Ma-in-law’s Macaroni and Cheese

It is clear that my holiday time out from blogging is officially overextended when I’m pinged on FB chat and asked why I have not been posting. (Thank you Shilpa, I clearly needed that.) So I’m clambering back on the blog wagon after an overly enjoyable and extended holiday breakĀ  that started with Thanksgiving and forgot to end until the last of many inches of snow melted. Yes, Atlanta experienced its once in a decade Snoh my God! The city simply froze in shock for a Biblical seven days. We’re just about getting done with the thawing out.

So to pick up where I left off I’m going back to Thanksgiving week, when Sammie’s parents spent the week with us in Atlanta. It was quality family time and good food time so we simply had to have her mac ‘n’ cheese. It is pure, creamy, cheesy comfort. We did have a moment when Sammie waltzed in from the grocery store with black wax cheddar which was not on the grocery list his mother had given him. He announced confidently that it would be great in the mac ‘n’ cheese. He doesn’t cook so of course ma-in-law and I eyed each other doubtfully. It’s a rich, sharp cheddar so we went with it and of course it rocked. Glad I had the presence of mind to grab some pictures. It is a simple recipe and I watched her every step of the way but I have the oddest feeling it will not taste quite the same if I try to make it. What is it with Mothers’ and grandmother’s recipes that makes it so hard to get them just right? Maybe the taste comes from years of practice and not the ingredients or the method. I’m giving myself about twenty years.

Prep time: 5 min | Total time: 50 minutes | Servings: 4 – 6

Black Wax Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese (by Sherlyn Rice)

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A short trip from “Eww! Is this new?” to “Ooh! My fave Three-Cheese Macaroni”

Sammie will correctly describe himself as someone who doesn’t like to try variations on his favorite foods. Me he will describe as constantly trying stuff out and it seems to work out just perfectly. All it takes is getting Sammie to try something once and maybe twice and if it strikes the right note the new dish or variation moves at lightning speed from “new and suspect” to his ‘favorite foods” list. It happens so fast he usually has no recollection of it ever having been new.

He protested strongly if I ever tried to stray too far from his Mom’s tried and tested Mac n’ Cheese recipe. The day I decided to go for it anyway, Mom called and just before he hung up he threw in a little complaint about me trying to make “some crazy three cheese stuff” and it turned out that my ma-in-law is a fan of the three cheese and was making some herself for dinner that night. So all bets were off and yes, it is now firmly under favorite foods.

Prep time: 5 min | Total time: 40 minutes | Servings: 4

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Spiced Spinach, Potatoes & Chickpea

You know those days when you just want to veg on the couch with a book, or binge on movies or simply lay there without moving. Those are the days to reach for foods that are perfect to recharge those batteries and are also easy to pull together, like this spinach, potato and chickpea dish. Get your iron and antioxidants from the dark green goodness of spinach. Get your protein, dietary fiber, zinc and folate from the chickpea. The potatoes are there to add comfort.

I eat it as a side or even as a mini-meal by itself. Spinach and chickpeas are cooked together, in every possible fashion, all the way from South Asia through the Mediterranean. There’s a good reason it is so popular.

Prep time: 10 min| Total time: 20 min| Servings: 4

Spiced Spinach, Potatoes & Chickpeas (Jay)

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