because all of the flavors were given a chance to fuse properly.
I remember a former in-law of my then neighbors commenting on how I should be a gourmet chef after she tasted this creation of mine.
I explained to her that not even a gourmet chef would make the necessary amount of money or have the required benefits needs to meet my medical needs. And if that weren’t enough I know due to my mental limitations, I cannot withstand the amount of pressure that is associated with such an occupation nor could I take the back pain from standing all day and moving pots continuously. I have no Culinary Arts degree, rather I am all self-taught. I must needs admit acknowledge that my ability to cook is indeed a gift imparted to me from God Almighty!
All in all, I hope that you, the reader, have been inspired by the culinary creation and always I hope you have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.
May God richly bless you as He has blessed me!