Tuesday, June 9, 2009

sprucing up annie

100_2949I love annie’s mac and cheese, but I always like to add a little bit more to it and spruce it up.  I like things with contrasting flavors, colors, textures, so just having a plain bowl of mac and cheese just doesn’t do it for me.  I want more adventure!  So I like to add just a few things to change it up a bit.  When I make popcorn, I have to mix some cereal 100_2940 or chocolate chips in it because I can’t have just popcorn.  When I eat cereal I have to have about 4 different kinds all mixed in, because I can’t just eat one kind.  So weird! 

Usually I make things from scratch and always despise making things out of a box or freezer bag.  My dear mother used to love making those hamburger and tuna helpers, and I absolutely despised it as I got older!  She always tried to fit in in there somewhere.  Maybe that is where I get my culinary inspiration from?  No one in my immediate family enjoys cooking that much, except my great grandmother (she passed away when I was 3, so sad we didn’t get to cook together) and grandmother on my mom’s side.  Isn’t that funny? 

image But, oh when i was younger my grandma used to make me Velveeta brand mac and cheese, and oh how I loved the salty, creamy goodness of it!  She probably put extra butter in it too, oh grandma and her butter.  She would make me peaches and cream too with the real stuff, yes whole milk, chopped peaches and sugar!  Itimage was so good though.  I used to also love those Little  Debbie nutty bars.  I think I’ve had a love affair with peanut butter from birth!  It’s crazy the junk food kids love and are attracted to these days with great media tactics. 

Here are some previous attempts at sprucing up Annie:


Tonight here’s what I came up with:

I added chopped shallot, garlic, a few mushrooms, leftover corn, 1 zucchini, 1/2 bell pepper, 1 small head broccoli and tofu and sautéed it until golden.  I also like to add about 1/4 cup each of non-fat milk and greek yogurt to it for its tang and creaminess, along with herbed goat cheese, a little fontina (leftovers from the peppers), parmesan and all-purpose seasoning.  It was delish!  Next time I think I’m going to add some chipotle chilis in adobo and black beans for a Mexican twist?  Or caprese mac and cheese?  mmm . . . endless possibilities!

Mac and Cheese tower . . .



Brought me back to my childhood :)

What are some nostalgic childhood junk food memories you have that you wouldn’t think of eating today?  I’d love to hear them!



Chow and Chatter said...

fun post I left an award for you on my blog lol Rebecca

Melissa said...

I love the fun things you can do with mac n' cheese!! I gotta try it soon!

Thinspired said...

I love all your spruced up goodies! I recently did this with Annie's mac, too! I added sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and shrimp. It was really delicious.
I did a post on my childhood food a while back and Kraft mac and cheese was on there! I love Annie's wholewheat but it's still not the same as that blue box ;)

Gina said...

Well, you named two of my FAVORITE childhood foods: Velveeta Mac and Cheese, and Nutty Bars!! I remember all the other kids loved Kraft mac and Cheese, but I was like, "no way! Nothing beats velveeta!" Of course, that was back when I was naive about what I put in my mouth (sometimes I miss those days!) I also loved the zeebra cakes from Little Debbie, oh man, I want one right now! Great moderation to Annie's Mac and Cheese, looks delicious.

ellie said...

that looks great! I've added kidney beans and salsa before, and tuna and corn is great!

Hmmm...kid food. I wasn't really 'allowed' junk food when I was little- my mom would make zuchinni bread for our birthdays and my favorite snack was raw mushrooms and raisins! Though I used to love fluffernutter sandwiches when I got them and don't think I would like them much now!

Sweta said...

I love adding veggies to everything I make-loved your fiber-filled mac & cheese :)
As a kid I would anything that was sweet-I was crazy about "Poppins"(its a roll pack of hard-boiled rounded sugar candies in different flavours). I could finish the whole pack within minutes(ugh-though I still have a sweet tooth,can't imagine eating Poppins now)!

Anonymous said...

We didn't have junk food -- chocolate malt-o-meal was the closest thing we had to junk! My mom would occasionally bring home doughnuts after working the night shift. Those mornings were fabulous.

It's funny -- my mom made EVERYTHING from scratch, including bread and tomato soup. I never had boxed mac & cheese until I was in college. I make most things from scratch and it is totally wasted on my family. When I need a super quick meal and use hamburger helper, they rave about dinner and how great it is. I do make it healthier -- ground turkey breast or a mix of that and beans instead of beef, no fake cheese or "sauce" -- I use a bit of real cheese and plain yogurt instead. I also sub ww pasta and brown rice when possible. However, it's still not health food and they LOVE it.

Michelle said...

Count Chocula! Or Pixie Stix! And yes, Mac-n-cheese. We used to mix it with tuna out of a can.

Astra Libris said...

Ooooh, your additions to Annie's Mac are gorgeous!! Thank you so much for the inspiration - I do have a box of Annie's sitting on the shelf, but felt it needed a little help - now I know exactly how to spruce it up! Hooray! I'm so excited! :-)

Oh my, my mother used to serve us these huge cinnamon buns for Sunday morning breakfast sometimes, and I confess I still long for them... :-)

P.S. Thank you so very much for your lovely comment on my blog! :-)

Emily said...

I like the creative ways you've spiced up Annie's. I'm with you on not really liking to eat it just "plain."

My mom was a healthnut before I became one, so we rarely had any packaged treats in the house. We did used to get fruit roll-ups, but I can't say I miss those. I do sometimes crave Little Debbie's zebra cakes, though!

Anonymous said...

Haha. The first two paragraphs are totally descriptive of me too! I LOVEd those nutty butty's too. Thanks for the reminiscing!

I just had annies the other day- I was going to throw tofu in but I kinda just wanted it more plain for whatever reason. I have another box lurking in the cabinets calling out " spruce me up!"