Bachelor food to be proud of: Full Tilt Mac and Cheese

So, my kids are mostly grown, and I’m currently sans spouse, so if I don’t have other mouths to feed on a given night, I like to experiment. Tonight’s what-if went particularly well, and I’m here to share.

It started as a tiny primal scream. An echo of a childhood longing. “Feeeeeed meeeeeeee maaaaaaaac and cheeeeeeeeese…..”

Then I got in the kitchen and saw the recently-harvested chili peppers in a bowl on the counter. And the about-to-expire deli-shaved-style smoked turkey in the fridge. You get the picture. Mashup time.

Here’s the recipe:

Bring about 3-4 cups of salted water to boil, then toss in about half a pound of your favorite shaped pasta (mine was rotini).

While the water is heating up, slice half an inch off that slab of Velveeta you know you have in the fridge (probably half a cup or maybe a little more).

Pour about a third of a can of beer (I used inexpensive canned American lager) in a saucepan, and add the Velveeta. Turn it on medium.

If you have cheddar on hand (and who doesn’t?), add about a quarter cup of chopped/sliced cheeddar to the saucepan. If it gets too thick, you know what that means. You get to drink less of that can of beer.

When it starts to get warm, add around a half a cup of milk to the fledgling cheese sauce. Inhale deeply over the saucepan and thank Evolution that you have your olfactory system.

As if said system isn’t happy enough at this point, add to the cheese sauce a dash of onion powder, two dashes smoked paprika (you have that, right?), and 4 wrist-twists of freshly ground black pepper.

Now… if you enjoy a little lingual irritation as I do, and happen to have fresh chilis on hand, chop some up finely and add to the sauce, seeds and all. I used a “super pepper” (sorta like a Thai chili) from my garden, but let your capsicum-laced imagination be your guide.

By now the noodles are probably half done. Take some lunch meat out of that fridge (I used smoked turkey). You know, the stuff you bought a while back and never got around to eating. The stuff with tomorrow as the expiration date. Hell, even yesterday – I won’t tell anybody. Chop it up pretty finely, and set it aside. I used probably 1/2 cup.

Noodles are almost done, right? Toss in a handful of frozen peas with the boiling pasta to thaw and heat up. Your momma said you need to eat your veggies.

After a minute or two, your noodles and peas are both just about ready for consumption. Assuming the pasta is done (chomp on one to be sure), pour off the water, then add the cheese sauce. If it’s too thick add more beer. (This is a man’s meal, dammit.)

Dump in your chopped turkey/ham/beef/whatever, mix it all up, and put it back on the stove for a bit to reheat. No need to let it simmer – your pasta will get mushy. Once it’s up to temp (read: steam wisps forming over the edible matter), scoop it out and enjoy.

Oh… you’re welcome. 🙂

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