Like most household cooks, I learned my basic formula from my mother. But, other than a few necessary lessons, I don’t have a formal training in the kitchen.
My mom’s cooking style mirrors her art. Most of her creations don’t come with an instruction manual; she improves upon what she already knows. When Mom designed our large scales dolls for The Crane Maiden, there was no instruction manual in sight. She did have, however, years of experience. Where Mom takes her projects next is where the magic happens. Mom’s method of creating art and for cooking food is something I like to call “Mom Soup”.
When I first needed to cook for myself, I required all instructions laid out before me just to achieve a basic meal. As my confidence grew in the kitchen, I learned to add ingredients that looked tasty without instructions telling me to do so. My food became more interesting and I learned how certain ingredients are supposed to be used.
My method partially resulted by my limited budget, but also by limited transportation to the grocery store. I usually have everything for a recipe except one or two ingredients. When my husband is at work, he has the car. When I am stranded at home, I add things that recipes didn’t tell me to and Mom Soup happens.
Last night, I comforted myself by making “Mom Soup Beefy Mac”. I like doing things that remind me of my parents’ home. For starters, I was feeling very grumpy. I had just spent the better part of an hour searching a bunch of “recipe finder” websites and inputted my entire household of food in their databases to see what food the internet thought I should make. I moved back and forth through recipes I either didn’t want (I just had pasta, thank you), or recipes with only eighty percent of my ingredients (no car, remember?).
I had it! I was frustrated, tired, and very hungry. I had a cold. I really didn’t want to have to cook, but we had no leftovers and I needed protein. It was late at night and my blood sugar must have been low. I called my husband and whined about my dilemma. He requested beefy mac and Mom Soup happened.
Mom Soup Beefy Mac:
1 box Kroger Value Macaroni and Cheese Dinner
1 pound of ground beef
About 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
About 1 &1/2 cup V8 Original 100% Vegetable Juice, Low Sodium
Pepper to taste
Season Salt to taste
The comforting process:
Cook the ground beef on a skillet and boil water in a pot for the Mac ‘n Cheese. Add chopped bell peppers to the beef and cook them in. I recommend starting the beef after the water finished boiling and the mac is in the pot. I had to wait with the beef on simmer for a bit while working on the Mac ‘n Cheese.
Among other things, the ground beef was the source of my problems. I spent a long time filtering through not-ground beef recipes to find a disappointing variety of ground beef recipes.
The sizzling sound of food in a hot cast iron skillet calms the nerves.
Follow the basic Mac ‘n Cheese box instructions: boil water, add macaroni to boiling water, cover pot and let mac boil until thoroughly cooked, drain, add powdered cheese. It’s standard.
As soon as the mac is done, add the beef and peppers from the skillet to the pot. Cover the pot, and let the Beefy Mac simmer a bit.
Yum, bell peppers. I didn’t get to eat bell peppers often while living with my parents because Dad has a severe intolerance to them. I love to cook with bell peppers. Hubs and I can eat bell peppers when ever we want.
Keep the food at a simmer. Shake salt and pepper on the Mac ‘n Cheese to taste and stir. Then, let the Mom Soup Magic begin. Remember the tomato soup Mac’ n Cheese you’ve been wanting to try from Pinterest and the V8 vegetable juice sitting in the fridge? It’s time to be cool and creative!
I don’t know how my husband can drink a whole glass of V8. It tastes too healthy for me! I never appreciated V8 until I learned that it is good for cooking with.
Add V8 tomatoe-y goodness to the beefy mac until it is creamy. Let it cook in a bit. I didn’t bother to measure, but I think I used 1 & 1/2 cups. It’s probably been done before, but I came up with this all by myself! I imagined how cool the people of the internet will think I am for adding V8 to my mac n cheese. Perhaps I’m taking this a bit far…
By now, I felt pretty good. I could hardly wait for Hubs to come home from his late shift at work. In fact, I was rather giddy when he came though the door. His only recommendation was some season salt. Aside from that, I made a winner!
Add season salt to taste if you think your food needs it. Enjoy your Running Rose Style Beefy Mac!