You ever read a recipe and it lists the cooking time at 15-20 minutes but what they really mean is it will take 15-20 minutes if you lock your kids in the bathroom and don't let them out until the whole failed experiment is over?
Today, Evin from Food Good, Laundry Bad is giving us the real recipe for successfully prepared Mac 'N Cheese.
Not the recipe if you are standing in Rachael Ray's fake kitchen cooking for a studio audience, but the recipe if you are cooking in your own kitchen under the watchful eyes of three opinionated, active and very hungry little tyrants aged one, two and seven.
I love to cook, but cooking with three kids underfoot is not an easy chore. You have to be a culinary genius, an acrobat, a diplomat, and a magician. Whatever time the recipe calls for, you gotta double it. At least.
One of my kids' favorite meals is Mac 'n Cheese. You've probably seen 100 recipes for it but below is the only one with accurate instructions.
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
dash hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup monterrey jack cheese
1 cup colby jack cheese
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, cook the pasta to al dente.
2. Fish a Lego out of the baby's mouth.
3. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the flour, whisking constantly.
4. Separate the no-holds-barred battle between the toddler and the seven-year-old, send to opposite corners of the kitchen.
5. When the roux is a golden color, add the milk and whisk. Let thicken.
6. While you've got the milk out, fix sippy cups for everybody. Field requests to make it "warmer".
7. Add the mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper and whisk until combined.
8. Ignore the whines of "But I don't like mustaaaaaaaaaaaard!!!!!"
9. Add the cheeses and stir until melted and combined.
10. Grab the half empty bags of cheese the baby snatched out of the trash and poured over her head.
11. Preheat broiler.
12. Curse when you step in cheese. Quickly correct yourself using child-appropriate language.
13. Add the cheese sauce to the drained pasta and combine, mixing thoroughly.
14. Tell seven-year-old NOT TO USE THAT WORD.
15. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and add the macaroni to the dish.
16. Explain, again, that it's not ready yet.
17. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesean, then spray with cooking spray.
18. Open the oven and bend like ballerina with one leg out, keeping the kids back, while scolding the toddler for stealing the baby's milk.
19. Place dish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown and crisp the topping.
20. Change baby's diaper while explaining to the toddler that her shoes are already on the right feet and you don't need to switch them.
21. Explain again, give up and switch her shoes so they're on the wrong feet.
22. Take dish out of the oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
23. While cooling, try to remember how to multiply fractions so you can help the seven-year-old with his homework, give up and google it, switch the toddlers shoes back when she cries because her feet hurt, fish half a foam ball out of the baby's mouth, wonder briefly where the other half is, and then get distracted by the timer dinging, telling you THE MACARONI IS READY!
24. Eat off the crunchy bits on top because your kids want "regular" mac 'n cheese, not the "fancy" kind.
Evin writes at Food Good Laundry Bad and is a stay-at-home Mom in the country. She's got three kids, two of them in diapers, and a foul mouth. She's got a pile of laundry taller than most toddlers. She'll get to it eventually. Maybe.
I only have 1 toddler and making dinner is difficult…I can’t imagine 3! I will need super tips from mom’s with more than 1 child when we decide to have another!!
laughing out loud. and I only have 1 kid…and never cook.
Yep, this is how I make mac and cheese. For the most part. You left out the bit where the toddler is mournfully wailing at your legs and you yell at your baby-maker, “HEY, come get your spawn so I can make your goddamn dinner!”. It adds that extra ,special flavor.
Ok, seriously though…the variation my one daughter likes and is always requested for her Birthday Dinner is to add Peppercorn Ranch dressing in at the end 🙂
Dying. First, it sounds like a good recipe. Second, where was the other half of that ball?
Laughing at #24. Lucas gets stove-top mac and cheese because he would never tolerate the intrusion of bread crumbs on such a fine dish. It’s a miracle he even allows the cheese.
The crunchy part’s the best part! I say this is a WIN 🙂
Helen – I found bits of it in her diaper the next day! 🙂
Alas, my babymaker works 15 hours a day so I can have the “pleasure” of staying home with his spawn so he’s never around to deal with the little basta.. angels.
