Getting My Mac On

52 macs in 52 weeks

May 25, 2020

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Week 12: Smoky Cheddar Mac

My whole life, I’ve had no sense of time. I’m bad at estimating how long things will take, I have no real concept of it passing. I think I was late every day of 6th grade and we could SEE the school from our house. When I was the morning news anchor at KNDU, I frequently went on air with only one contact in, hitting the chair with just a few seconds to spare. My New Year’s resolutions always include becoming a punctual person. It never takes for long. I don’t like being this way. It’s stressful and frustrating for me and for the people I know I’m making wait. I know the perception of people who run late is that we aren’t respectful of other people, but that’s really not the case in my case. I just honestly don’t seem to have the ability. I set alarms, I have clocks in every room of the house and I always wear a watch, I have tried SO MANY tricks and hacks and nothing seems to work. It feels like there’s some vital element missing in my brain.

I was diagnosed with ADHD in my 30s. It’s not something that anyone would have guessed when I was a kid, because I was able to focus on books and get good grades. As it happens, attention deficit is a misleading label – it’s more an inability to decide where to focus your attention. Additionally, the typical signs of hyperactivity weren’t there, unless you count the incessant chattering and the contestant cartwheeling everywhere I went. And, as it turns out, a lack of a sense of time is another primary symptom, but that wasn’t well-understood back then. Medication has helped with some of the other issues, but has been the least successful with my time challenges.

Working from home the last 10 weeks has also not helped.  Some days fly by, others draaaaaggg.  Weekdays melt into weekends and back again. A three-day weekend like this one really throws me off. Which is why I’m a day late posting this recipe. Yesterday really felt like Saturday, not Sunday (and I had a terrible headache in the afternoon, so I ended up sleeping about 12 hours straight through until this morning) so I thought I still had a day. (Although I don’t know what day I thought Saturday was.) This morning I realized it was Monday and I had not only not posted, I hadn’t even made anything! So I dug through my fridge and found some random ingredients that resulted in the following smoky cheddar mac and cheese.  As they say, better late than never!

Smoky Cheddar Mac


  • 8 oz. mini penne
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups shredded smoky cheddar cheese (see notes)
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese


  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add mini penne noodles and boile for 7-8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Heat milk just to the edge of boiling and remove from heat.
  • Melt butter and add flour, whisking for approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add milk slowly, whisking constantly. It will thicken and then smooth out.
  • Return pan to heat and add cheeses, stirring until melted and smooth.
  • Add pasta and stir to coat.
  • Top with additional shredded cheese if desired.


This turned out nice. The smoky cheddar is understated and mellow, and the extra-sharp cheddar gives it just enough bite. It’s not particularly bold or “pow,” but it definitely has that comfort food vibe. It would be extremely easy to just keep eating this without realizing quite how much you’d consumed. (Not that I’ve ever done that.)


  • I had a wedge of Smoky Cheddar Cheese from the WSU Creamery that had been in the back of my deli drawer for … a while. (There’s that no sense of time thing again.) It hadn’t been opened, but the date had worn off the label, so I wasn’t sure whether it was still good. But since there was no mold and it looked, smelled, felt, and tasted fine; I went for it. (If I had planned to serve this to anyone else, I would not have risked it.) If you’re not lucky enough to have WSU cheese on hand, any smoked cheddar will work.

Posted May 25, 2020

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