Thursday, November 08, 2007

Proper Mac & Cheese

Well, KeeWee has been gone for a few days, and won't be back for another eight or ten days as she's visiting family in New Zealand, where she's originally from. (Hence the nickname 'KeeWee') That leaves Castle Completely completely under the guidance and control of our cat 'Rocket' and myself. We're doing fine. I realized that there may be some of you guys out there that don't have the years of experience I do, so I decided I should share some of my knowledge with you all.

One of the most important things is to establish a healthy and nutritious diet. (Rocket prefers Purina products, so he's easy to feed.) Anyway, when it comes to nutritious meals you can't beat mac and cheese. It has all the basic nutritional groups all in one package. Since the elbow shaped thingies are made from flour, that counts as your vegetables. There's milk and cheese to give you strong bones, and salt to make sure you drink enough water so you don't dehydrate. There's also plenty of chemicals in there to guarantee you a long life. Don't forget, in the time of the Roman empire, foods had no chemicals at all, and life expectancy was maybe twenty or thirty years at best, and that was if you were lucky! Now with all the chemicals in our foods we live almost three times longer. Who knows how long we might live when they finally find the right combination of chemicals!

Anyhow, back to the food. As you have noticed, there are a lot of different brands of mac and cheese dinners. They are not all the same, by a long ways. Go for the Kraft. You can't go wrong. Stick to the basic one, though, as they also have some more expensive versions, but save your money. Mission brand isn't too bad, and most house brands aren't all that great. Personally I attribute that to them using cheaper chemicals to keep the cost down.

Yes, you can create your own from scratch, but why bother when it's all in the box for you. You can customize it a bit, if you like, and I'll get into that in a bit. But for now, lets whip up a batch of mac & cheese. BTW: If you don't like mac & cheese, go eat some tofu or boiled okra or something, you are at the wrong place. Not liking mac & Cheese is Un-American. You probably don't like apple pie or hot dogs, either. Go away.........

Where was I? Oh, right, we're making a mac & cheese. First, you need hot water. (Do not read the directions - what's the matter with you, are you still here?) Right, hot water. Put an average sized sauce pan under the place where the hot water comes out on your coffee maker. If you have your act together it's a Bunn coffee maker that already has hot water in it. Pour several cups of water into the coffee maker and let the hot water fill the pan about half way. Don't bother measuring the water amount, it's not critical. (Are you still here reading directions? SHEEESHHH!)

As the hot water is filling the pan, pour in the elbow macaroni thingies. Give them a quick stir once or twice so they don't glue themselves together. That's not a good thing right now, but no big deal later. If your stove is electric find the biggest burner on your stove and turn it all the way up so it heats up good.

By now you should have plenty of hot water in the pan, so put the pan on the hot burner. If your stove is gas, turn it all the way up. Let it get to a good boil. Put a lima bean sized chunk of butter, margarine, or anything else kinda oily you have handy into the water. It changes the surface tension of the water and makes it harder to boil it over. (If you don't know what size a lima bean is, ask 'Tofu Boy' over there, he probably likes 'em.)

If it starts to boil over, blow on the foam as it starts to rise out of the pan. It will go right back down. Not everyone will be too happy to see you blowing on their food, so if you are going to share with others, you might want to skip this step. At least move the pan off the burner and turn the heat down some.

After it's boiled a while, fish out a piece or so and bite into it. If it's still crunchy it needs more boiling. If there are no pieces left and they have all dissolved, just pour in another package and add a little more water. It'll be fine!

When it's just about the right consistency, put a pan lid over the pan and drain off the water into the sink. Do this carefully as a slip and you pour the whole works down the drain. Those screen basket drainer deals are for sissies, anyway.

Once drained, toss in a chunk of butter, margarine, or whatever you've got handy and stir it around until it's melted. Remember, you need to have a little grease in your diet every day to keep your arteries lubricated so stuff won't stick inside them. If you want to go deluxe you might toss in a chunk of Velveeta, or sprinkle in some parmesan, maybe a little cheddar. You're in charge, use what ever you like!

Rip open the package of special cheesy stuff that came in the package and mix that in too. If it starts to set up on you like some Bondo that you've waited too long on, pour in a little milk, or water, or cream, even. If you use cream you can then call it "Mac & Cheese Alfredo".

Grab the mixing spoon and have at it. Remember, if you eat it right out of the pan, you have one less dish to wash!

Glad to help, and as Red Green says "If she doesn't find you handsome, at least she'll find you handy!"


At Thursday, November 08, 2007 8:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since KeeWee's gone, throw in a cup of diced onion and a cup of diced ham. What the hell, she doesn't have to smell your onion breath. Besides, PORK FAT RULES!

At Thursday, November 08, 2007 11:29:00 PM, Blogger Jerry The Geek said...

You are obviously an amateur at Bachelor Cuisine, Mr. Completely, so here are a couple of tips for you.

(1) The Mister Coffee approach is okay, but you're missing an opportunity. Put a bunch of cold water in the pot, put it on a stove burner, turn the burner to HIGH, and go blog something.

(2) When you remember that you have water cooking, go back to the stove. Put another pint of water in the pot (you've boiled that much away while you were blogging), then get a big wooden stove out of the second drawer to the right of the stove and dip it into your "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" quart tub from the fridge. Scoop out a major spoonful of oleo (trans fats RULE!) and stick the spoon with butter into the pot. Hint: the spoon keeps it from boiling over.

(3) go back to the puter and read Cogito Ergo Geek. Takes about 2 minutes,nothing new here, move on.

