This Week’s Menu: Macaroni & Cheese, Please

Creamy macaroni & cheese (photo from the NY Times)
Creamy macaroni & cheese (photo from the NY Times)

Election night has always been a big deal at our house. We settle ourselves around the TV to watch the returns, and serve finger foods to nosh on while we watch the returns come in.

In a change from tradition, YaYu has asked for fried chicken from Pono Market in Kapaa (the best fried chicken ever, according to her) along with macaroni and cheese for our election night meal this year. OK! Because of the time difference, election returns from the east coast will start becoming available here in early afternoon, but since YaYu will again be serving as a poll worker, she wants a more traditional meal when she finishes in the evening.

I have been wanting to try out some new mac & cheese recipes for a while, so this week I’m going to fix a simple recipe from the New York Times for a creamy macaroni & cheese that’s baked in the oven, and next week I’m trying one that’s prepared in the slow cooker. Whichever one ‘wins’ YaYu’s approval will be prepared again on election night.

Of course this means that for the next three weeks macaroni and cheese will be appearing on the menu here at Casa Aloha. I’m not sure I’m ready to indulge in something with that much dairy, but hopefully I can manage a small amount.

YaYu’s cross country season has ended, and since Friday night spaghetti dinners (for the swim team) won’t start again until after the first of the year, I’ll have to put something on the menu again for that night. We’ll stick with having leftovers on Saturday – I like finishing things up and that no one has to cook!

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Spaghetti with marinara sauce; grilled Italian sausages (vegan for me);  grilled zucchini; garlic bread
  • Wednesday: Grilled steak; baked potatoes; sautéed Swiss chard (no steak for me)
  • Thursday: Tofu & broccoli in spicy peanut sauce; steamed rice
  • Friday: Creamy macaroni & cheese; salad
  • Saturday: leftovers
  • Sunday: Panzanella with beans
  • Monday: Grilled ahi tuna; couscous; grilled zucchini

We plan to buy a bag of broccoli florets at Costco today, which will last us two to three meals. We’ll get Swiss chard, zucchini (YaYu’s favorite vegetable), cucumbers, a green pepper, and carrots at the farmers’ market this week, as well as more limes and bananas, but otherwise we’ll see what catches our eye and looks good (and is affordable). Brett is still doing the majority of cooking, but I’m pitching in more and more as I feel better.

9 thoughts on “This Week’s Menu: Macaroni & Cheese, Please

  1. I love the Michelle Obama version of mac and cheese, it has much less dairy than others I have tried, and I like the sneaking in of cauliflower. The Other Half was not at home when I made it, and he had NO idea there was cauliflower in there. He was quite surprised when I told him.

    I have made it again since, adding in even more veg pureed because I like to try and get 3 veg in at each meal, so I put in zucchini and carrots. It changed the colour somewhat, but we did not mind and it was delicious, the sweetness of the carrots we were getting just took it up a few notches. If I were making it just for me, I would like to try adding in avocado and mushrooms, two things the other half will not eat. And I do wonder if there might be a way to do it with vegetable stock rather than milk.

    I will post the link to her recipe in another comment because it will probably go to moderation. 🙂


    1. Michelle Obama’s recipe is remarkably close to mine, and I always added cauliflower as well. The girls ate it, didn’t complain, but always asked for Stouffer’s mac & cheese too. So, I’ve decided to try something new to see if I can find one we all like. YaYu really doesn’t care for cheese unless it’s melted on a pizza, or in macaroni and cheese (she didn’t taste cheese until we adopted her at 5 years old; her tastes were pretty much already set and cheese was just a taste too strange for her).

      I like the idea of adding vegetables to macaroni & cheese – I can see adding grated carrots, or squash or cauliflower to the NY Times recipe. Cauliflower is really hard to find here though, and it’s EXPENSIVE when you do find it.


  2. I agree with Snoskred – I put a cup of pureed unseasoned pumpkin or squash in with mac and cheese. If you use orange cheddar, it’s undetectable! But of course a salad works, too.


    1. Pumpking would be a great addition! We just bought orange cheddar (they were out of the white at Costco), and I have pumpkin . . . hmmmm.

      All four of my kids have always been terrific vegetable eaters. I don’t think there are any they don’t like or won’t eat. I can’t eat salads though (can’t eat most lettuces), so I don’t fix them very often.


  3. Oh my goodness, this is about my favorite topic on my favorite food so I hope you’ll share the iterations of your approved mac and cheese recipes. I experimented with multiple cheeses and add-ins for a while but I haven’t made a really top notch one that we all love yet.


    1. I’m planning to report on this week’s recipe this weekend, on Sunday. I’m actually more excited about the NY Times recipe because it seems so simple. Still, anything that can be fixed in a slow cooker wins points with me. We avoid turning on the oven as much as possible – it’s too hot most of the time.

      Also, I couldn’t find one ingredient (cheddar cheese soup) I need for next week’s recipe at the store today – we’re checking out another store this weekend and will hopefully be able to find it!


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