Mac ‘N Cheese

Mac ‘N Cheese

If you mention you had Mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner amongst my work colleagues there would be gasps of horror! “oh my goodness, so much cheese”,” so many carbs”….”I just could not indulge like that”.  Any of those comments sound familiar?

So if you want to avoid those types of comments, just don’t mention it, or call it something else!

It was my birthday last month, and as we were not able to eat out, I figured I could treat myself to this family favourite – and somewhat classic dish!

Ingredients:

  • 250grams macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 3 cups Tasty or Colby cheese, grated
  • 4 slices streaky bacon, chopped roughly
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs, Japanese breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot to the boil with a dash of salt, and add dry pasta. Cook until al dente – or cooked ‘firm to the bite’. Drain and add a little olive oil to the cooked pasta to ensure it does not stick to each other.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat then add the flour and cook for three minutes. Add the milk, stirring constantly until thick and smooth – I use a whisk for this. Add two cups of grated cheese, and your seasoning. Remove from the heat, and set to the side.

Add a little cooking oil and over a medium heat sauté the bacon and onions for 10 minutes or until they’re starting to colour. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for two more minutes.

At this stage, I combine the bacon and onion mix with the cheese sauce in the pot with the cooked pasta. Mix it well.

Transfer to an oven-proof dish. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for 15 minutes – or until the cheese and breadcrumbs are golden.

Serves 4

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You can whip up a big dish of Mac ‘N Cheese very economically, which is also a great benefit for those of you with a tribe of teenagers to feed. A packet of dry pasta is less than $2, and this will go a long distance. Leave out the bacon, and add extra vegetables – you can chop up a broccoli, or grate a carrot and zucchini into this, and get away with it!

Don’t wait for a special occasion to treat yourself and the family to a delicious Mac ‘N Cheese dinner; add it to a family menu for a quick and easy week night meal the teenagers will devour in a flash. One word of warning however; make plenty as they will be back for seconds!

Happy teen – happy mum xx

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Kai Si Ming – an old family dish!

Kai Si Ming – an old family dish!

Kai Si Ming is an Asian-inspired one-pan mince and rice dinner and something that I have not had since a kid (and that is some years ago now!)

I was reminded of this old family dish when I saw that Maggi – who are an international brand of seasonings, instant soups and noodles –   have made a packet meal of it.

I thought ‘fancy that!’ –  you don’t need to buy the packet mix because you will have the ingredients in your pantry, and best of all, you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand.

A bit of research online told me Kai Si Ming hit the NZ dinner scene sometime in the 60s, when recipes for it started popping up in women’s magazines, Plunket newsletters and the like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 450 g mincemeat
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1cup uncooked rice
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup broccoli, pieces
  • 2 stalks of celery, celery
  • 1 chopped red capsicum
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded 

Heat the oil in a large pan (I use my wok)

Cook the onion until soft, then add the mince and brown.

Add Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, rice and boiling water.

Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add frozen peas and broccoli, celery and simmer for about 10 minutes

Add shredded cabbage and turn off the heat. Leave to stand with a lid on for about 5 minutes.

Serve in bowls.

** Use any vegetables that you have on hand

**Substitute the rice for noodles if you prefer.IMG_0299.JPG

If you are a child born in the 1960’s in New Zealand, your mum will have her version of this dish in her recipe book somewhere. I think mine is pretty close to my mum’s – I’ll have to ask her if I got it right!

What is a dish you can remember from your childhood that you haven’t had since then? It might be time to resurrect it and share it with your family, and make a new memory.

Happy foody memories xx