Archives for category: Side dish

Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? Especially when you’re a kid and it’s from that wonderful blue box, right? Well, not if you’re Wing. Wing claims he’s always disliked macaroni and cheese and it makes me very sad because I personally love the stuff whether it’s from the ever-famous blue box or homemade. Even though Wing doesn’t eat it, I always keep a box or two of Kraft macaroni and cheese because I grew up eating it and will still get the hankering for it nowadays.

Thankfully that little blue box was in the cupboard one day when Wing and I had no plans for dinner. The box seemed to jump from its shelf and say, “eat me.” We also wanted to use up some frozen meatballs, and I then remembered that I have a recipe that calls for ground beef and macaroni and cheese. So we used that recipe as a base but enhanced it by using the meatballs instead of the beef and adding a few ingredients of our own.

After one bite of this recipe, Wing was a new macaroni and cheese convert. He loved it! He even went so far as to ask me why macaroni and cheese hadn’t been in his life when he was a kid. I can’t exactly help him with his deprived past, but I can help his future become enriched with the cheesy goodness. And so we have had a few macaroni and cheese dinners since then, all rather non-conventional, but very tasty and Wing was impressed that he was actually loving the mac and cheese.

So for this Themed Thursday, I present to you the Wing-approved macaroni and cheese recipes. But we are far from finished with experimenting in the kitchen. Oh, and these recipes are beyond easy to make!

Mac_and_cheese

Macaroni and cheese with meatballs

  • 1 package macaroni and cheese dinner
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 5-6 store-bought meatballs, diced  (I used Aidells)
  • 1 can (roughly 4 oz) tomato sauce
  • Dash of salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder

Prepare dinner as directed. Lightly sauté pepper and onion. Add meatballs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add macaroni and cheese. Simmer 5-10 minutes.

Southwestern macaroni and cheese

  • 1 package macaroni and cheese dinner
  • 1 cup cooked pollo asado (I used Del Real)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese

Prepare dinner as directed. Heat chicken as directed. Mix all ingredients together until cheese melts.

Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese

  • 1 package macaroni and cheese dinner
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery (optional)

Prepare dinner as directed. Heat chicken. Mix all ingredients together.

 

Every once in a while, I’ll go through my collection of cookbooks that are gathering dust on my bookshelves and pull some out that I haven’t really used since purchasing. Just a bit ago, I decided to do this again. I found a ton of magazines that were awaiting their turns to be recognized and used. The chicken recipe comes from one of those. It’s a “Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications” magazine called 5-Ingredient Meals from 2008. I changed the recipe up a bit, mainly using fewer shallots, which this blog reflects, so feel free to add more depending on your taste. As a side, I made couscous using a recipe (click here for original recipe) I found on allrecipes.com. Each dish was bursting with flavor and they tasted great together.

Chicken Couscous

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Shallots

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-in slices
  • Parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Reduce to med. Add chicken. Brown on both sides. Add shallots to skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook covered for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring shallots occasionally. Transfer chicken and shallots to a serving platter. Cover to keep warm. Add zucchini to skillet. Saute for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add to platter with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

Company Couscous

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 dash balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (we didn’t have Parmesan so I used Mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Stir couscous into boiling water and return water to a boil. Cover and remove pot from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

While couscous is cooking, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic, green onions, and peppers. Saute briefly. Stir in tomatoes, basil, cooked couscous, and salt and pepper. Mix together and transfer to a 1 1/2-qt casserole dish. Splash some balsamic vinegar on top.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese while still warm.

It’s been almost two weeks since my surgery and I’m finally sitting down to start blogging again. Part of it’s procrastination, I’ll admit, but part of it is because I’m a little like a cat. I eat, I sleep, I wake up to patter around a bit, then I eat again, then go to sleep. It’s really not that bad, I exaggerate slightly. When I say I patter around a bit, I’ve gone shopping or just out for a walk for a bit of exercise, played video games with Mars (he claims to have purchased the PS4 specially for me so I would be entertained during my recovery…), or watched TV with Wing. But I get tired easily because of the surgery so I usually go on one small excursion a day with my mom, then it’s back home to rest.

Anyway, as this is a food blog, I’ll get to the point. I’ve eaten a lot of foods in this time (in the first few days, I felt sooo hungry!), but most of it wasn’t wow-worthy (like cottage cheese and yogurt or not-so-tasty but edible homemade split pea soup) so it won’t make it on my blog. Actually, this scalloped potato recipe isn’t wow-worthy either, and normally it would be a Friday Failure (as it sort of bubbled over and out of its dish while cooking and the potatoes weren’t completely soft), but it’s perio-diet approved and it wasn’t bad for a quick and easy side (for a recipe that usually takes about an hour in the oven), so I decided to post it anyway.

Scalloped potatoes

You can see where the sauce spilled over into the microwave

I found the recipe in one of my mom’s old cookbooks (1979 to be exact). It’s a microwave cookbook called The Microwave Guide and Cookbook brought to you by General Electric, Co (or more commonly known as GE). Below is my version of their recipe.

Quick scalloped potatoes

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt & pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder *
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups thinly sliced white potatoes (about 3 medium)
  • 1-2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • Paprika (optional)

In melted butter, mix flour and seasonings. Gradually stir in milk. Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes.

Layer half of potatoes, half the sauce, and half the cheese in greased 2-qt (microwavable) casserole dish. Repeat layers. Cover. Microwave on high for 17-19 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.

* If you’d rather use minced onion (the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons), layer them with the potatoes (I simply forgot to chop any because I had a surgery-addled brain so I opted to use powder last minute).