After such heart-wrenching events as the tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma, a recipe seems like the last thing a blogger might feel is appropriate to post. My heart is broken for those who lost so much and rejoicing with those who have witnessed great miracles of life and light.
Besides the simple fact that this was the blog I had planned for today already, maybe it is appropriate in a different perspective. The idea for my rendition of this recipe came from a blog called The Comfort of Cooking, so some of you may feel like turning off the news, putting on an apron, and making comfort foods all night for friends or family. That’s what I did last night.
Every Monday night, we have friends over so we can all start our weeks off together. Speaking of comfort, this weekly community we call Monday Night Shenanigans has been a consistent source of warmth in our home. It’s quite a diverse group of people and always changing. Sometimes we have two and sometimes we have a dozen, so I look for recipes that feed at least 5 hungry men. My version of the above recipe passed that test last night. For such a large group, I tend to alter recipes I find so that I can more or less throw them together right after work with very little preparation Here’s what I did:
- 2 bags Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese (or similar)
- Ingredients called for on the box or in your mac-n-cheese recipe
- 1 or 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts/tenders – cubed (optional)
- 1 bag frozen carrots
- 1 bag frozen broccoli
- 1 bag frozen peppers
- Olive oil
- Italian Bread Crumbs (optional)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar (optional)
- Salt, pepper, garlic and cayenne to taste
For the optional (optimal) finishing step, first pre-heat your oven to 350 (I always forget this step and have to wait longer). In my huge and amazing wok-like frying pan, I cooked the chicken with olive oil until it was white throughout, then I added all three bags of veggies, the seasonings, and about a cup of water, put the lid on and let it all simmer. Meanwhile, I made the macaroni as the package directed. Then I mixed the two together in a 9×13″ pan I had sprayed with olive oil (you could mix it in a big pot first if you wanted). An optional finish is to top this with a layer of shredded cheese and italian bread crumbs then put it in the oven until the cheese melts. Lastly, feed your hungry bunch of boys. (This recipe could easily be cut in half for a smaller group.)
Here was my finished product. Though I couldn’t snap a picture before everyone started digging in, I’m so glad I could sneak veggies into a dinner for meat-and-potato men and supply us all with a little comfort food and quality time after such a long day for everyone.