Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Day 180: Macaroni & Cheese

Although I'm lactose intolerant, I do still enjoy eating limited amounts of cheese in various forms, including the classic mac & cheese.  This dish is especially tasty and appealing during the cooler weather, and Mr. E and I have found ways to make it at home so it's a healthier and more complete meal.

Option #1: Safeway Eating Right Frozen Macaroni & Cheese

This frozen dinner has about 300 calories per serving, and the portion size is quite satisfying.  We usually add tuna and some sort of veggie(s), such as mushroom, broccoli, or kale, to enhance the nutritional content of the mac & cheese.  The flavor is similar to that of the classic boxed mac & cheese mix, and the texture of the sauce is nice and creamy.  Depending on how many other ingredients we add or if we have some sort of side dish, this serving size can be appropriate for either a single (me) or double (I share with Mr. E).

Option #2: Safeway Organic Packaged Macaroni & Cheese

If we have a bit more time and definitely want a duo dinner, Mr. E and I mix up a box of the Safeway organic mac & cheese using a wee bit of margarine and water or faux milk to create the sauce.  As with the first option, we always add veggies and protein as well.  Back when I still ate pork products, we'd often get lean kosher hot dogs, but now we tend to stick with tuna instead.

Option #3: Panera

We've started to rate the various mac & cheese options at local restaurants, including at the big national chain, Panera Bread.  This side dish comes in both large and small sizes, and has white cheddar sauce instead of the bright yellow of the grocery store options described above.  Both of us like the flavor and creamy texture, and the small (kid's) size is very reasonably priced.

Option #4: Cafeteria 15L

This is probably our favorite restaurant mac & cheese.  The shells look like little sombreros, the white sauce has a mix of cheeses and clings perfectly to the pasta, and the bread crumb topping adds just enough crunch to contrast with the creamy texture of the mac & cheese.  Yum!

Option #5: R15

This dish is only available on the bar menu during Happy Hour, and it seems like a pretty great deal at only $4.  However, the dish doesn't deliver on its promise.  The photo above looks very similar to the mac & cheese at Cafeteria 15L, but according to Mr. E, the flavor and texture aren't nearly as appealing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Need to get some turkey dogs!!!

How much red wine is needed to counter act the Cafeteria / R15 M&C's???

10:52 AM  
Anonymous APM said...

1: Open box of macaroni and boil.
2: Whilst macaroni is boiling, shred an even amount of gruyere and cheddar (or white cheddar)
3: Blend some kosher salt, black pepper, paprika (smoked), and onion powder (about a half teaspoon of all, I eye ball it)
4. Strain Macaroni and put into casserole dish or dutch oven
5. Make a light roux, don't let it get too dark
6. Turn heat down to med low and add milk.
7. Slowly stir in the cheese and spices until all melted and combined. It will thicken as the cheese melts. Keep stirring, bringing up to medium heat.
8. Keep STIRRING! Seriously... Keep the liquid moving.
9. Once melted, mix with macaroni.
10. Fry up some salt pork/bacon/pork belly, once crispy, add diced mushrooms and cook 1 min until done.
11. Mix into mac and cheese mixture... the bacon grease only adds love, mix that in too.
12. Top with Panko and drizzle Panko with olive oil.
13. Bake 10 min at 400 or until Panko is golden brown.
14: Heap onto plate and eat yourself silly.
15: Email APM thanking him for the food coma you are about to enter.

5:07 PM  

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