Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lazy Rainy Monday and Homemade Mac n' Cheese

Hello!  Yes, I'm still around ;) After a little hiatus I'm ready to start writing again (I know you all missed me SO MUCH! ;) ) Things have been a little crazy around here, getting adjusted to having two little ones at home.  It's been so much fun!  Charlie is nearly a month old now and time is flying by so fast!  Lily is doing great with Charlie and is constantly asking if she can hold him or kiss him!  I think they will be fast friends and I'm so excited for him to get a bit older so they can play together. It'll be so wonderful for Lily to have a built in playmate! I feel so blessed to have my little family :)
Yesterday was a rainy, gloomy day here in Ohio, and it looks like today is going to be much the same (although I do see some sunshine this morning!).  When it comes to days like these, I always want comfort foods! Something warm and filling to fix for lunch or dinner.  Yesterday it was homemade macaroni and cheese! Yum!  This recipe came from my mother-in-law, Mary, and it was one of my husband's favorite meals when he was growing up.  It's a major comfort food for him - and it's a really easy and delicious recipe!  I have tweaked it just a bit to my own tastes...and the best thing about it - is it makes a ton - two 9x13 pans!  The recipe halves really easily if you don't want to make that much, but it freezes REALLY well, so that's usually what I do with it.  I make one 9x13 pan and two 8x8 pans to cover and freeze for lunches or a side dish with dinner.  The mac n' cheese goes GREAT with burgers or hot dogs on a summer evening too!

*freezer tips*

  • Wrap your pans in a tight layer of cling wrap and then in aluminum foil to keep them fresh the longest
  • Short on pans?  line the bottom of your pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and freeze. Once your casserole is well frozen, just pull it out of the pan , wrap in foil and drop it into a freezer bag.  When you're ready to cook it again, just remove the foil and pop it back into the pan.
  • Always thaw your dish before cooking it....if you bring it nearly to room temperature the cooking time will remain the same.  If you don't have time to thaw it - just add about 15 minutes to the original cooking time :)
  • Most dishes are good for about 3 months in the freezer - add a piece of tape to the foil and write down the date you made it so you know how long it will be good!

Homemade Mac n' Cheese

1 (16 oz) box elbow macaroni
1 1/2 sticks butter
4 T. flour
3 c. milk
4-6 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. In the large pot, melt butter. Add flour and blend well. Stir in milk and 2 c. shredded cheese and stir constantly until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir in cooked macaroni. Salt and pepper to taste.  Pour into two greased 9x13 pans and spread evenly.  Top each pan with 1-2 cups of shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy!!!

I don't know about you, but I really enjoy spending rainy days at home - yes, they can get a little old when you get several of them in a row, but when it comes to the occasional rainy day to give you a break from the heat - they can be a lot of fun!  I really enjoy them when my husband is home too!
Yesterday, Lily wanted to  make a "pillow fort."  This is usually done without much enthusiasm on my part because I know it's a huge day of MESS in my already crowded living room...but she loves it, so how can I possibly say no!  We spent most of the day in Lily's "fort" with pillow fights, puzzles, video games, and movie and popcorn time.  It gave me a lot of fun photo ops and as always, its a great way to make memories for my babies!   Yes, I had to fight my obsessive compulsive cleaning ;) but it was worth it to see Lily enjoying herself so much!
Time for me to get some of the things accomplished that I put off yesterday ;)  And I'm reheating yesterdays mac n' cheese for lunch today too! Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!!
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