Hello, my dear Weekly Mackers! I hope 2013 has been treating you well thus far; and if not, I hope it gets better for you soon. More importantly, I hope you haven’t missed me too much! As you might imagine, I needed a good, long break from mac and cheese recipes for a while to give my tastebuds (and waistline) a rest. As I mentioned before, I will continue to post sporadically, but it will not be the same mission as it was for 2012 – well, the first half or so of 2012 anyway. I am still toying with the idea of a domesticity (with a twist) blog, but I also wonder if another blurb in the blogosphere is really necessary. Meh, I may indulge myself anyway.
Today’s mac is one I consider halfway between a recipe and a hack (thus it being tagged with both Categories). It’s basically a copycat recipe of that famous college delicacy, the microwave edition of the Blue Box. As an undergrad living the dorm-life, I confess I never quite mastered the Micro-Blue, as we shall call it. I never was able to eyeball the water quite right, and so ended up either with a watery cheese sauce or crunchy noodles, and as a result I began to actually enjoy the watered down sauce since I knew the alternative was even worse (hey, at least the noodles were cooked); I’d add a healthy dose of pepper and it actually wasn’t too terrible. You know, for dorm food.
I found this recipe purporting to recreate the ease of Micro-Blue, but using real ingredients as opposed to powdered cheese product. I was intrigued. And since earlier I was looking for a quick and easy bite to eat, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.
Instant Mug O’ Mac & Cheese in the Microwave (from Babble)
- 1/3 cup pasta (I used corn elbows)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup 1% milk (I used skim)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Combine the pasta and water in a large mug or bowl. Microwave on high for two minutes, then stir. A lot of times the water will overflow while it heats up. It is OK if this happens. If you don’t want it to overflow just make this in a very large microwaveable bowl (I should have used a bowl). Repeat this for at least 2 to 4 more minutes, stirring at each 2-minute interval. The water should absorb completely and the pasta will be cooked through. If the pasta needs another minute it is okay to add one more teaspoon of water and microwave for another minute. My pasta cooked through in 4 minutes every time, but my microwaves tends to be very powerful (mine took about 6 minutes; not sure if this had to do with my pasta, my microwave, or both).
Remove it from the microwave and stir in the milk and cheese. Microwave for another minute. Stir the cheese thoroughly into the pasta and eat up!
Ugh. Ick. Bleh. I would prefer a bowl of watery Micro-Blue right now.
As I mentioned, I should have used a bowl, because at every interval the water overflowed – I even used one of my larger mugs in hopes of avoiding puddles in the microwave, but alas, it was not enough. OK, fine, I got the pasta cooked after a bit and added my milk and cheese and blasted it for the last minute. This is where things got ugly.
It’s one thing to have water overflow in the microwave, but milk and cheese-goo overflowing is quite another. When I tasted it, all I got was hot milk and globs of cheese interspersed. No amount of stirring incorporated the cheese with the milk at all. I even tried adding a little more cheese in a desperate attempt to get some sort of cheese-flavor, but all I got was a bigger glob of cheese.
Remembering my trick from my dorm room days, I ground a bunch of black pepper into the noodles. Even that wasn’t enough to bail out this sinking ship, so I dowsed the whole thing in ketchup. Classy.
So why is this 1.5 instead of 1? Well, it could always be worse, I guess.
I’m sorry to say that this concept really was too good to be true, at least in my case. Such a shame. It could be that using different cheese or 1% milk or some sort of magical microwave would result in a tasty product, but alas, it was not the case for me. If any of you give this a whirl and have better luck than I do, let me know! I have no problem being told just what I did wrong. Well, in this case, at least.