Comfort Food

First of all, thanks for the affirming comments on the Kansas recital and the competition, everyone. My confidence needed this victory. There's something about having a baby while in grad school that makes me wonder if everyone will start thinking things like "Oh, now she won't be willing to work hard, now that she has a kid. Her work will suffer." Oddly, having Daniel in my life has helped me focus. I don't think there's any profound reason other than the fact that I simply don't have the time to work on more than one or two things at once, so I'm not being pulled in as many directions as I'm used to - musically, anyway.

Still, the majority of my time is devoted to childcare and housekeeping (ha! you should SEE the dust-bunnies in the corners...on second thought, maybe you shouldn't...), and today was no exception. I was supposed to teach piano lessons today, but Daniel woke up from a typically short nap (less than 30 minutes) whimpering and feverish, so I cancelled the lessons, gave him some Tylenol, and let him sleep on my shoulder for most of the afternoon. He woke up good as new (go figure), but I still wanted comfort food for supper. Nothing fancy or elaborate. Just homemade mac 'n cheese with some extra yummies to spice it up. So, because I spend a good share of my time thinking about and preparing food for my family, I'm sharing this with y'all, too:

1/2 lb of your favorite pasta, like fusilli or elbow macaroni
1 onion, chopped
1 buttload of garlic, chopped
2-3 T. oil or butter
2 T. flour
1 t. concentrated broth or 1 bullion cube (I use vegetarian, but chicken's probably OK)
2 c. milk
1 t. or more chili powder
1 can Mexican-style chopped tomatoes
1 c. shredded cheese, like Jack, colby, cheddar, or a combination
a couple handfuls bread crumbs (not necessary)

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. It's better if it's slightly under-done rather than over-done.

2. Sauté the onions in the oil or butter for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for another minute.

3. Add the flour to the onion mixture and stir, then add the milk, broth or bullion cube, and chili powder, plus a little salt, and let it come to a boil.

4. Grease a 2L casserole dish (9x13). Mix the noodles with the tomatoes and cheese, then pour the milk sauce over all of it and stir a little. Spread bread crumbs over top and bake at 350 until it looks done, maybe half an hour.

5. Serve with broccoli or green salad to counter-act the guilt you may feel (though you should not!) over all the milk and cheese and butter .....mmmm butter..... in the pasta dish.


Animal said…
I was gonna make this tonight, in fact, but I guess I can't; after tearing apart my widget drawer I find I'm lacking the all-important "buttload" measuring device. Now, I wonder if that comes in a set with CUPS, or SPOONS, or what...hmmm, off to Williams Sonoma...
This is super mac and cheese. Never knew it could be so fancy. Keep the recipe suggestions coming!

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