My sis’n’law is learning to cook and has asked that I share my most simple recipes with her. What she knows is most of my recipes are kid-friendly, budget conscious, made with regular in the pantry items and most don’t take longer than 30 minutes to prepare. That’s right… start to table… no more than 45 minutes tops! As a more than full time working wonder woman I walk in the door at 615 starving and I know everyone else is too. I don’t want to spend the evening in the kitchen cooking – I want to spend it blogging with my family. I know that when AK and The Z-Man get older they will be helping out and right now they are still a bit young… not giving either one of them a sharp knife to make the salad!
With a degree in Chemistry (little know fact right there) I know enough about nutrition to be dangerous concerned and alert about what we eat. For better or worse I come from a family where from scratch is the only option… I let that go for a few years but I have to admit that cake mix in a box does really nothing for me. I am always looking for those from scratch recipes that don’t require a riduclous budget of both time and money.
With my sis’n’law here this weekend I gave her a couple of recipes to get her started. My pesto pizza, crock-pot beans and corn bread, crock pot chicken, pesto chicken pasta… the one we missed was my homemade mac’n’cheese. She was surprised to here that in the time it takes the pasta to cook – I can have the cheese sauce ready to go. I made it up once to use all the little remenants of shredded cheese bags I had in the drawer of the fridge. 5 ingredients and no powdered cheese!
So, tonight we had Mac’n’Cheese, Apple Yogurt Salad, and Green Salad with Lemon Vinagrette… all in about 45 minutes… all from scratch. I think the Mac’nCheese had enough calories in it even with 2% milk… I didn’t want to add meat to the meal. I made up the Apple Salad cause I knew the boys will eat it and the apples cover my raw requirement and the nuts and raisins added some protein. The sugared yogurt covering on the raisins was enough sweet, I didn’t need to add anything else – thus fulfilling my not too much sugar ratio.
Here are the recipes:
- Box of elbow pasta (or something similar, whole wheat if you want) – 8 servings
- 3 cups cold milk
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup smoked Jack or Smoked Muenster cheese (it doesn’t have to be smoked, but it makes a big difference in the taste this dish)
- 3 cups chedder, jack, or mozzarella cheese or any mix there of (You can also do 2 cups shredded cheese, 1 cup Parmesan if you want a more tangy mac. )
- Start the water to boil to for the pasta.
- In a large sauce pan put in the cold milk and turn the heat on high. With a whisk mix in the corn starch, salt and pepper. Keep whisking until the mixture starts to boil – maybe 10 minutes.
- Somewhere in the middle the pasta water will start to boil – dump in the whole box of pasta – give it a stir now and then until it is cooked.
- Once the sauce starts to boil – keep whisking – count to 60. Turn off the heat. Drop in the butter and the cheese. Keep whisking until all the cheese it melted. Move it to a back – cold burner. Drop the lid on it.
- Drain the pasta. Put it back in the pot with a lid to keep it warm.
- Once you have the salads all ready to go. Toss the sauce on the pasta and give it a stir… your ready to go
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp course salt
- 2 tbsps lemon herd spice mix (in the spice aisle, the one I use is by McCormick… this is NOT lemon pepper!)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Put it all in a bowl or salad dressing container… mix it up!Add it to what ever kind of greens & veggie salad you can rustle up.
Apple Yogurt Salad
- 1 large granny smith apple – chopped into about 1/4 inch peices
- 1 individual serving size box of yogurt covered raisins – chopped
- 1 cup mixed nuts – chopped
- 2 heaping tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 tsp Saigon cinnamon (this cinnamon tastes more like a red hot candy than apple pie)
- Put it a bowl – mix it – serve it… eat it!
I had to hustle to get it all wrapped up quickly… I am generally moving at a Rachael Ray 30 minute meals pace for dinner anyway. I feel pretty confident that this easy, homemade meal is do-able by anyone who wants to quickly and cheaply frugally feed their family.