There are some foods out there that are just perfect in any occasion. Mac and cheese is one of those foods. Imagine coming home from a long day of school and starving for real food. Well actually I don’t know if mac and cheese counts as real food but it’s at least better then that high school cafeteria food. I’d come home with no real experience in making food and create the simplest, most delicious mac and cheese that’s existed. It’s quick, easy and taste like heaven. The best part, is that we always had it; I guess it because of the sales but we always had emergency mac and cheese no matter what. We always had mac and cheese and other leftovers to get creative with.
First off you have to get that boxed Velveeta golden goodness that comes with the cheese sauce and macaroni shells from Kraft; none of that powder trash. Oh, and make sure to squeeze every last ounce of cheese from the Velveeta cheese sauce, every last ounce. The general rule of thumb when it comes to mac and cheese, the more cheese, the better. The shells are my favorite but I’ll give you a factual reason why they are the best. Shells are mini macaroni bowls that hold a nice couple of milliounces of cheese rather than the cheese just being a coat around the macaroni. And to take advantage of the mini bowls, add a splash of milk to make the creamiest, most flavorful mac and cheese that you will ever make. Don’t add too much or else you’ll get some kind of abomination that’s a cross between macaroni and soup. Also don’t forget to add a hint of butter to make the flavors burst.
I remember one Monday afternoon, after me and my brother had just gotten home from school, we were feeling how we had always been feeling as kids: bored and hungry. To compensate for that we’d always invent some sort of creation to tantalize our taste buds. Ben, my brother, was the master of creating random, delicious food that sounded gross but was actually great. He would take whatever was lying around, mix it all up and just create new recipes. Once, it was literally just a cream cheese and potato chip sandwich…that’s it. But it was really good. And I would run around pretending like I was contributing in some way just so I could try whatever Ben created…but honestly I usually just watched him make it and he was okay with it. One day we decided to create the mac and cheese of all mac and cheeses. It boiled down to mac and cheese with extra added cheeses like slices of cheddar. But the final secret ingredient made the cuisine…hot cheetos. Spice makes everything better, especially if it flavorful spice. But it was beautiful, it was art; red logs in a sea of yellow with a unique addicting taste.
So I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree because if I wasn’t making mac and cheese with my brother, I was making it with my Dad. But, it was the weekend and I had just finished doing my dreaded chores and was praying for some compensation. Luckily my dad was a fair man and decided to make some fancy mac and cheese. Now, the setup was all the same; shells and cheese sauce. But instead of adding hot cheetos he’d add…chilli. You can make your own chilli but we would just dump a can of it over the mac and cheese; it was chilli-cheese dogs without the…dog. When my dad would make it, it would be very different from Ben’s and mine recipe and it wasn’t because of the ingredients. When my brother and I cooked, we cooked to eat, to get nourishment, to stop being hungry. But my dad cooked because he loved to cook. When I watched my brother cook, all I thought about was the food but when my dad cooked, I seemed to focus on his movements; the way he would gently rip open the sauce packet and stir with his wrists. It was always amazing to see how focused he’d all-of-a-sudden get on the food. He cooked everything just the right amount, he’d add the perfect amount of chilli, he was just passionate and you could taste that in the mac and cheese.
The beauty of this mac and cheese is that you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. Whether Ben and I were starving and just wanted something to munch on or whether we were bored and just wanted to create a fun pastime mac and cheese was there for us. The importance of the mac and cheese never really came from the AMAZING taste although it was really good; it was just the memories those mac and cheese boxes created. It was how the mac and cheese would bring my family together even when we were busy.
Ingredients: Pretty Straight Forward
Krafts Velveeta Shells & Cheese Original with Creamy Cheese Sause and Shell Pasta
Extra Cheese Slices or Cheese Sticks, preferably pepper jack sliced
Tiny bit of Whole Milk
Hot Cheetos (optional)
Canned Chilli (optional, please don’t mix with the hot cheetos)
Steps: Pretty Straight Forward
1) Fill a pot with water and macaroni and cook it until it’s soft
2) Dump the water and fill the pot with creamy cheese sauce and mix vigorously
3) Quickly add extra wanted cheese to make sure it melts and chilli after that to keep it warm
4) Add the spit of milk and continue to mix
5) Finally add any extras before the mac and cheese cools down (chilli OR hot cheetos)