Tag Archives: mac n cheese

Weekly Eating – Jan 10, 2021

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Well, seems like everyone saying “2020 will be over and 2021 will be so great!” made 2021 go, “hold my beer!”

Wed. January 6th, armed Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, apparently to stop the affirmation of Biden as the next President. It’s on Wikipedia already, so there you go. We are living through some pretty historic times. And it seems we’re not done yet.

I don’t have any answers. I’m just getting through one day at a time just like all of you guys. Still processing, still coping, still trying to hold onto hope. All I can say is, keep doing what you need to do to keep you and your loved ones as safe and sane as possible.

Anywhoooo… let’s talk about food!

I had a long stint of not feeling very inspired to cook, I’m sure caused by many factors. Hormones post-partum are no joke people, but that’s a long a$s story for another day. Now I’m finally feeling a little more hopeful, a little more myself, which means a lot more obsessed with food and cooking.

I re-read How Not To Die again, which always reminds me of the million little things I can be doing/eating to be in even better health. My favorite point is ‘eating is a zero sum game’ meaning every thing you put in your mouth, you are choosing not to eat any other of the million things out there. So make the majority of choices good ones.

Oh, we are also on a good workout kick so far! The boy has decided this is the year to focus really hard on optimizing overall health. That means mental and physical, in every way. We are cutting down on caffeine, basically cold turkey stopped alcohol, and doing a veganish couple weeks. Plus workouts every other day. This is always a goal of mine but boy is it a hundred million times easier with a partner on board!

 

Monday:

Breakfast – I made a big batch of hummus over the weekend, and had a crazy idea to put it on toast. So I had toast with hummus and pickled onions, and avocado toast with some strawberries. Pretty great actually. Savory for breakfast works.

Lunch – leftovers from the weekend

Dinner – was planning to make a white bean pasta, but the boy requested the fanciest of dinners… boxed mac n cheese. I can’t say no to that! At least we both had a salad with it.

Snack – yeah, so then I had ice cream. With pecans and caramel sauce, cause go big or go home.

Tuesday:

Breakfast – avocado toast, like a good milennial, with hummus too (basically combined both yesterday’s into one)

Lunch – leftover mac n cheese, a veggie dog, leftover mashed potatoes and green beans

Snack – a peanut Clif bar

Dinner – a fanTAStic curry! I basically simmered 2 diced sweet potatoes, half a head of cauliflower, 1 can chickpeas, 1 can diced tomatoes, and 1 diced onion with turmeric, 1 tbsp garlic paste, and ginger for about an hour. Then I added some cayenne and 1/4 cup of coconut concentrate, and served over rice.

2 walks and 2 HIIT sessions! Boy were my glutes mad about all the squats health people love to do so much.

Wednesday:

Breakfast – super fail… y’all I’m gonna throw myself under the bus here, I tried to make a delicious egg scramble with mushrooms, peppers, and potato… but I saw a can of diced potatoes in the pantry. Figured I should use it. Didn’t check the date.

Guys. It expired in 2017 💀  So… um… that tasted weird, and we threw it out. I had peanut butter toast.

Lunch – leftover curry yum yum

Snack – an apple & orange

Dinner –a bomb Mexi casserole that I posted about on Instagram. Basically bake quinoa and a boatload of beans and veggies, then top with salsa, guac, and vegan queso and sour cream. Mmmmmm

Did a short 15 minute walking video. Leslie is my girl, but Get Fit With Rick is my new favorite to mix it up.

Thursday:

Breakfast – berry oatmeal! I microwaved a handful of mixed berries, some oats, and almond milk. Added some flaxseed and cinnamon, and YUM

Lunch – leftover curry

Dinner – terikayi tempeh stir fry. I used this recipe for the sauce and wow, do not use a full cup of soy sauce! It was salty, even for me, which is saying a lot, and wayyyy too wet.

Snack – I was good in the morning and had homemade hummus with bell peppers, but then in the afternoon the sweet tooth attacked, and I may have allegedly eaten some frozen cookie dough… and also some leftover mac n cheese… hey, I’m still breastfeeding!

More HIIT, because we are gluttons for punishment.

Friday:

Breakfast – everything bagel with cashew cream cheese and cherry butter, yum yum!

Lunch – more leftovers and a salad

Snack – hummus with chips and peppers

Dinner – vegan chili over baked potatoes, with tofu sour cream and avocado! this was super quick and easy in the instant pot.

The Weekend

This is a long weekend thanks to Martin Luther King day on Monday. I didn’t realize until halfway through the week that it was a holiday, so that was a nice little surprise. We will spend the weekend relaxing and catching up on chores.

We are lucky to have an auntie nearby who LOVES kids and is willing to watch the little guy. So he is going to go hang out there while we get stuff done. I’m going to do a big batch cooking day, plus lots of laundry, organizing, finishing the bathroom remodel, and probably taking down Christmas decor (sad face).

