Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Saving the Dinner: Mac 'n Cheese
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo

"What are you feeding my children?"


Wedge Antilles, hero of the New Republic, wondered what his wife was on about ... then he remembered that he'd left his kids at home with his friend Wes Janson. Wes was a fellow pilot and a long-time friend, and Wedge trusted his kids with him. The two girls adored Wes and Wedge knew that his friend's only regret at not settling down was his lack of children of his own.

"Um ... they're with Wes. Is something wrong?" Wedge was trying to feel out the problem before committing to anything.

"There is a ROCK sitting on the counter for their supper ... the girls won't eat it! Are you saying Wes made it?" Iella Wessiri Antilles was not known for being irrationally irritated, but Wedge had to accept that where her family was concerned, she often made exceptions.

"Wait ... wasn't Wes there when you got home?" Wedge was now worried for his girls and for Wes.

"Yes, he was. But I didn't realize he'd made dinner for the Antilles family ... it's nice of him, but it's really inedible! The girls told me he made mac 'n cheese with stuff he found in the pantry and chillers ... but it's like a brick! I tried cutting into it and it's awful!" Iella was edging toward hysterical at this point.

Wedge rubbed his temples. "Oh ... well ... I know what he made." He thought about what was in the chiller and remembered his friend's general behavior in a kitchen. "Wes can't make a mac 'n cheese to save himself, but he doesn't know it. He always adds stuff instead of following the recipe, and he's not supposed to bake it ..."

Iella interrupted her husband's explanation, "Wedge, there isn't anything else in the house for dinner! And Booster com'd and said he's coming over, so he'll be here for dinner, too!" Now Wedge understood the panic in Iella's attitude.

"Ah ... well ... okay. I can fix it, don't worry. I'll be there in a few ..." Wedge tried to make light of the problem.

"Ha," replied Iella, admittedly feeling better about the dinner debacle. "Well, of course you will. You've saved the galaxy in your day, I'm sure you can save the dinner!"

Not-so-good Mac 'n Cheese
This recipe is really not all that bad, but it can be disastrous in the hands of a confident but incompetent cook. It doesn't take so well to "customization" or "special touches" but Wes Janson qualifies as confident and incompetent when it comes to food. If you make this, don't add the marked (*) stuff, or you'll end up with a brick ... unless you want to use that as a base for slicing and frying, like an very cheesy polenta, perhaps?
  • 8 oz / 225 g uncooked elbow macaroni (half a pound package)
  • 12 oz / 335 g "cheese product" (like Velveeta — usually packaged as a refrigerated "loaf"), cut into cubes or sliced
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Boil and salt a large pot of water and cook the macaroni till it's just-cooked. Drain well and put the macaroni back into the pot. Add the "cheese loaf" pieces or slices, the milk, and black pepper. Put over a low flame and stir constantly till the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Makes 1 quart of mac 'n cheese, which kids love — AS IS!

* Do NOT add shredded "real" cheese. Do NOT add butter. Do NOT decrease the milk. And DO NOT pour this into a baking pan and DO NOT bake this!!!

Back to the Menu: Saving the Dinner: Mac 'n Cheese

Saved Mac 'n Cheese
As Wedge went about salvaging Wes's bad (but usual) effort at mac 'n cheese, he wondered why he had to keep saving this dish for him. Wes probably thought he made an excellent mac 'n cheese because Wedge kept re-making it from his disasters. Wedge wondered if he should just serve it up as is, to teach him a lesson ... but then he realized he'd have to eat the disaster, too! So he sighed and went about making a roux ...
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup butter or oil
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon sharp English mustard powder
  • pinch (or more, to taste) red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
  • black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • one batch "Not-so-good" Mac 'n Cheese that has been overcheese and baked in the oven
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated or ground
In a large kettle, stir together the flour and butter till it's light-brown in color. Using a whisk, slowly pour in the milk to make a cream sauce. Whisk in the mustard powder, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, black pepper, and salt.

Into a bowl with the beaten eggs, beat in a cup of the hot sauce, whisking rapidly. Repeat with another cup of the hot sauce, then put this mixture into the cream sauce in the pot. This process will prevent the eggs from curdling.

Chop up the brick-like "Not-so-good" mac 'n cheese into 1-inch / 2.5 cm width slices and drop them into white sauce. Using a wooden spoon, stir till the cheese in the bricks melt into the sauce. You may find the end result is still lumpy, but that's okay.

If there are browned edges to the "Not-so-good" mac 'n cheese, chop them up finer and add them to the pot.

Heat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Butter two baking trays and spoon out the saucy macaroni mixture into the trays. In a bowl, toss together the breadcrumbs and parmesan to make the topping mixture. Place half of the topping over each of the baking trays. Bake for 20 minutes, or till the top is browned and crusty and the mac 'n cheese is set but still wiggly in the middle.

Remove from the oven and let "set" for at least 10 minutes before serving. Makes enough to serve 10 or so.

NOTE: This "save" won't work with "baked" mac and cheese recipes.

Back to the Menu: Saving the Dinner: Mac 'n Cheese

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