Why I Hate Kraft Dinner
Actually I don’t mind KD. It is an iconic Canadian Comfort food.
- Its ready in less than 10 minutes.
- It only messes up one pot.
Why does that bother me?
I make a truly marvelous Macaroni and Cheese. One of the Italian chefs I worked with a million years ago taught me to make it. It takes about an hour and a half to make and then 45 minutes to bake and the amount of dishes and pots it takes to make it are incredible. My husband LOVES it. I did not mind when there were more than 2 of us, I’d make up a big batch and throw a few dinners worth in the freezer, but with just us 2 -I’d rather make spaghetti. And when I suggest that, I hear, “Ah, come on, it can’t take that long, KD only takes 10 minutes!!!
After working at the food co-op doing the cash out from Thursday, I called home and asked what my husband wanted for supper, I heard, “I want Macaroni and Cheese.” I did NOT want to make it. We negotiated and I promised I would make it today (Saturday) and I would make up a big batch. I am taking a contract job in Calgary and will be away except for the occasional weekend for at least the next 4 months. So Dave will have some ready made meals in the freezer.
How to Macaroni and Cheese with Meatballs and Tomatoes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine egg, water, bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper and combine. Add ground beef, broken into chunks, and mush with your hands to combine. Form into meatballs about 1″ in diameter and place on a broiler pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are no longer pink in center. Cool. (I prefer to assemble the Mac and Cheese casseroles cool. )
OK, the meat balls are done.
Next I cook the macaroni according to the package directions. I want 8 cups of cooked pasta, so I cook 4 cups of dry pasta. Because it is going to be baked, you want the macaroni to be el dente.
I boil a huge pot of water, add some salt to it, add the macaroni and cook for 8 minutes. When it is done, I drain and rinse with cool water.
Next I need to grate the cheese!
Because we are making a cheese sauce and using it to top the macaroni I shred about 4 cups of 2 different kinds. One is a sharp cheddar and the other is a Jalapeno Jack.
I need 2 cups of cheese sauce.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups cheese, grated
- Dash cayenne pepper
Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and and stir until blended. Gradually add milk and cook stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in cheese and heat until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
Make 1.5 cups bread crumbs for topping.
All the parts have been made, it is now time to assemble the Casseroles!
Macaroni and Cheese with Meatballs and Diced Tomato
Preheat the oven to 375
- 24 Meatballs
- 8 cups cooked macaroni
- 1 large can (19 oz) diced tomatoes
- 2 cups cheese sauce
- 2 cups grated cheese
- 1.5 cups bread crumbs
- Spray your casseroles (I am making 3 as there are only 2 of us, but this could go into 2 medium sized casseroles or 1 large casserole) with cooking spray and then divide the meatballs evenly between them.
- Next, put the drained macaroni back in the pot and add the 2 cups of cheese sauce. Stir until well blended, Next add 3/4 of the can of tomatoes and stir gently to distribute.
- Pour the macaroni and cheese sauce over the meatballs. Add the reserved tomato as a garnish to the center of the top of the casserole.
- Cover with the grated cheese and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. (For added color, I like to put sliced fresh tomatoes on the top).
- Bake in the 375 degree oven for 30 minutes (or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees)
If you freeze the unbaked casseroles, you get the best results by thawing before baking.
Then its time to do the dishes!!!
- The cutting board and knife for the onions.
- The bowl the meatballs were made in.
- The pan the meatballs were cooked on.
- The measuring cups (3).
- Spatulas and whisks.
- Cheese Grater.
- Bowl the cheese was in before making the sauce and topping the casseroles.
- Cheese Sauce pot.
- Macaroni pot.
- The strainer the macaroni was drained in.
- The blender the bread crumbs were made in.
Total time (before baking)
2 hours -so that’s why I hate KD — Macaroni and Cheese is NOT a fast meal.