I’ve had 3 days without a full time job now. People keep telling me to have fun “doing nothing” all day, but if you know me at all, you know that’s just not how I roll. For months (years?) I’ve had a million things I was hoping I’d have time or energy to do but never did. And now I feel like it’s my chance. I’ve been cleaning, scrubbing, planning, shopping, blogging, tweeting, facebook-ing (and apparently making up words)… and learning. I’m learning that there is a whole other world out there during the 9-5 time slot. A world where people move a lot slower, A LOT slower. Where housewives like telling you (a complete stranger!) all about how much money they spent decorating their house while trying to bargain with the sales clerk on the price of a picture frame (she didn’t budge). And where between traffic and “story telling” all of this results in your errands taking over 6 hours (!!) and that’s without a trip to the gym, a stop for lunch (some pretzels, an apple and an Ikea soft serve count as lunch, right?) or a minute of tv watching. Forget about your dreams of having an elaborate dinner ready for Adam every night when he gets home.
A recipe for a quick and light mac & cheese to the rescue!
I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Weeknight light mac & cheese
Largely based on Cook’s Illustratt ed The Best Light Recipe
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 8 oz dry macaroni
- 12 oz can of reduced fat evaporated milk
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
- 8 oz 50% light cheddar cheese, such as Cabot – shredded
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 slices bacon (I used fresh bacon from Stillman’s which tasted more like pork tenderloin than smoky bacon… I think real cured bacon would be really nice here)
- Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
- Fry bacon, then pat dry between paper towels and dice. Discard bacon fat.
- Bring a mixture of evaporated milk, 1/2 cup milk, dry mustard, garlic powder and cayenne to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
- Add in frozen peas.
- Whisk cornstarch with the remainder of milk. Add to the evaporated milk + peas mixture.
- Continue whisking until the sauce is thickened. Take off heat.
- Whisk in shredded cheddar cheese, then macaroni.
- Let the mac & cheese rest for about 5 minutes so the sauce is absorbed into the macaroni.
- Stir in bacon. Adjust for seasoning, if needed.
I was impatient so my first serving was a bit runny but still creamy and definitely plenty cheesy. The sauce really thickened up overnight so the leftovers were spot on.
What are you latest favorite recipes for busy nights?