I’m a proponent of cooking at home for financial, nutritional, and self-satisfactory reasons. However, we all have our lazy nights or weeks (or months?) when you just don’t feel up for cooking an elaborate meal. I’ve been sick and working a lot more at my non-superhero day job lately, so there’s been a precipitous drop in the quality and quantity of dishes I’ve been cooking for dinner.
However! It was during one of these bouts of laziness that I discovered the recipe for stovetop mac and cheese. This basically allows you the creamy deliciousness of baked mac but without the baking. I’m not claiming by any means that this is as good as baked macaroni and cheese”¦but its close enough that you can make it on a lazy night and feel a little more accomplished than if you just buttered some pasta.
Also, if you’d like to really make a meal out of this, you can add some veggies and/or chicken. I usually zap some frozen chopped broccoli in the microwave and toss it in at the end. Same with the chicken: if we’re taking true Lazy Night, you can use those pre-cooked chicken strips and warm them up in the microwave too.
As is always the case when a McDoogal is involved, this dish comes from Joy of Cooking. The recipe list is short and basic enough that you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen at any given time. The consistency is really creamy, and the spice really adds a nice kick to it. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses, or mixing in a little plain yogurt, for example, to get a different flavor.
Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
Cook in a large pot of boiling salted water:
2 cups (8 ounces) elbow macaroni (side note: if you’re using any add-ins, microwave them while the pasta’s cooking, and get some of the ingredients below ready to stir in)
Drain and return to the pot. Add:
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Stir until well blended. Add and stir well:
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
3 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded (12 ounces)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard dissolved in 1 teaspoon hot water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper, or to taste
Set the pot over very low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth and the pasta is steaming, 5 to 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken noticeably. Do not overheat, or the sauce will curdle.