Friday, November 21, 2008

The Idiot-Proof Recipe. (Or, my Aunt is a kitchen goddess).

My Aunt P. is pretty stinking awesome. Why, you say, is she so awesome? Let me just tell you why:

1. She can organize a baby shower, plan a Christmas party, and pick out tile for her new bathroom floor simultaneously.

2. She has her own sense of style. (which is very eerily similar to my own...patent leather, bright colors, animal ANYTHING...)

3. She and my uncle have been married for almost 40 years, and I can only hope my marriage will be as rock solid as theirs is when I am her age.

4. She gave me this recipe, which is fabulous to make when you don't want to cook, 99% of men love, and qualifies as comfort food:

The Lineup.
1 pound ground beef. Lean, sorta-lean, whatever.

2 cans of Cream-of-something-soup. I used celery, you can use mushroom, chicken....

2 cups of cheese. That's a bag, for those of you who don't want to do the math. You can buy it already shredded like I did. I'm lazy. It's ok.

About 1/2 cup of dry elbow noodles. You can empty out the kraft box and throw away the cheese packet. That's what I did.

2 TBSP of butter. Yup, good ol' artery clogging, pants-shrinking butter.

6 slices of cheddar cheese. Or american cheese. (This recipe is obviously easy).

About 1/2 cup of milk.

Let the fun begin!

First, pour yourself a big glass of wine. No, I don't care if it's red or white, or that sissy white zinfandel. It's non-essential to the recipe. You're going to drink it, not cook with it.

Good. Now throw the elbow noodles into a glass or ceramic bowl, add about 1 1/2 cups of water, and put it in the microwave for about 10 minutes. (You can cook it on the stove if you really want, but I prefer the speedy nuking method).

Now, put the ground beef into a large skillet on the stove, and brown it up. I'm paranoid of getting salmonella, so I always overcook my meat a little. Thankfully, my husband doesn't seem to notice. Add a little bit of salt and a LOT of black pepper to the meat while it is cooking.

Is the pasta cooked? If not, put it back in for a few minutes. If it is, then drain it, rinse it, and set aside. (refill your wine glass now, if it's getting a little low).

In another microwaveable bowl, add the butter, 1 1/2 c. shredded cheese, 1/2 cup of milk, and the 6 slices of cheddar (or american) cheese. Don't ask me why this recipe uses shredded AND sliced cheese, this is how my aunt told me to make it...and I don't argue with a bonified kitchen expert.

Microwave the butter/cheese/milk mixture until it's melted, stirring it a couple of times to keep it smooth.
Take the meat off of the stove (if you haven't already), add the cooked noodles, and the melted butter/cheese/milk mixture. Gently stir it to mix (unless you want mushed-up pasta, then by all means disregard the 'gently' in these instructions)... Add a little more milk if you want your casserole more on the creamy side. That's totally up to you.
Pour the whole mess into an 8x8 casserole dish, and stick it into the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Have another glass of wine, and check your e-mail, or check out the christmas decorating tips at Pottery Barn.
Pull the casserole out, top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese (you were wondering what that was for, weren't you?), and stick it back into the oven for 5 or 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
That's it! Plate it up, add a salad (have to have something healthy, right?), and enjoy!


Megan said...

Sounds yummy! When do you add the soup?

Adventures in Newlywed said...

The recipe's in our cookbook, but you add the soup near the end, I think?