It ain’t fancy
I’ve written before about my Grandma Phyllis – she was a heck of a cook. She had to be as theirs was a large family. My Grandpa Ray & Grandma Phyllis raised 6 children. Food was scarce, times were tough in the midwest. Winters harsh and long – much of their food was grown on the farm, pigs, chicken and in the garden potatoes and vegetables. Back then, you made due with what you had. Food was expensive and money was tight. However there was always plenty of love to go around. Our family has always been rich in love.
The Corliss’s are passionate people and Grandpa Ray’s passion was baseball. He was a pitcher for the City of Revillo in Revillo, South Dakota in the 1940 & 50’s. He loved playing baseball, but back then baseball didn’t pay the bills. Grandpa Ray mostly worked in factories and was an exceptional welder. That’s how they made ends meet. Grandma stayed home to take care of the kids and did cooking and boy could she cook. Both Grandpa Ray & Grandma Phyllis passed away when I was a teenager and though memories are limited, they are bright and colorful, full of laughter, hugs, lots of food and plenty of love.
There are a couple things that I remember Grandma cooking and one of them is Mac & Cheese – I remember Grandma making dinner at the stove, boiling a HUGE pot full of pasta and using an entire block of Velveeta cheese, a quart of milk and stick of butter. There would be enough to feed an army and well, that’s pretty much what we had when everyone got together. It was a small army anyway, ranging from 20-25 people for holiday gatherings.
Which brings me to this recipe….I made Mac & Cheese the other day and I posted a picture the other day on Facebook. I made it just like my Grandma Phyllis used to – using processed cheese, butter and half & half. When I posted the picture on Facebook, it was on a whim. In three days it has turned into one of my most popular posts, Grandma Phyllis would be proud! I didn’t think to add the recipe to the website (not sure why not??), but I’ve had several requests, so here it is!
It’s really this easy – One 16 oz. box of pasta shells – use your favorite. I always go back & forth between shells & elbow macaroni. I like those because they grab the sauce really well. Velveeta Cheese – you know, the processed kind that comes in a brick. (Remember I said this isn’t healthy so you’ve been warned!) You’ll need about 2 cups cubed, 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 to 3/4 cup half & half or whole milk.
Cook the pasta to aldente’ (that’s really the only fancy thing you’ll read in this blog post). Drain the pasta well but do not rinse. While the pasta is draining, add the butter to the stock pot, when it melts add the cubed Velveeta Cheese & pour the cooked pasta on top. Give it several good stirs. Add 1/2 cup half & half and continue stirring until the cheese melts thru. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper. If the pasta is too stiff, add more milk.
That’s it, it’s done and ready to serve! It ain’t fancy and I understand there’s more polished ways to make Mac & Cheese, but this will rock your (food) world! All things in moderation I say and for those days I indulge in something like this, I tack on an extra 5 miles to my run. If you’re gonna play, then you have to pay and in my opinion, this meal is worth it!
For the complete recipe for Macaroni and Cheese – click here!
Fun family pic – My dad is pictured on the right next to his mother Phyllis, Grandma Easter & Great Grandma McClagan. Four Generations – family is what it’s all about!