February has been the kind of month that makes me want to only eat chicken pot pie made by someone else, sleep and watch movies all day. I’ve come home on weeknights and found that the last thing I want to do is cook. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been busy and so instead of making something delicious, I’ve resorted to lazy solutions like fast food lunches, mediocre Japanese or Thai delivery and uninspired frozen dinners.
In times like these, I like to make “fancy mac & cheese.” I won’t pretend that this is exciting, inventive cooking. It wasn’t even my idea, but I make it somewhat often because a) I usually have all the ingredients on hand and b) it’s takes boxed mac & cheese up a notch.
I only made it once last month, but I doubled it and it gave me lunch for the rest of the week. Not everyone likes oysters, but I think it would also work with a tin of smoked mussels. The smokiness in the oil is key. It’s basically this recipe I found on Chow Hound with a few extra ingredients. I add a handful of cheese so I don’t sacrifice cheesiness with the additional ingredients. Also, the extra fat makes it reheat nicely if you have leftovers. Just pop it into the microwave with a few drops of water. I find regular Kraft Dinner to be too dry. Get President’s Choice white macaroni and cheese if you can.
1 tin of smoked oysters w/ oil
1 cup of cooked shrimp, peeled and cut into pieces
1 large onion (or 2 small ones), thinly sliced
1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup of grated white cheddar cheese (optional)
1 box of President’s Choice white macaroni and cheese (Kraft’s just isn’t nearly as good)
3/4 cup of milk
- Cook the macaroni, drain and reserve.
- In the empty pot, heat only the oil from the smoked oysters tin. Reserve the oysters. Sautée the onions in the oil until they’re soft.
- Add the macaroni back into the pot. Add the milk and cheese powder from the box.
- Stir in the vegetables and shrimp.
- Add the extra grated cheddar cheese and heat until it’s all melted.
- Add the oysters when just about read to serve.
- Add pepper and salt to taste.