Adventures in Baking: Spicy Mac and Cheese?
Guys, I gotta admit, it's kind of hard to get the motivation to cook for myself.
Admittedly, it was much easier to cook for two or four people than it is for just one. I guess I'm out of practice? I don't know. Anyway, I've been on a mission to get back into it lately, and furthermore, to use up what I have in my pantry and freezer. Then, if I use it all up but want to stock it with nothing but frozen dinners,.... so be it.
So I was looking around online for ideas when I saw something for a spicy mac and cheese - with kimchi. I know you're probably rolling your eyes at me right now, but I like kimchi. And yes, I wouldn't have heard of it or tried it without the influence of My Dudes, but I did try it and I do like it. In fact, I buy it on the regular. It's tasty! If you aren't familiar, kimchi is normally a side dish, often used in rice. It's usually a fermented cabbage, although it can be made with green onions or other veggies.
I decided to try it, because I have mac and cheese, I have extra cheese I need to use up, some chicken sausage I need to use up, and the last half of my open jar of kimchi to use. Here's how it went, you can judge if you'd try it for yourself.
First, we have to assemble the ingredients. Two cheeses, a box mac and cheese, unsweetened almond milk, bread crumbs, and kimchi. No pictured: butter and grated parmesan.
These are what I had in the pantry. Would I have preferred Panko? Yes. Did I have Panko? NO. I'm going to use up what I've got, darnit.
Please ignore the scratches on my kitchen wall. There were some... cooking incidents? I guess? I don't remember how they got there.
And yes, I grated up two kinds of cheeses that I had gotten randomly - gouda and muenster. Is that how you spell that? I don't know. Gotta use em up, right? And cheese is cheese is cheese, after all.
I had fished these chicken sausages out of the freezer last week. There are five in a package and I'm finding reasons to use them. I figured a little snausage in my mac and cheese could be nothing but a good thing, right? Right.
Here it is pre oven. You can see I put some bread crumbs on the top and topped it with the rest of the cheese I didn't put in with the box mix. I had cut up about a cup of kimchi into teeny tiny pieces and mixed it in there as well.
End result! Crispy top, although I probably could have mixed the bread crumbs with some butter or something. The kimchi wasn't really noticeable, and just added a little bit of spice to the dish. I noticed it cos I knew it was there, but I didn't change the feel of the dish too much. Maybe I didn't add enough? IDK. Still, it was good. Now I just have to eat it all up!
Would you try something different with your mac and cheese, or do you like to stick to the traditional stuff? Do you like to bake up your mac and cheese, or just make it in the pot? Do tell if you've got some great ways to use up stuff in the pantry or freezer. I'm open to suggestions!