Wednesday, June 15, 2011 Cookin' Out The Fridge, Yo

I love to come up with meals in my head and then walk down to the supermarket for ingredients. Makes me feel green and creative all at the same time. But sometimes you just have to make do with what you have. Last night's dinner was all about what I had...and didn't have.

It was my plan to use up the last of the mushrooms I'd bought for deep frying (still trying to master that toy) and the last of the kielbasa in a mac-n-cheese type dish using the Swiss cheese I'd bought for the night before's sammiches. Well, by the time I peeled myself away from the computer (writing a play!) my husband had eaten the kielbasa for an afternoon snack.

Since I was so determined to not spend a penny on dinner I went with the next best thing I had available - hot dogs left over from Dinner on a Stick Night!

The end result wasn't as perfect as I'd imagined, the hot dogs really didn't pack the flavor punch as much as the kielbasa would have. Here's an approximation of what I made. I really didn't measure anything, so amounts are for comic relief only.

Mushroom and Swiss Mac-n-Cheese

1 1/2 cups uncooked pasta, cooked and then drained, duh.
1 1/2 hot dogs sliced and fried
5 mushrooms sliced and fried in the left over hot dog fat plus olive oil
1/8th of an onion sliced and diced then fried in the same pan as the hot dogs and mushrooms at a really low heat forever. Add more olive oil if needed.

For the sauce
2 slices of American cheese
2-3 ounces of shredded Swiss cheese
about a cup of milk
a good spoon of roux (butter and flour mixed together)

This is where it gets funny for me, because for some reason I added enough roux to make a wall paper paste, so I took out most of it and then added more milk to thin it out. My point is that you can fuck it up and still recover. It's only food. You're not trying to cure cancer, you're trying to make mac-n-cheese. Go easy on yourself, mistakes can be fixed.

So you heat up the milk on the stove, add the roux when it's bubbling and then mix it all together to thicken it. Really, it's like magic. Amazes me every time. Then add the cheese, stir until melted then fold in the pasta, hot dog, mushrooms and onion. Finally season with salt and pepper and mustard to taste. The mustard gives it a great flavor, and it would have been even more perfect with the kielbasa.

We each ate two bowls of this. And I'm thinking, if we ever do a Mac-n-Cheese Night this will have to make an appearance.

What do you like in your mac-n-cheese?



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