I like mac and cheese with my barbecued ribs. I think they go together like PB&J or meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I knew that I was going to have spare ribs for dinner one night, but didn't want to make mac and cheese from scratch. It's a time consuming process. And I didn't want to use the box. The box is expensive and my picky eaters don't really care for it. What's a girl to do? CHEAT!
MJ and I went to Harris-Teeter on Sunday. They had Bertolli pasta sauce on sale BOGO. They great thing about Harris-Teeter is you only have to buy one. You'll get it at 50% off. I purchased a jar of alfredo pasta sauce. MJ looked at me funny as I had just put back two jars of red sauce. I explained that I have pureed tomatoes at home and can make a quick sauce, but I am not making alfredo from scratch. Bare with me I'll explain how this relates to the cheat.
I looked at the jar of sauce as I gave my ribs a good rub with my spice blend and prepped them for the freezer. Hmmm, what is alfredo sauce but a bechamel based sauce which is the base for mac and cheese. I felt a little like Hannibal from the A-Team, a plan was coming together. I took the pasta sauce thinned it with a little milk, put in a little butter and added my cheeses. WARNING: This is not low fat! I didn't have any elbows, but I did have ditalini which is cute short cut pasta tube. I had some doubts when I first tasted the sauce, but I had invested my cheese, my milk and butter not to mention the $2 for the jar of sauce. The sauce had a strong garlic/parmesan taste so I added a little more garlic, some paprika, black pepper and ground mustard. Had I thought about it I would have added a pinch of allspice. I baked the mixture for about 20 min.
Let me tell you. Cheating never tasted so good. This was the stuff you talk about at the family reunion. I love Aunt So & So's macaroni and cheese. It was creamy and good. Yeah Cousin What's Her Names was like that, too. I am loathe to admit that is was better than any that I'd ever made. Okay, I've only been making it for six months, but this was as good as my nameless aunt. I ain't telling b/c ya'll ain't getting me in trouble.
What are your cheats or shortcuts? Can your family and friends tell the difference? I'll post the full recipe later.