Some things just go together. Peanut butter and jelly, pasta and cheese, Abbi and Ilana…
Yes, if you haven’t caught on by the title of the inaugural post of The Reckless Veg, ya girl made a mac & cheese dish inspired by the goofy, side-splitting-funny women of Broad City. For those who are not aware (ahem, get a Hulu subscription already), Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are comedy powerhouses who have created a show that highlights the lives of two gal pals struggling financially and getting into shenanigans in the fine city of New York.
One thing I have in common with Abbi and Ilana is that I too, am broke as hell. Between textbook season, utilities, the money I dropped on rent this summer and my recent purchase of train tickets to D.C., I am HURTIN’. For college student readers, esp. those fellow bobcats in Athens, OH, I know you feel my pain. There is not a single reason why anyone in Athens should have to pay Brooklyn-level rent prices for a dingy college house.
Rent’s a necessary evil, but being tight on money doesn’t mean that you can’t eat some killer food.
So here’s the deal. There are going to be weeks where I’m gonna ball the heck out and teach you how to make some high-class, fancy-ass meals of some difficulty. But today, in honor of all us broke kids out there, I’ve decided to make “Fronds Til the Ond Mac & Cheese,” aka, cheap box mac with other stuff in it so that it tastes even better and makes you feel less grimy.
WHAT YOU NEED:
Box of Mac & Cheese (I prefer Annie’s, but follow your heart)
Half & Half (3 Tbsp.)
A can of diced tomatoes (4 Tbsp.)
MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles (In the frozen section)
Diced garlic (fresh or jarred, either is good)
Mexican Blend shredded cheese
Step 1: Prepare your pot of water for the mac. Basically follow the box’s directions up through the end.
Step 2: Once you’ve got the burner for the pot of water turned on, get a skillet for your crumbles. Toss 1/3 cup of water in there, pour the bag full of crumbles in and cover. Cook on high for 4 minutes.
Step 3: Once you’ve cooked the crumbles for 4 minutes, remove the lid and let cook for another four on medium. Once you’ve lowered the temp, add about 4 Tbsp. of diced tomatoes. I like to add about 2 tsp. of garlic, but I really like garlic, so add yours to taste.
Step 4: At this point you’re probably boiling the mac. Once that is all done and drained, leave in strainer while you prep the cheese sauce in the pan you just used to boil it. Duh! I like to use half & half because, not only does the mac taste richer, but it lasts longer than milk, which I personally don’t use outside of prepping boxed mac & cheese. Score!
Step 5: Before you toss in the noods with that cheese sauce, add about half the pan of crumbles ft. tomatoes and garlic into the sauce. Mix it up. I like to keep the second half for the mac & cheese I’m making the next day, but if you’re hungry, put the whole pan of it in.
Step 6: Add. Those. Noodles. Who’s the boss of this meal? You’re the boss of this meal! Now mix it with love.
Step 7: If you’re not a heathen who eats straight out of the pot like I do, first pour your meal into a serving bowl. Then add your shredded cheese on top. I also recommend garnishing with chili powder and/or cilantro. Be aware that cilantro can get weirdly pricey out of season, which is why I stuck to strictly chili powder this time around.
You can easily make two boxes of mac if you’re sharing this meal with the Abbi or Ilana in your life. Eat it up before going out dancing, tandem bike riding, or getting into trouble with your best bud.
P.S. I may or may not have whispered, “Yas queen!” to myself as I took the first bite of this meal, oops.