Getting My Mac On

52 macs in 52 weeks

April 21, 2020
MaryAnne

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Week 7: Single Serving Mac

I pretty much knew from the start that at some point over the course of 52 weeks, I would miss one of my self-imposed Sunday posting deadlines. It was bound to happen, because I’m a procrastinator.  I don’t say that to put myself down, it’s just a simple fact.  I may not love that aspect of myself, but it’s undeniably true.

That, combined with last week being the first time I’ve really struggled during the stay home order and I didn’t even START to think about this week’s recipe (well, LAST week’s recipe, now) until Friday afternoon.  It wasn’t even anything major, just regular irritations and frustrations and emotions that piled up. Like following up on a prescription that was supposed to have been called in the week before. Trying to get a call back from someone at the Kennewick Irrigation District, an agency that in the BEST of times can be a nightmare. Wearing a “mask” (scarf) to the store and feeling like I was going to hyperventilate. Feeling bad for my sister and her fiancé when they decided to cancel their wedding venue in October, just in case.

So I was in “adulting is hard” mode and super emotional by Thursday; then on Friday, I was tired (and lazy) and like Scarlett O’Hara, I decided to worry about it tomorrow.

And then when Saturday rolled around, I didn’t feel very good.  Headaches are a way of life for me, and this one wasn’t crazy bad, but I was also coughing, which made the pain kind of pulse through my temple. And my throat was just a tiny bit scratchy. And I was kinda warm-ish, so (big mistake), I took my temperature a couple of times. My baseline is in the 97.5-97.9 degree range, so seeing 98.6 and 98.9 was mildly concerning. I am not a hypochondriac and in the Before Times, I would have barely noticed any of this except for the headache.  But things are a little different right now, and it had already been a tough week, and I let paranoia get to me. (Spoiler alert – I do not have COVID-19.  I think the headache was from not drinking enough water, the scratchy throat was because I’d eaten some popcorn, and the higher temp was me being overheated from taking a nap in a hoodie.)

I don’t know WHAT my problem was on Sunday – my headache was gone, but I Could. Not. Get. Motivated. To wash dishes, to make mac & cheese, to do anything. All day. I finally, no joke, got off my butt around 9pm to clean up the kitchen and have some dinner. At that point, I knew I wasn’t going to get a post up, but I decided to go ahead and make the mac & cheese.  I didn’t feel like doing a lot of prep work or making a big batch of anything with a lot of different ingredients – and I was hungry – so I decided to go the simple route.

Single Serving Mac

Adapted from Baking Mischief

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (see notes)
  • Salt
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional) (see notes)
  • Pinch of nutmeg (optional) (see notes)

DIRECTIONS

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook macaroni 9-10 minutes
  • Drain and rinse with cold water
  • In a small pan, melt butter, then stir in flour and whisk for a minute or so until it thickens
  • Stir in the milk and whisk for 3-4 minutes
  • Add cheese and stir until it’s fully melted
  • Add salt, and cayenne and nutmeg if using
  • Add macaroni to cheese sauce and stir to coat evenly
  • Top with an additional sprinkle of cayenne if desired

RESULTS

This was a little bit of a cheat on my part, as it is nearly identical to the Classic Mac I made the first week, just scaled down.* On the other hand, sometimes you don’t want a vat of pasta (although that’s rare), and it’s handy to know that a single bowl full of cheesy mac goodness is just a few minutes away. 

The prep for this was WAY easier than the others I’ve done so far, because I already had exactly the right amount of shredded cheese left over from last week, exactly a tablespoon of butter in the butter dish, a partial box of elbows, etc.  It was a little bland – the cheese was a medium cheddar, which is fine when combined with something else, but not a great stand-alone. It actually made what I’d consider 1½ servings … just slightly too much for one meal, but not quite enough for two.

*Technically they came from different sources, but there are only so many variations in the measurements for cheese sauce … it’s the KIND of cheeses, add-ins, etc., that make each one different.

RATING

NOTES

  • As noted above, I used a medium cheddar.  Next time I would go for a sharp or even extra-sharp; or mix in something with a stronger flavor profile.
  • I was very cautious with the cayenne as my tolerance for spicy isn’t high. Even so, because it was so mild, I sprinkled some more on top and it helped.
  • I intended to include the nutmeg, but it turned out I don’t have any.  I used pumpkin pie spice at Thanksgiving, not the individual spices. I see a lot of mac & cheese recipes that call for it, so I’ll pick some up one of these days.

Posted April 20, 2020

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