As you are reading this my husband and I are in Key West FL for good friends of ours wedding. My son is home taking care of the house, dog and my husband’s construction business. While I know he will never go hungry I still wanted to make sure he didn’t survive on takeout pizza. He must have been thinking the same thing as he asked me if I would teach him how to make a few dishes. The funny part of this is we both were thinking the same dishes. So Sunday morning we made chili, shepherd’s pie, lasagna and macaroni and cheese. All can be frozen and keep really well – we packaged them up into small meals for him.
When making this many different dishes you really want to make the most of prep and cooking so you don’t spend the rest of the day doing dishes.
We used one pot to cook the meat one meal at a time and set aside. We browned the burger for the pie, sausage for the lasagna and the burger, sausage and ground turkey for the chili. We cooked the pasta as directed on the box for the mac and cheese then use the same pot for the potatoes, rinsed and wiped it out so we could use it for the sauce for the lasagna. We diced and sliced the onions and garlic for all the dishes and then the veggies and set aside. I bet we had all dishes made and assembled in about 2.5 hours and all but 1 pot fit in the dishwasher. It was a very successful morning.
While I do use the internet and magazines to find recipes to try I know they are just a starting point, there are so many ways you can take a recipe to make it to you and your families tastes. Everybody’s shepherd’s pies is a little different; I use creamed and niblet corn to add moisture. I know of a family the use pre-bought gravy to add moisture to theirs. There is nothing like good homemade comfort food.
Easy Mac and Cheese that has great flavor and comes together quickly
1 small onion diced very small
4 tbs. Butter
4 tbs. Flour
2 cups milk
1 box elbow macaroni or other small pasta
4-6 cups shredded cheese – cheddar, mozzarella, Provolone your favorite combination works here
3-4 slices American cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In salted water cook the pasta according to the direction on the box; drain and set aside. In a sauté pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the onions and cook to translucent about 3 minutes. Add flour stirring to mix. Let cook about 2 minutes, it helps remove the flour taste. Using a whisk add the milk all at once. Whisk thoroughly till all incorporated. Let this thicken on low heat, do not boil just simmer and stir frequently. Remove from the heat and add all the cheese. Lightly stir to incorporate. Add the cooked pasta and salt and pepper to taste. If you chop the onions small enough the kids won’t even know they are there.
Eat as is or bake for 15 minutes in a 350’ oven. Add a crumb top or not – whatever is your preference