Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Essentials for Any Pirate's Larder

I often find myself struggling to find a well-balanced meal, as the phrase goes. Too often, a dinner is made up of entirely one food group, usually all carb or all meat, and more so the latter in my younger days. I find meat to be a bit too expensive right now to make a meal out of it. Pasta, on the other hand, is only 99 cents a bag, or, in the case of Meijer brand spirals and cheese, 99 cents a box.

But human cannot live on mac and cheese alone. Because I don’t deem the dinky powdered cheese packet to contain enough protein to really amount to anything, nor the tablespoons of milk, I started adding a can of tuna at the recommendation of a friend who used to make tuna mac all the time. (We tended to add hot dogs when I was a kid, which I also made not that long ago.) Besides, fish is good for the brain!

Protein isn’t the only thing required for a proper human diet, however, so I also add one cup of frozen vegetables. I prefer the Meijer frozen veggies because, unlike everyone else, Meijer does not include lima beans in their mix. (Huzzah!)

The first thing I do when I prepare this particular dish is after the water has started to boil, I add the vegetables followed by the noodles. I find this adds a little more vegetables flavor to the resulting mac and cheese, as well as keeping the vegetables and pasta well mixed. Once the noodles are softened and al dente (if you can manage that), I drain the pot of water, then add the milk, butter, and cheese. Once that is all blended and the cheese chunks have been dispersed, I add the drained can of tuna and stir that in.
Et voila! Tuna mac with veggies: a decently nutritionally balanced meal for cheap. Just add an apple on the side, or drink a cup of juice, and I think we’ve covered all the basic food groups. 

What other fun things can we add to mac and cheese? I'd love to hear your ideas!

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