I know you are going to have my back when I say that we all have those nights. 

Nights where you get home and nothing is ready for dinner. Zip. Zero. Nadda. You somehow forget to take the chicken out of the freezer. You thought you would have time to swing by the market before you got home. You didn’t expect to get caught in a traffic jam 3 blocks from your house for 50 minutes with your baby is in the back seat crying it’s eyes out – how could you forget snacks yet again.

I know. I hear you. I understand. 

And I still love you. 

I happens to all of us.  

That is why I always hide a box of mac and cheese in my pantry. Way up top, hidden from my hubby’s sight, for moments like this. Moments when you need to get some dinner on the table for your toddlers 5:45 dinner time, which was like 20 minutes ago. 

Gasp. BabyfoodE makes mac and cheese. Yup. I sure do. 

But I try very hard to mix it with ingredients I have stashed in my kitchen that will kick it up a notch on the healthy scale. Some protein, some veggies, some spices. Whatever I have that isn’t completely wilted or foul smelling that I can get ready in the time it takes to heat up the water. Usually ingredients that are from leftovers or meals that I never got around to making the week before. We all have something stashed. 

Toss together a salad, pour a big glass of wine for yourself and sit down as a family for dinner. Oddly, or maybe not, this will probably be your families favorite meal you cook all week. Smile.  

Mac and Cheese – 4 Ways

Make box of mac and cheese according to directions on package. When the noodles and cheese sauce is incorporate, combine the following ingredients (or whatever you have in your fridge/pantry):

Mexican Especial – Mix 1/2 cup black beans, 1/2 cup corn, 3 tbsp mild salsa and handful of cilantro with classic mac and cheese. 

Pesto a Musto – blend 1/2 cup of spinach, 1/2 cup basil, 1/4 cup broccoli, 1 garlic clove and 1 tbsp olive oil in food processor until well mixed. Add pesto mixture to white cheddar shells. 

The Old Fashioned – Add 1 can or pouch tuna, 1/2 cup peas and 1 tsp curry to classic mac and cheese. 

Caprese – Add 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes, 1 cup cooked chicken, 1/2 cup basil or spinach and pepper to white cheddar spiral mac and cheese.