Thursday, October 18, 2007

The saga continues or How Not to Make Mac 'n Cheese

So... Still TIRED. But showered. The babe is... ornery today. Didn't eat breakfast. Has watched faaar too much TV today because I am way too tired today to deal with "Dego, dego, dego! go go Dego?" without giving in. (Such a bad parent... gah. Lets not go there now.)

Who's the parent? Dunno - she checked out halfway through coffee this morning.

So I made lunch around noon... Did the whole, "We're having PASTA!" (super cheery fake voice, cuz she's gotta eat lunch if she turned her nose up at breakfast & snack time - 11th percentile for weight. Gotta make sure she eats) "So, babe, what KIND of pasta do you want? Do you want colored wheels or colored squiggly pasta?" (always offer the illusion of choice, especially when I don't flippin care what kinda noodle I boil) To my surprise, she chooses "skiggos" instead of "wheews". OK (whatever, babe).

I get down some nested measuring bowls, and give her a few of the uncooked pasta noodles to play with while I get lunch ready. For a short while she is satisfied to pour the pasta from one bowl to the next. Until. She realizes how far a dry noodle will fly if placed on the floor and swatted. DUMP-flail. K. Well I guess I asked for it when I didn't contain her to the high chair. And I'm sure she's learning something about physics. (And she's not crying nor begging for Diego).

Meanwhile, it's time to hurry up and wash the dishes from last night so I have somewhere to drain the cooked noodles (Don't step on the dry ones - it HURTS). Get that done, drain the pasta, and begin the "fun" game of enticing a toddler who is so OVER playing with noodles to help mama pick up the mess. "Ooh, babe, let's try to find a GREEN one! Can you help momma put a GREEN one in the jar?" She wanders into the other room. Time to up the ante. Fake laughing. "WHEE!" Now for the killer. "Momma loves her noodles! MINE!" I hear a thump from the other room as she drops whatever she'd picked up. And pattering of little insistent feet. "NO MINE!" (Ah yes... sooo evil.) "No, babe, these are MINE! And I'm putting MY noodles in the jar." Soon she is frantically grabbing noodles, trying to hold them all in her little hands. I try to be nonchalant as I offer the jar. "Do you want to put your noodles in here?" In they go. (MWAHAHAHA - I win again.)

Then she asks so sweetly, as she stuffs the rest of "her" noodles in the jar... "Momma mac an cheethe?" Well, I could always make a cheese sauce for these puppies. (My DH isn't home to queue the reality check) So... do I open one of the 30 cookbooks I have? Or use my high-speed Internet and amazing powers of Google to get a quick recipe? HA! I laugh at recipes. I am a good cook! (uh...) I know what goes in cheese sauce! (uh-wait?)

So this is my (not) recipe for Mac an cheethe. (a.k.a Mommy-brain Macaroni)
1. Notice the noodle pan is smoking b/c you put it back on the burner after draining the noodles without turning off the heat.
2. Pour warm water in the pan before the pan warps.
3. While there is still water simmering in the pan, put a 1/2 Tbs. of butter in to melt.
4. Pour an undetermined amount of whole milk into the water-butter.
5. Turn down the heat to med-low, because you think you remember you don't want to scorch the milk.
6. Find shredded cheese. I chose yellow instead of white. (Yellow was Kraft 2% sharp cheddar, white was regular mozzarella from a local Italian grocery).
7. Sprinkle a handful in. See it start to melt. Notice consistency is VERY runny. Sprinkle in more. Stir.
8. Admire your cheese-soup runny goodness, then dump the remaining cheese in, hoping it will thicken the "sauce".
9. Decide you don't have enough cheese to thicken the "soup" and the quantity is getting alarming.
10. Decide you need to reduce the amount of liquid. Continue stirring on low for 15 minutes while babe gets frantic for lunch and you get bored.
11. Turn the heat up to high.
12. Watch cheese soup get thicker and VERY grainy.
13. Taste thick, grainy cheese sauce.
14. Gag, shudder.

So, did I pitch the grainy nasty cheese sauce? Oh no. See, in case I didn't tell you, mommy checked out this morning and left evil me instead. I think. Hmm. There ain't no way in HECK I'd eat this, so what would a picky toddler do? (She's not gonna touch this stuff with a stick) So I pour some into a ramekin to cool. And I get out some pasta sauce and put it in another. Put the noodles on a plate and plop her down in her chair. "So, babe, do you wanna dip your squiggle pasta in the spaghetti sauce or the cheese sauce?" She eyed the cheese stuff for about 1/2 a sec before tucking into the other stuff with a will. (Please note, usually she'd rather DIE than eat spaghetti sauce.) She even asked for seconds.

Later I Googled "grainy cheese sauce" and found out the 150 things I did wrong. (Oh you put FLOUR in cheese sauce? Ohyeah... heh.)

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