Food Total: $88

Did a Harris Teeter run last weekend to re-stock produce and pick up a bunch of necessities for Veganuary like tofu and tempeh. I got some salad, frozen berries, whole grain bread, and lots of flour for my homemade bread and rolls since I was OUT after the holidays. Plus some deli meat in case of emergency for the boy.

Lessons Learned

We are definitely creatures of habit and convenience. In order to make healthy eating as easy as possible, I need to have food ready to go. If it requires much more than put bowl in microwave and heat, there is not a big chance it will happen. Good thing my cooking mojo is back! It definitely makes more and more sense why people eat so much takeout and pre-prepared foods though. Especially with kids, good grief.

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Frank-n-Beans Macaroni

 

For a cheap but filling meal, it’s hard to beat boxed macaroni & cheese. Ramen is really the only other college-type staple that comes to mind, and I’ve shown many ways you can jazz up that simple steaming bowl of chickeny salt water.

While I’m all for fancy-schmancy six-cheese homemade mac, and love health-ifying with butternut squash puree or acorn squash, sometimes you just crave that classic boxed taste. But if you’ve eaten it way too often, or just like some variety, I’ve got just the thing. Consider this recipe to be the even-more-broke cousin of my famous chili mac recipe.

If you look for a good sale, you can get store-brand mac n cheese for about 25-35 cents, hot dogs are on sale often for $1 per pack of eight, and beans, especially dried, are always affordable. It is likely you can create two servings or one huge serving for under $1. And with only three ingredients, there is just no excuse to not try it, no matter what your level of cooking knowledge (or lack thereof).

Ingredients:

  • 1 hot dog
  • 1/2 cup beans (dry cooked, or canned)
  • 1 box macaroni & cheese
  • Optional: butter, milk (for mac n cheese)

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Step 1: If using dried beans, bring 1 cup beans per 2 cups water to a boil, and simmer 2-4 hours, until tender. If using canned, simply drain and rinse. Cook the hot dog by either boiling for 10 minutes, grilling it, or microwaving for 1 minute 45 seconds.

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Step 2: Boil the macaroni, following directions on the box. Cut the hot dog into slices, drain the macaroni. If using butter or milk in your mac, add those as well as the beans and hot dog. Mix together and enjoy!

 

Acorn Squash Mac-n-cheese

This is a recipe similar to one I have shared earlier on how to make Butternut Squash Mac-n-cheese. You could probably substitute in any winter squash you have on hand for the sauce. The acorn squash here gives it a subtly sweet flavor, and packs in TONS of fiber and extra vitamins. Try adding some squash to your mac n cheese, I bet the kids won’t even know!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 acorn squash
  • 1 box macaroni and cheese
  • 1 cup spinach

Step 1: Cut the acorn squash in half and roast, cut sides down, on a pan with 1 inch of water at 350 for 1-1.5 hours. Or you can microwave, cut side down, on high for 10 minutes, flip and 10 more minutes.

Step 2: Use a fork or spoon to pull the flesh out of the cooked sqash and mash it or put through a blender.

Step 3: Make your macaroni, and in the last minute of boiling add the spinach. Drain and add the cheese sauce.

Step 4: Stir in the squash, top with an extra sprinkle of cheese or breadcrumbs if you like, and serve!

Ten minute chili mac

 

Who doesn’t love a little comfort food now and then?I know I do! I believe in life with moderation in all things. Eat well most of the time, be active most of the time, indulge a little some of the time!

Not only is this chili mac super easy and fast, it is also ridiculously cheap. To bare-bones it, just get the store brand mac n cheese and the frugal-est can of pre-made chili and mix the two. This recipe is just one step up from there by making your own quick chilli. You can use the chili alone, or top hot dogs or baked potatoes too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box macaroni & cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar for extra oomph)
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 small can tomato sauce (6 oz)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder

Step 1: Prepare the macaroni by boiling and draining pasta. You can choose to make your own pasta and cheese sauce if you don’t want the preservatives or seasonings from the packaged version.

Step 2: While noodles boil, brown the ground meat and drain fat. In a sauce pot, combine the meat, diced tomatoes with juice, chili powder, drained kidney beans, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes to 2 hours.

Step 3: If you’re using this just as chili for a meal or topper, longer simmering is better. But basically as soon as flavors combine and it is heated through you can add into the macaroni. Just pour it all in there, and give it a good stir.

You can add in any spices you want too, hot sauce if you like that kinda thing, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, etc…

There you have it, a thick, hearty comfort food that is sure to please your palate and fill your tummy. Depending on if you hit sales and buy store brand or not, you can easily feed six-eight for under $3!

Enjoy!


What’s your favorite comfort food?