Sometimes you just need a quick meal idea - to get some food on the table. Sure, you can run to your favorite burger or pizza joint, but all of that food you have in your pantry/cabinet is already there, right? You might as well cook it and be $10+ richer in your pocket? That was my theory the other night, anyway...
I really wanted to go out for supper. I get home from work 6PM-ish and had managed to force myself to go for a run. My only problem is that after a supper-time run, I am really famished by the time I get home! I tend to gravitate to takeout food in times like these, but I took a deep breath and a long look in my refrigerator and this is the meal I came up with.
It was DELICIOUS!
It immediately brought me back to the days when my dad was a long distance truck driver and my mom made us quick and easy suppers like these to stretch her budget. A meal like this can be stretched with more or less hotdogs and more or less cans of beans. My mom even sometimes made beanie weenies with a small amount ground beef instead of hotdogs and we really liked that too!
Instead of macaroni and cheese, we typically had leftover spaghetti hanging around in the fridge, so more often than not, my mom always made "spaghetti & cheese" instead of macaroni and cheese. Something about slurping up those cheese covered noodles makes this dish taste even better.
So, this is a flexible meal - stovetop cooked baked beans with or without meat; some kind of cooked pasta with a little butter, milk, and cheese, and any other vegetable you might have hanging around. This time of year, for me it's asparagus fresh from my garden. Gotta love that!
Supper doesn't have to be an expensive, laborious task. Suppers just like this beanie weenie/mac & cheese dinner, can fill 'em up just as well, with very little cost and lots of smiles!
Here's how I make my Beanie Weenie - Macaroni & Cheese meal AT HOME MY WAY:
- Canned pork & beans (generic is just fine) (do not drain)
- hot dogs (just a few, sliced into thick chunks)
- brown sugar
- raw onion or onion powder (my family doesn't like cooked onion so I always use onion powder)
In a saucepan or skillet, brown thick hot dog slices in a little bacon grease (like 1 teaspoon), butter/margarine, or a dab of oil. Stir around until they start to have brown spots on the hot dog pieces; dump on your can(s) of pork & beans. Sprinkle on some onion powder (like 1 teaspoon). If you want to use fresh onion, just cook that first in the oil/bacon grease/ butter/ or margarine before you brown the hot dog slices. Next add a little brown sugar (like 2 Tablespoons per can of pork & beans that you use); ketchup (3 heaping Tablespoons per can of pork & beans), mustard (3/4 teaspoon per can of beans). Stir well and cook without a lid until thick - about 15 or 20 minutes while you get the mac & cheese ready.
Mac & Cheese
- Cooked/salted pasta (leftover or freshly cooked spaghetti pasta, elbow macaroni, rotini noodles, shell pasta, etc.)
- Butter/margarine (2 Tablespoons cut from the stick)
- Cheese (American, Velveeta, grated cheddar)
Put drained pasta in a saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of butter/margarine, a drizzle of milk (just enough to cover the bottom of the pot), a few slices (2) of cheese and a little grated cheddar. Heat on medium and stir often until all of the cheese is melted and mixed through. Taste to see if it needs a little salt. A little pepper is also good. Remove from burner and let sit about 5 minutes before serving (this allows the cheese to set up some making it thicker and yummier).