Quick Simple Meal #3: Mac & Cheese (+vege)

You’d probably notice that in my quick simple meals (for my kids), one of the key ingredients is always cheese!

My kids are what you’d call “banana” – Chinese, but more angmoh (Caucasian) as they prefer Western food over Chinese, speaks mostly English at home and in school. They usually prefer sandwiches, pasta, pizza and anything cheese over rice with dishes.

So, this is another one of their favourite: macaroni and cheese. However, rather than just making the usual plain mac & cheese, I’d usually sneak in some vegetables into their meal.

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Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

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My kids’ fav – Mac & cheese

1 cup of macaroni (approx) – cooked per instructions on packaging
1 tbsp of olive oil
A clove of garlic – finely chopped
A small onion – finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup of warm milk
1/2 cup of chicken stock
A bunch of broccoli/ cauliflower florets
Carrots – finely julienne
3-4 tbsp of cooking cream
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
A dash of Italian herbs *optional
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup of mozzarella or pizza toppings cheese
4-5 tbsp of Japanese breadcrumbs/ panko
Chicken stock cube (knorr/ maggi) *optional

Method:

1. Add approximately 1 tsp of oil to the pan and saute the garlic till fragrant. Then add in the onion and stir till soften.
2. Once the onion is soft, add in the butter. As the butter melted, add in the flour and stir it well. Then slowly pour in the warm milk and keep stirring. The mixture may turn a little lumpy, but it’s ok. Just keep stirring till the flour is cooked.
3. Then pour in the chicken stock and stir till the mixture turns creamy. If it’s too thick, you may add more stock or water.
4. Once you have a nice creamy consistency, add in the vegetable and simmer for a few mins before adding in the cooked macaroni. Simmer for another 1-2 mins. If the sauce thicken, add some water.
5. Season it with salt and pepper (and Italian herbs if you like), and and just before you removed it from the heat, add the cream and cheddar cheese
6. Scoop it out into a baking dish (I used two individual 5″ ceramic pie plate) and top it with the breadcrumbs and mozzarella cheese.
7. Bake for 10-12 mins or till the cheese is browned.
8. Serve warm.

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Quick Simple Meal #2: Cheese Baked Rice

Sorry … this was supposed to be posted back in 2014, after the quiche recipe. But one thing led to another and I delayed in posting this. Thus, looks like this will become my first post for 2015. Happy New Year to all (to all reading my blog). Hopefully I’ll be updating this blog more frequently than I did last year. So, here’s another quick meal which I would like to share with you.

Another one of my kids’ (and hubby too!) favourites. However, instead of calling it Baked Rice, they have always called it “sticky rice”.

It is another one of a quick simple meals which I like to prepare for the kids. However, this recipe is a “cheat way” of making baked rice. The right way of it is doing a bechamel sauce (the white sauce) and adding chicken stock before adding the rice and other ingredients.

My cheat way of making the baked rice is using Campbell Cream of Chicken. I use a lot of Campbell soup for my quick meals, although I’m trying to cut down on this as much as I can especially when making meals for my girls.

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Cheese Baked Rice

 

Anyway, here’s my simplified version of Baked Rice (The portion below is just nice for 2 kids size meals)

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Baked Rice @ “Sticky Rice”

Ingredients:

1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
1 small onion – finely chopped
1/2 cup of mixed frozen vege or carrots & broccoli florets (or any vege the kids like – cauliflower, asparagus, corns)
3-4 tbsp of Cream of Chicken
1/2 cup of fresh milk or cooking cream
1/2 cup of meat – either chicken/roast chicken, ham, sausages or even luncheon meat
1/4 cup of water – optional
1 1/2 bowl (or more) of rice (cooked)
1-2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 cup (or more) of mozzarella or pizza toppings cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
a dash of Italian herbs (optional)

Method:

1. Add oil into the saucepan, and saute the garlic till fragrant, then add in the onion.
2. Once the onion is soft, you can add in the mixed vege. If you are using fresh vege, I’d suggest you add the carrots first, and leave the broccoli to the last.
3. Next add the protein (whatever that you’re using). Give it a stir.
4. Turn down the heat (low-medium heat) and then add the cream soup. Dilute it with a bit of water, then add in the rice. Mix it well.
5. Pour in the milk or cooking cream and let it simmer for a few minutes. There should be some sauce in the pan, and if you find it too thick, you may either add some water or milk. Season it with salt & pepper. (Note: the cream soup is usually quite salty, then watch out when you add salt to the rice). Alternatively, you may also add another tbsp of cream soup if you like. It all depend on your own taste.
6. Once you have a creamy consistency, you may add some shredded cheddar cheese at this point if you like the cheesy taste in the rice. Otherwise, scoop it up into a baking dish (I usually used two 5″ ceramic pie plate, and topped it with the cheese.
7. Then bake at 160C for 10-12 mins (depending on your oven) on the top heat, or until the cheese has melted and brown.
8. Served it warm