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Recipe: Macaroni & Cheese Deluxe for Those with No Time

By Howard Charles Best, February 25, 2008

(LLBest.com)

Any of the following true of you?

1. No time to eat in restaurants.

2. Not much time to cook.

3. No time to wash dishes.

4. Not much time for grocery shopping.

If so, then this recipe may be for you!

When you buy a bag or a box of elbow macaroni, the instructions say to cook it in rapidly boiling water for about 10 minutes, and then to drain off the excess water. The trouble is, draining means that many of the nutrients go down the drain. Another problem is that this method creates a pot that must be washed. Even microwave instructions call for microwaving it on high. This means that a large bowl must be used, so that it doesn’t boil over.

By using exactly the right amount of water, and by cooking longer, at a lower power level, this recipe solves all of these problems, and also saves energy. (10 minutes at full power vs. 12 minutes at 4/10 power)

This recipe uses a microwavable, disposable paper bowl¹ and a disposable plastic spoon¹ as the only cooking / eating utensils, and it doesn’t require any perishable ingredients (Butter keeps for months in the freezer), thus minimizing grocery shopping.

1. Into a 20 oz. microwavable, disposable paper bowl¹, add ½ cup of elbow macaroni.

2. Add 1 cup of water.

3. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt.

4. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.

5. Microwave on high for another minute, stopping the microwave just before it boils over.

6. Microwave for 12 minutes² at a power level just below the level which would cause it to boil over. (I use power level² 4 out of 10.)

7. Do not drain. (At this point all or almost all of the water should have been absorbed, but the macaroni should still be very wet. If it isn’t, and none of the water has boiled over, then, next time, try decreasing the cooking time in step #6. If some of the water has boiled over, then try decreasing the power level next time. If there is still a significant amount of water present, then it needs to be cooked some more, and for next time either the cooking time in step #6 should to be increased, and/or the power level should be increased.)

8. Mix in 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) of butter.

9. Using your fingers to break off pieces of a solid block of American style cheese, such as Kraft™ Velveeta, add approximately ½ cup of cheese, placing the pieces in a pile in the center of the bowl³

10. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.

11. Mix quickly while the cheese is still hot, using a disposable plastic spoon¹.

12. Add a handful or 2 of tomato puree.

13. Add 1 teaspoon of curry powder.

14. Add ½ teaspoon of chili powder.

15. Mix.

16. Microwave on high for another 2 minutes, pausing the microwave and stirring the mixture for a few seconds whenever it starts to boil over.

17. Again, mix quickly while the cheese is still hot.

18. Serve while still warm, including the plastic spoon.

¹ At Walmart™, I’ve purchased Dixie™ brand 20-oz. microwavable paper bowls in packages of 30 for US$3.38 and Diamond™ brand plastic spoons in packages of 48 for US$1.14.

² Time and power level may vary, depending upon your particular microwave. Some experimentation may be necessary.

³ The reason for confining the cheese to the center of the bowl is so that the melting cheese does not touch the edge of the bowl and climb up the side.


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