May 07, 2010

Poor, neglected Popcorn

I am struggling with this blog. I've pretty well run through my cooking comfort zone, and I'm only so brave when it comes to experiments. I had this brilliant idea that the KitchenAid would spark a whole series of baking posts. Really? Right at the start of a Hotlanta summer? I'm a doofus. Already the A/C has reached its limits; our place is hitting 80° in the afternoon. Without any cooking. And it's May. So, yeah... The oven and I are on a break.

But what of my road trip? Happily I didn't have to eat crappy food the whole time. My dear friend Dan invited me to chill at his place for a few days, and Dan has a Magic Kitchen. Counter space. Dishwasher. Pots and pans that heat evenly. It's on.

I hit the grocery store and bought supplies for some dishes faithful readers will recognize. Pork chops, green beans, fried chicken, assorted salads. Then came the day before I would leave. I had a random mess of remaining ingredients.

What on Earth will I do with this?

I know! Pasta! 

I set out to fix myself...

Loaded Mac and Cheese

What I used:
  • Shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
  • Extra sharp cheddar
  • Buttermilk
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cooked bacon
  • Butter
  • Pasta shells
(Note: all quantities are unknown. This was a total chuck-in-whatever's-around kind of dish.)

I started by putting salted water on to boil, and coarsely chopping the broccoli, onion, and garlic. And, as many garlic cloves as I've chopped in my life, I have never witnessed this:

Rare blood garlic? Or just a massive grossout?

I seriously dry heaved. When I recovered, I melted about 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan.

I don't know who invented butter, but bless 'em anyway.

Then I sweated down the onion and garlic before dumping in everything else. I let that simmer on low while the noodles cooked. As with any pasta bound for the oven, I parboiled, reducing the recommended cooking time by about 1/3. Then I mixed in half the noodles.

Say, this is lookin delicious!

Finally I dumped it all in a casserole, and baked it uncovered at 400° for probably 30-40 minutes.

Ah yes. A brown dish in a black stove. My camera hates me.

Only when I set the dish on the counter did I realize: This was no mac and cheese. It was macaroni and butter.


Mercifully I still had some broccoli left. I steamed that up real quick and used it as a bed for the pasta. So I guess this was technically macaroni and broccoli in a cheesy butter sauce. Not something I'd serve at a party, but just for me, totally tasty.

Oh. And what became of the other half of that box of pasta shells? I let it finish cooking and mixed it with some lettuce, Italian dressing, and the remains of a deli chicken salad.

Now this... Was DELICIOUS.

I was all set here to beg for forgiveness, but I've got a better idea. Instead I am begging my readers for help! Got a favorite recipe you'd like to see featured here? Please, please, PLEASE share! Comments or emails, I'll take 'em all. Just no ovens. Deal?

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