Monday, May 26, 2008

3 Moms, 3 Kitchens, 31 Days - Day 26

Today was a rather boring day food-wise around our house. I'm afraid that's how the rest of this week might be also. I guess this means I will have to be more creative and come up with brilliant and witty things to say to make up for the lack of exciting food. Starting tomorrow, I will, I promise. Honest!

I do have one tip I'd like to share for today though. If you overcook pasta, it becomes completely inedible. I think this may be the first time in my culinary career (that term may be a bit of stretch, but I'm going to run with it for now) that I have actually done this, at least this terribly. I poured the macaroni noodles into the pot of water and not only did I forget to set the timer, I also walked out of the room and got involved in another project.

Do you see that gelatinous glob of "noodles" there? This is what elbow macaroni looks like after it has been boiling for at least 20 minutes, maybe more. So, I had to pitch the whole batch of noodles and start over again. And just so you know, when it is the end of the month and I am trying to stay within my budget and I only have 1 lb. of macaroni noodles left, that is almost enough to make me cry. Half a pound of macaroni in the garbage, another half pound cooked for dinner; thus no more macaroni. Oh well. I do know how to make pasta from scratch, and I do have all the ingredients I'd need to do that. So I guess I'll be able to make do. (Or, I can just run to the store and pick up some more if I really need to!)
We did pick up a few things at the store today. This was before the macaroni fiasco, otherwise we probably would have picked up another box of those as well. Here is what we got:
2 boxes margarine - $1.30
1 gallon milk - $3.98
1 loaf bread - $1.34
1 pkg. hamburger buns - $1.00
1 dozen eggs - $1.49
TOTAL: $9.11
So we have $9.06 left for the week. We will probably need one more gallon of milk. That should not be a problem.
Today's meals consisted of leftover crepes with bananas for breakfast, pb&j's and chicken noodle soup with mandarin oranges for lunch, and sloppy joe's, macaroni and cheese, and peas for dinner. The sloppy joe meat was from the freezer, and it was a double batch so we have leftovers that will become part of dinner on Wednesday night. Because we will be having some form of sloppy joe's three times this month, it will not be on the menu at all for next month. I do try to rotate meals so that we get plenty of variety, and so that the kid's taste buds get a chance to develop fully.Even though the first batch of macaroni noodles did not turn out, I managed to salvage the second batch for homemade macaroni and cheese. I love homemade mac and cheese. This has been one of those recipes that I've tweaked quite a bit. I've also tried to learn as many hints as possible to get the best taste. The consistency of the sauce used to be too grainy and floury. I learned that it is important to cook the flour in the butter for at least a few minutes before adding the milk. This little trick has made a huge difference and the whole dish just tastes so much better now. (Thank you, Rachael Ray!)Easy Macaroni and Cheese
1/2 lb. pasta, any shape works
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. flour
1 3/4 c. milk
2 c. extra-sharp cheddar cheese (the sharper the better!)
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard - to taste
Boil pasta according to package directions, and please, set the timer! Drain pasta and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk, bring to a boil, and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring to melt. Season to taste. Pour into a 13 x 9 casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. If desired, top with 1 c. bread crumbs mixed with 1 T. melted butter before putting in the oven.
Don't forget to stop by Toni and Joy's blogs to see what happened in their kitchens' today!

4 comments:

Nancy 9:27 AM  

The mac & cheese looks good. I love homemade m&c. I can't hardly stomach the "blue box" anymore; I think I ate too much of it in college!

Cajunchic 10:18 AM  

Ohhh yum. I love homemade mac and cheese. I keep a couple of the boxes of the Annie's organic mac and cheese on hand for hubby to make a quick meal for the kids but other than that we always eat it homemade.

Alisa 1:15 PM  

Mmmm...I love homemade mac & cheese as well. It's my daughter's comfort food. She requests it anytime she's not feeling well, or if she thinks she can talk me into making it!

uwood 3:12 PM  

Your mac n cheese looks sooo good.
I would love to have your sloppy joe recipe...~hint, hint~

I've read through all your recipes and I really love the idea of making double batches and freezing one. I've done this on occasion but your blog has inspired me to make it a habit. Thanks!

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