My 7 year old drowns his in ranch on his plate… I can’t face it. Hot ranch = garlicky semen … yuck.
OMG, I just about died laughing at this. Thanks for the awesome post… sharing!
The shoes thing? Holy yes. Awesome post, Evin!
Yeah I can’t really complain about that part heheheh
Honestly, I had to do that like 4 times while writing the post, so it was helpful this ONE time. We can stop now with the shoe switching though.
Ewww! I mean, it’s better than other things (undigested raisins for one. wtf is up with that?) but that is icky.
This is freaking hilarious. I love the bit about the wrong shoes, empty bag of cheese from trash, and that they don’t want toasted fancy Mac n cheese!
Seriously!!! I have mastered the ballerina oven move. But my 18 month old is ninja quick. I have discovered that strapping her into the highchair with some of last night’s leftovers works wonders… just means that she eats a day behind the rest of us every night. 😉
All of these steps are hilarious – but number 16 makes my heart sing because my son asks when dinner’s going to be ready while he’s still eating breakfast.
Good luck, sister.
Absolutely love this. 1 kid here, too, but #18 is my life. Because our 3yo dog is addicted to the oven. Or hears the timer and thinks it is for her. I donno. Something like that. This was excellent. 😛
So funny and so true. I usually have a “time-out” interlude sometime during the dinner making process. My daughter prefers to be naughty when she sees me cooking. It gives her extra satisfaction to see me scrambling around hoping I don’t burn dinner to a crisp while pretending to be a really bad version of Super Nanny.
I used to love to cook before I had a baby. Now? Not so much.
And I only have one.
This is AWESOME!!!!
What is it with trash-digging toddlers???
That’s brilliant – though I do love having her strapped down – I mean IN – while I’m eating… rather than in my lap “helping”.
Oh yeah, that’s my 7 year old. “I’m gonna go cook” – two minutes later “Is it ready yet?”
Thanks! I try to think of it as Yoga… it makes my life seem less futile LOL
Dinner usually is a free-for-all – I’d rather let them get away with crap than burn dinner. Probably wind up with serial killers but at least they’ll be well fed.
I definitely love it less. When everybody is gone and I get to cook what *I* want and have all the time in the world to do it? I’m too freakin’ exhausted and have a fried egg and a nap instead.
See this is exactly why we have cereal for dinner almost every night. Hilarious.
I have 1 twin that HATES the crumbles on top and the other that doesn’t care – so it’s tops & bottoms for each. Done. And me with my 3 helpings, of course.
I keep telling hubs I’m gonna get real classy and throw in a 6 pack of hot dogs – ya know – for protein.
Do I have to use the broiler? I’m afraid of my broiler. Not sure why.
Try making this recipe with five kids!
Here’s what you need:
1 seven year old
1 eight month old baby
1 hubby that’s at work or not home
1. Realize that’s there’s nothing to cook and you have four hungry kids shouting at you and one crying. Two are tired from a long school day, and two that preschool gave them tons of excitement to yell.
2. Open the cupboard while your seven year old shouts at you about what happened on the monkey bars, your toddlers scream, and your pre-teen crinkles her nose in disgust at the gross smell.
3. Change baby’s diaper while explaining to seven year old that you are out of Shopkin band-aids.
4. Return to kitchen, pull ready made heat-it-up-and-enjoy-meatballs and put them in microwave for 4 minutes. Tell seven year old to SHARE the I PAD with one of the toddlers. Put reruns of ARTHUR on the televison for the other toddler.
5. Get out the bowtie pastas and get the normal noodles too because there’s not enough bowties to feed the whole family. Start to cook the pasta on the stove until suggested time on the box.
6. Remind seven year old she has homework, and watch her scramble to the computer.
7. The baby needs food too! Get mashed vegetables out of the fridge and stir until hand goes numb.
8. When pasta is done, tell seven year old to set the table, and tell pre-teen to get her sisters washed up.
9. When everybody is seated at the table and served, receive text from hubby saying “I got Arbys” and groan
10. Put pasta and meatballs in containers to heat up tomorrow night for dinner.
11. Ask seven year old “where did you hear that word?”
12. Enjoy Arbys!