(4) somewhere in the process you should have either nuked a skinless chicken breast or other meat product. Dice it, toss it into the boiling water.

(5) set your microwave to seven minutes, zero power (this constitutes what is quaintly called "a timer", and then go back to your puter. If you can't hear the timer go off from your puter, read Drudge. Boredom will drive you back to the kitchen in 3 minutes, so you'll stand arms-crossed in the kitchen watching the pot boil. Disbelieve old wives tales about "a watched pot".

Also, take a ceramic cup out of the cupboard and scoop out a big wooden-spoonful of oleo and dump it into the cup. Pour a splash of milk into it. Put it on top of the stove, real close to the pot. This will melt the oleo and warm the milk.

Somewhere in here, you should put the pasta (elbow macaroni) into the pot. Not exactly "De Rigeur" (sp) but probably a Really Good Idea if you intend to follow the rest of the instructions faithfully. Especially, Step (6). Also, there's not a lot of Bulk without the pasta. Just a suggestion, not an 'imperative', but the meal tastes better with Pasta. Trust me on this.

Where am I? Oh yeah, I just did (5).

(6) After 7 minutes, the macaroni elbows begin to get mushy. This is "just right". Take it off the stove, turn the burner off, pour the pot contents into the colander in the sink. (Note: you're not a natural bachelor, you probably don't know where the colander is kept. This is a good activity instead of standing arms-crossed while you wait for the macaroni elbows to cook.)

(7) Put the contents of the cup into the bottom of the pan, put it back on the burner. Turn the burner OFF ... it's hot enough. Put the 'cheese mix' into the pot. Stir all with the big wooden spoon. Put the pasta/meat-stuff from the colander into the pot and stir it all up with the big wooden spoon.

(8) Wait! You forgot to pepper the mix! Dump a teaspoon of coarse-ground java black pepper in the pot, and stir again. (You should have done that much earlier, but who knew?)

From this point on, you're absolutely correct: take the pot and a tablespoon nto the living room and eat the KD (Kraft Dinner, the proper appelation for this tasty dish) out of the pot. When you're done, put the pot into the sink and go to bed. The Missus will do the dishes when she gets home, after she scolds you for being a slob. This makes her feel 'needed', alleviates her guilt for leaving you Home Alone for uncountable days, and accords her a certain amount of Moral High Ground-ness. You love her, it's the least you can do for her.

Trust me on this. It's a sure recipe for marital good-stuffness. Plus, it keeps you out of the beer.

Beer DOES go well with KD, but this is an exercise reserved for experienced Bachelors.

Kids, don't try this at home.

No, don't thank me. It's the least I can do for a pal.

Respectfully submitted:
Jerry the Geek

At Friday, November 09, 2007 7:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, Obviously a rank amateur when f' together in the pot & it'll work itself out just fine! When it comes to 'Bachin' it MrC., you seem to be a rank amateur. You have the right approach, but waste too much time on the details. Just throw all that 'stuff in the pot together & it'll work itself out just fine. Personnaly I use chopped onions & cut up weiners to 'enhance" the goodstuff. Give me a call next week & I'll give ya some pointers when I get home.


At Friday, November 09, 2007 9:14:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

Clearly, some true experts have spoken, and their sage (isn't that a spice?) words should be considered.

However, in defense of my mac & cheese method, I would like to mention that when cooking for myself, I always wait until I am really really hungry. That way I'm not so critical of how it tastes. By that time, getting something to eat QUICKLY is the only consideration, hence using the hot water from the coffee pot, which speeds things up considerably.

Yes, I have tried leaving the spoon in the pan when it's boiling, but by then I'm usually so desperate for food that I forget basic thermodynamics and usually burn myself on the spoon handle.

Weiners? Good! Ham? Sure! Onions? A good touch, for sure! Chicken? Isn't that a bird, or something?

I stick to red meat as much as possible.......

..... Mr. C,

(Thanks guys, great comments!)

At Friday, November 09, 2007 5:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is TOFU?

At Friday, November 09, 2007 7:15:00 PM, Blogger Jennifer AKA keewee said...

hi honey, cant email have to leave message here. Am down at Mana at Graeme's boat. Will be back in Palmy on Monday. will call you then.
love keewee

At Sunday, November 11, 2007 2:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A handful of diced ham or bacon moves this into Haute Cuisine.

A scoop of Velveeta makes it creamier, and adds even more tasty chemicals.

And, a handful of frozen peas at the last minute or so will cool everything down so that you don't spend precious time worrying about burning yourself.

And if you're clever, and use a paper or plastic dish and the microwave, you have a one-dish meal that doesn't leave a dish to clean. You can also use your fingers and wipe them off on your shirt so there's truly nothing to wash afterwards.
Place the cheese stained shirt in the bottom of the laundry for KeeWee to find. She should think twice before abandoning you again.

At Monday, November 12, 2007 10:26:00 PM, Blogger Jennifer AKA keewee said...

plenty of good advise on the
mac'n'chesse, hope it is all gone by the time I get home *grin*
btw cheese on toast is easy and
there are hotdogs in the freezer, so you should not starve to death *chuckle*
I won't tell you about all the wonderful food I have been eating here as you would be sooooo!! jealous.

At Sunday, December 16, 2007 5:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the macaroni is cooked and you're adding the yellow cheese-colored powder, dump in a can of cream of mushroom soup and stir thoroughly, then pepper to taste. I've been eating those Kraft Mac & Cheese dinners like that for decades and the mushroom soup really adds body and flavor.


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