Macaroni for Dummies

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I walk through my door after a long day at work. I’m crampy and cranky and spent. All I want to do is plop down on my couch and watch an episode (or three) of the newest HBO show I’ve been turned on to. But I’m starving. I thumb through my take-out menus, but I’m not really in the mood for Korean food. Pizza won’t cut it either. Sound familiar? Here are a few of my tried and true, no hassle recipes, all involving my number one comfort food – elbow macaroni. These dishes take less than twenty minutes to prepare, and are made with ingredients you can find at most of the big marts.The trick in whipping out quick meals is recognizing that you are going to have these moments, and stocking up on the ingredients beforehand.

Elbow macaroni is ever-present here, it’s super cheap and most of the big marts have a few brands to choose from. My macaroni of choice is Gallo, which is available at Emart and comes in a red bag. The recipes below will make two large servings. For each, start by boiling about 1/3 of a 500g bag of macaroni and draining it.

Jalapeno Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients:
5 Slices of Processed Cheese (I prefer Seoul Milk brand)
½ Cup of Shredded Mozzarella or Cheddar
1 Cup of Milk
2 Tablespoons of Butter (I use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
15 Diced Jalapeno Rings

In a small saucepan, heat up milk and butter on a low flame. Do not bring to a boil. Add cheese, jalapenos and a tablespoon each of salt and black pepper. Stir constantly until the cheese is fully melted. Pour over macaroni. If you have an oven, mix in ½ cup of breadcrumbs and bake on 150 degrees Celsius for 10-12 minutes.


Spicy Tuna Macaroni Salad

Ingredients:
1 250g Can of Light or White Tuna
2 Small bell peppers (I prefer yellow and red), diced
1 Small onion, diced
20-25 Pitted black olives, diced
15 Diced Jalapeno Rings
½ Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. of Dijon mustard

This is a cold dish, so when you finish boiling the macaroni, run it under cold water in a colander for a few moments. Thoroughly drain the tuna and mash it up in a large bowl with a fork. Add the mayo and mustard and mix thoroughly. Add the other ingredients, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the macaroni and stir until the ingredients are spread evenly. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.


Pasta Fagioli

Ingredients:
1 large (28oz) Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1 400g can of Divella Cannellini beans
5-6 Cloves of Garlic, peeled
3 Cups of Water
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (1-2 Tbsp. depending how spicy you like it)
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Use the handle of a knife to crush the garlic cloves, to release the flavor. In a saucepan, lightly brown the garlic in a thin layer of olive of grape seed oil. Open the can of tomatoes and, with your hand, squish each one into the pan (splatter warning!!!). Drain and add the cannellini beans and 2 cups of water. Add salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the rest of the water as you stir. After about 12 minutes, add the macaroni and Parmesan cheese. Give a few more good stirs and voila!


You can read more from Jen here.

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