cooking

Making Mac and Cheese Without Following a Recipe

Yeah, you read that right. You probably would look at me like I had four heads. But I assure you that this is correct.

It’s no easy task making a meal without a recipe. However, the reason I did that was because I couldn’t find the recipe anymore. Thankfully, though, I’ve used that one enough that I had it pretty much memorized.

That being said, I made a lot of the mac and cheese—perhaps too much. Without a recipe in hand, I couldn’t cut the measurements in half. So, I just had to estimate.

I probably used half a box and elbow pasta, a quarter cup of butter and flour, some salt and pepper, maybe a teaspoon of mustard powder, two cups of milk, and two 8-ounce packages of shredded cheddar cheese. After I cooked the macaroni, I mixed the other ingredients in a pot, blended it in with the pasta, topped remaining cheddar on the mac and cheese (so it doesn’t burn), and then baked it for 10 – 15 minutes. It still came out delicious.

I’ve been cooking since I was twelve. I’m now 25, and will be turning 26 in November, a couple months from now. Anyway, have you noticed that it’s easier to cook savory dishes without a fixed recipe than sweet dishes? That is because there are necessary precise chemical reactions that need to happen for the sweet food to successfully cook. With stovetop savory meals, you have more freedom.

cooking

Mmmm… Mac and Cheese Made of Brown Rice Pasta

Doesn’t that look delicious? If you say so, then you’re with me. In fact, as the title says, that is not regular macaroni in the picture. It’s made out of brown rice. It tastes pretty good, believe it or not.

And best of all, the pasta is only a few ingredients, such as brown rice and water. That is certainly a lot different from traditional boxed pasta brands, need I also say healthier too.

The cheese sauce recipe, however, was pretty typical. Shredded cheddar, milk, butter, flour, and so forth. The mustard powder, however, is the key to making the sauce taste good. I’m not kidding—this all depends on your tastes, of course. At least I prefer cheese sauce with mustard powder. In fact, I am starting to like mustard the condiment. But that’s a different topic.

Where do they sell brown rice pasta, you may ask? Specialty grocery stores, like Whole Foods. I have never seen them in typical supermarkets, such as Stop & Shop. Yup, many specialty stores sell products other mass-market places do not. You could probably also buy it off the Internet too.

Brown rice pasta may cook more quickly as well. I don’t really remember, honestly. Often times, I mix in the brown rice macaroni with the regular kind. In fact, that was what I did most recently.

However, I’m starting to consider cutting down on the white pasta. Pasta has been harder to enjoy since I’ve developed a mild tomato allergy anyway. Bell peppers can be good substitutes for marinara, vodka, or meat sauce. But it’s not the same. So aside from alfredo, pesto, and garlic and oil sauces, cheese sauce is my most preferred option.

In fact, I like my mac and cheese baked more than stove top. I’ve experimented with many different recipes. Few have become irresistible.

One thing I’ve learned to avoid were mac and cheese recipes calling for eggs. It’s only good the first time and then it’s like scrambled eggs. Flour is the winner—at least if you like to bake your mac and cheese. And the post stops here.

cooking

Pasta and Pepper Vodka Sauce… Pretty Delicious?

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Once again, there is no tomato in this sauce due to my tomato allergy. It’s with bell peppers. Other times, this sauce tasted good. However, today, not so much.

I don’t know what it was. Perhaps, it was because I couldn’t find the heavy cream until after I used a little bit of whole milk and coconut milk. Maybe that was a mistake. Luckily the cream didn’t expire. Still. The texture was too creamy like heavy cream, not like vodka or alfredo sauce.

The pasta is brown rice pasta. No gluten, wheat, or anything else but water and brown rice. It’s actually pretty good–at least if you love brown rice. The pasta was no issue for me.

The taste ended up okay. I had to add more salt, but I may have ended up with too much. Perhaps, next time, I will follow a built-in recipe. I have been cooking for half my life and some dishes I can prepare easily without a recipe. But lately, for some reason, everything I cooked, not counting simple dishes like scrambled eggs, went wrong.

I used two peppers for this. I decided not to make too much, otherwise it sits around and no one consumes it after a while. Everyone else is my family can eat tomatoes. I used to be able to have tomatoes until last year, when I suddenly developed the allergy.

My word of advice: be careful experimenting with other ingredients if you can’t find something. Had I not possessed any heavy cream or had it expired, I would have just gone to the grocery store. If you are able to leave your home and either drive, walk, or use public transportation, it’s best to go to the supermarket and turn your stove or oven off.