|Image via Whole Foods|
Every so often I forget that it is a bad idea and stop at the supermarket before I've had dinner. This inevitably leads to ridiculous purchases that I wouldn't think to make with a normal blood sugar level.
Most recently, this purchase was a box of 365 Organic Shells and Cheese. I hear you. "Ew! No! Over-processed crap!" That may be, but the list of ingredients wasn't too appalling, and I later learned that this particular brand had triumphed in several internet taste tests. Apparently the zeitgeist of late 2009 was processed mac and cheese comparisons.
The best thing about this purchase was all of the flashbacks I had to my college cooking days where everything was "make more with less in less time." You can gussy up prepared mac and cheese from a box with any number of extra bits you have lying around in no time at all, which generally can serve to assuage your guilt over eating it in the first place.
Some of my favorite trash boxed mac additions include:
- sliced roasted red pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 bunch of sauteed greens with a few cloves of garlic and red chili flakes
- halved cherry tomatoes
- can of water-packed tuna
- few tablespoons of capers
- diced scallions
- for some south of the border flair: few tablespoons of sliced black olives, 1/2 a diced green chile, with 1-2 tsp chili powder, dollop of salsa
- for added brightness: zest of a lemon and fresh herbs (basil, coriander, chives, or parsley)
- for when you're not entertaining: cut up hot dogs or sausages, few tsp mustard, tablespoon of ketchup
- for a taste of Scandinavia: 1-2 oz smoked salmon, fresh dill
- for a restauranty meal: 1/4-1/2 cup of a strongly flavored cheese (like sharp cheddar, gorgonzola, or blue), crumbled cooked bacon, topped with 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and baked until browned
Last week's dinner variation included frozen peas, kale, capers, cloves of mushed roasted garlic, a scallion, and red chili flakes. I probably could have gotten away with at least three fewer ingredients, but why only go halfway?
I should mention that you really need to use the kind with white and not yellow cheese if you want your dinner to look more delicious and less like vomit. Unless you are going for the hot dog/mustard/ketchup combo in which case all bets are off anyway.