Why I Hate Kraft Dinner

Actually I don’t mind KD. It is an iconic Canadian Comfort food.

KDIt is great to take camping as you can make it over a fire. You can teach your kids to make it and they don’t bug you when they are “starving to death”. What I hate about it is:

  • 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.

Baked

How to Macaroni and Cheese with Meatballs and Tomatoes

Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 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

Preparation:

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.

meatballs

The Macaroni

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.

Macaroni

Cheese

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.

Cheese

Cheese Sauce

I need 2 cups of cheese sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cheese, grated
  • Dash cayenne pepper

Preparation:

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.

CheeseSauce

Bread Crumbs

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Preparation:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover with the grated cheese and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. (For added color, I like to put sliced fresh tomatoes on the top).
  5. 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!!!

  1. The cutting board and knife for the onions.
  2. The bowl the meatballs were made in.
  3. The pan the meatballs were cooked on.
  4. The measuring cups (3).
  5. Spatulas and whisks.
  6. Cheese Grater.
  7. Bowl the cheese was in before making the sauce and topping the casseroles.
  8. Cheese Sauce pot.
  9. Macaroni pot.
  10. The strainer the macaroni was drained in.
  11. 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.

Advertisements

About badkowalik

Prepared by hand and cooked in small batches – our preserves are cooked slowly. There is an average of 1.5 pounds of fruit in every 8 oz jar. Not only can you taste the difference – you can see the difference. Beautiful natural color and unmatched textures – that can only be achieved by the patience and experience of the Confiseur (the maker). There is alchemy to what we do. Like fine wines, each season has it’s own specific style. We create preserves with exceptional taste. Capturing these flavors is the craft of our business. Beary Good Stuff is a collection of seasonal, sustainable, artisinally made preserves. The collection is made (in limited quantities) from local fruits using traditional cooking methods. We use the freshest ingredients we can get. The small batch production insures a taste and texture that is unmatched in the commercial market today. The collection includes preserved fruits & vegetables – marmalades, jams, fruit butters & salsas, pickles and gift collections that reflect the bounty of the season and spirit of feasting. Although not necessary yet, we have received a letter from the BC Heath Authority. We submitted a package detailing how and where we made our products, what each recipe contains and how we prepare it. This letter is displayed in our tent at the Farm Market. We have our BC MarketSafe and FoodSafe certifications.

Posted on March 15, 2014, in Unique and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Sounds delicious. I never heard of baked mac and cheese until I was 18. My mom never made it without the box. She moved onto healthier things after I moved out, but the thought of homemade mac and cheese that has breadcrumbs in it is still foreign to me. But your recipe looks delicious.

    • It is delicious! I actually make a “lighter” version most of the time. The baked meatballs get rid of most of the fat, a “smart” pasta and when I make the cheese sauce, I use a low fat cheese and skim milk and half the butter (real butter). I also cut back on the amount of cheese.

  2. What a delish recipe! My husband likes the Kraft stuff but I much prefer the homemade version of mac and cheese and I love adding meatballs! I’ll have to try this…..thanks!!

    Hugs, Pam

    • I like using half Italian sausage when I make the meatballs (that’s how I was taught), but Dave prefers ground beef. He is now asking manicottis! If I have the time, I will make them and add the recipe too.

  3. Oh my gosh, that sounds absolutely delicious. Sorry your work will take you away from home for so much time, but at least Dave has some awesome food to eat for a while! 🙂

  4. That looks so, so yummy! Barb, congrats and good luck with your new contract position, I’m sure it will be hard for you to be away from home for so long so good thoughts to you.

%d bloggers like this: