Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dinner from the box/bag

Almost every mother who's attempted making homemade macaroni and cheese will side with me in my hatred and envy of the product below. That navy blue box forced me to doubt my culinary skills for many years.

After spending numerous hours scouring for the perfect recipe and as many or more dollars on expensive cheeses and gourmet pasta, we painstakingly create the perfect macaroni and cheese dish that in our own stupid minds is going to make tonight's mac and cheese dinner the single most memorable dining event of our child's past and future life. You almost want to serve their milk in wine glasses... THAT'S how great this creation's going to be. Then.... one bite into the bowl and they push it away. Admit it, you've been there. You squelched back the tears when "I like Kraft better" came out of the mouth of your babe. It's a humbling experience for any home cook, I can tell you that. After a few attempts, I resigned myself to making their favorite meal from the dreaded box. However, my stupidity did not stop there. I admit to trying to once again pull the wool over my little one's eyes by preparing THIS one night.....

He can smell store-brand from a mile away, and I don't even think he sat down at the table before giving it two thumbs down. I finally learned my lesson.

They've matured and gotten better about their nose-snubbing, but they still have certain meals that they'd rather have out of the box/bag. During the years that I was working, those type meals were my best friend and even though I now have the time to make a recipe from scratch, they'd rather have it the box/bag way. Tonight's meal was one of those. Vigo makes a bagged cuban black beans and rice product that is complete with spices. Add olive oil and water, and 25 minutes later, you're eating. It's actually pretty tasty as is, but when I want to feel like I actually cooked it, I add a few other fresh ingredients.

First I browned some Johnsonville smoked turkey sausage slices in a little olive oil. After they'd caramelized a bit, I removed them from the pan to drain on paper towels. I then added some diced onion, red bell pepper, and a clove of garlic to the pan and sauteed those to soften. Instead of water, I added chicken broth and brought it to a boil. After reducing the heat to simmer, I put the lid on and let it do its thing for about 25 minutes. I then added the sausage back in.


HoneyB said...

Oh my, can I EVER relate...however my children prefer homemade mac & cheese - it is my hubby who would rather eat it from a box. He's NUTS!
Will your kids eat homemade mac & cheese now??

Mags said...

They're getting better. Or maybe I'm getting better at making the homemade stuff...LOL