Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bachelor's Cookbook: Kraft Easy Mac

Macaroni and cheese is of course a staple in the bachelor's diet, but one which does not get made as often as it should because (gasp) it requires DIRTYING A POT! Oh the horrors! So anyhow, I was in Safeway and noticed this new product: Kraft Easy Mac.

It comes bundled two ways: In a styrofoam cup similar to a ramen noodle cup for around 99 cents apiece, or in a box of six requiring you to dirty a microwave-safe bowl. But since microwave-safe disposable bowls are around the corner, do not let the fact that you own no bowls stop you from the latter.

I have tried both ways. They taste identical, and are prepared identically once you set aside the packet of cheese sauce and poured the macaroni into the bowl (if not the styrofoam version). You place a specified amount of room temperature tap water into the bowl, either to a line in the styrofoam bowl or 2/3rds cup into your own bowl. You place the uncovered bowl into your microwave, and nuke it for 3 minutes and 45 seconds. You remove bowl from microwave (it may help to place it on a saucer before nuking to make this operation painless). You pour the cheese sauce powder in and mix well until it is all disolved. Wait about 30 seconds, the cheese sauce stiffens up a bit, stir again. Eat.

And that is it. That's all to it. It tastes exactly like, well, Kraft macaroni and cheese. It's as perfect a food for the dorm or for bachelors or bachelorettes as ramen noodles. Accompany with a can of tuna for necessary protein, and multivitamins and calcium tablets for necessary vitamins and minerals, and you will at least survive. It is recommended, however, that you occasionally branch out to other foods, such as the home-made cheese and bean burritos previously discussed here, and of course frozen pizzas. (Note: The first batch of pizzas will be baking next week! I am currently developing the test plan and will present it to you sometime this weekend for comment and enhancement).

- Badtux the Culinary Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 4/06/2007 09:39:00 PM  


If you throw in some cherry tomatoes, it adds a change. You can also slice up a hot dog for added protein and texture.
# posted by Bryan : 7/4/07 9:16 AM  

Jeez, BT, why weren't you posting back when I was single-against-my-wishes?

But you're right about one thing: starvation is a great motivator. I now make a Chicken Canzanese that is pretty damned good, if I do say so myself. And the lovely yet talented Mrs 618 also says so.
# posted by andrew618 : 7/4/07 11:29 AM  

Indeed, every bachelor needs to learn how to cook at least one non-prefab dish for when The Girlfriend comes over for dinner. This by necessity requires purchasing a few cooking utensiles such as a good paring knife, a good chopping knife, a cutting board, and appropriate pots and pans for cooking The Dish. Purchase of power tools may also be justifiable ("Ugh! More Power!" -- cue Tim Allen grunt). The power tool called a "food processor" has suitably grunt-worthy spinning blades and makes the work of, say, creating nicely diced bellpepper for The Dish fairly simple. The Girlfriend shall be impressed as you use this power tool to prepare The Dish, and you will be smiling inside as your inner caveman rejoices in the use of power tools, a genetically programmed activity producing pleasure for any normal male. Oh. And it also requires purchase of The Cookbook, the one and only cookbook (other than The Bachelor's Cookbook) in your possession, which resides in a kitchen drawer for the other 363 days of the year. In my case, The Cookbook is "Enola Prudhomme's Low-fat Cajun Cooking", thus The Dish is shrimp creole served over rice.

Generally you do not need to have two signature dishes, since The Girlfriend only wishes to eat at your place once in order to ascertain that you are suitably sensitive and kitchen-wise to merit her attention. In the unlikely event that this does not prove true, it is helpful to study other contents of The Cookbook and practice their preparation before they are needed.

-- Badtux the Bachelor Penguin
(Hey, I'm a long way from Antarctica!).
# posted by BadTux : 7/4/07 11:52 AM  

Try sloshing some of your favorite picante sauce into kraft mac & cheese. If you are careful not to let it get too watery (the chunky kind works best) it is yummy!
# posted by Betsy : 7/4/07 1:05 PM  

Oh, come on, washing a few dishes isn't a big deal. I keep a spray bottle of soap and water, squirt a little on the dish and wipe it with a wet scrubber and rinse it off and put it on the drain board.

To heck with filling a sink with dish water and rinse water, it's too much work and uses too much water.

I mostly cook with an electric frying pan so just putting a little water in it when done and warming it up a bit and wiping out with a paper towel gets it clean again.

I nuke a lot of things also of course. I made mac and cheese the other day, added a can of stewed tomatoes and some garlic salt. It was okay, it made a turd.

But I don't live to eat, just eat to live. Like to spoil myself with some fresh oysters once in a while though.

And I've learned to stop trying to impress girl friends, it's a waste of my time. You are more than welcome to every single woman I've tried a relationship in the last nine years.
# posted by BBC : 7/4/07 8:34 PM  

Since I like my mac and cheese souped up with mushroom soup, I'll stick to the boxed non microwaveable. Thanks for the heads up on that, though. If I ever want the easy choice, I know what to get:)
# posted by oldwhitelady : 7/4/07 10:06 PM  

Yes, toss cream of mushroom soup and a can of tuna into your mac'n'cheese and you have instant tuna casserole. Yum. But does require dirtying a pot. Also requires keeping some butter around if you want it to taste right, though I'm going to experiment with olive oil in place of the butter next time I try it.
# posted by BadTux : 8/4/07 12:20 AM  

Mac and Cheese is good if you're desperate, but it's not one of my favourites. Then, again, I ate too much of it while I was growing up to be very fond of it now (along with bologna sandwiches). Plus, there are so many other things that can be fixed that are alomst as easy and most tasty.

One quick meal is beanie-weenies. A can of pork&beans along with some hot dogs (Use the deluxe variety if you like the taste or are trying to impress some one.). Yes, it requires dirtying a dish, but that's easy enough of a problem to fix.

Let's see, another one is a pot of chili. I use ground beef, browned lightly in the pot first, followed by a can of tomoto soup, kidney beans, onions, (lots of) garlic, and lots and lots of chili powder (Yeah, the purists would say to make your own out of chili peppers, but remember we're doing bachelor cooking here.). Let it simmer for a while (2 hours is good, but don't let it boil dry.) to let the flavours mix well. If you like a more full bodied chili, add a can of beer (Empty it from the can first!), but keep it well stirred, since it tends to scortch easily. Eat with crackers of your choice, and, optionally, some shredded cheese on top. A suitably sized pot should provide good eating for a couple of days. Oh, and don't plan on making this if you're going to be spending time with your girlfriend for the next day or two (Well, unless she's into perverse things like the "dutch oven".).

There are, of course, other suitable bachelor dinners. Vienna sasuages aren't too bad (well, if you can stand the smell). Home made pizza does take a little work, but it suitable for impressing a girlfriend (at least, if you have one worthy of trying to impress). Spaghetti is another fairly easy meal that doesn't involved too much cleanup.

As for the cookbook, you can discard it after you get a little experience in the kitchen.


P.S. It seems that it's more fun to discuss food than politics.
# posted by Anonymous : 8/4/07 2:27 PM  

come on over and cook me up something good, big boy! ;-)

You're already dressed for a night out.
# posted by cookie jill : 10/4/07 7:16 PM  

Mac and cheese is always a favorite on the trail for its light weight. I use olive oil in place of butter and sometimes add tuna (more weight, so you have an incentive to eat it early in the hike. Thanks for the reviews, BT. It's good to see a penguin who understands basics.
# posted by Rez Dog : 11/4/07 8:18 AM  

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