Friday night supper

Suzanne’s very permissive August Break meme invites participants to post when, what, and how they want. Photos only is the suggested mode but, for me, that is actually more challenging than a written post. As long as I’ve been blogging and as enthusiastic as I am about photography, I have yet to master the photo (or more)-a-day ideal embraced by many other bloggers. So, today’s photo-less post addresses a favorite theme…comfort food.

The phrase “comfort food” usually refers to the sensations enjoyed by those who consume a favored dish, but today I am writing from the cook’s perspective.  For me, “comfort food” involves sufficient familiarity with a recipe that I am comfortable adding, deleting, and substituting ingredients at will. Such is the case with tonight’s dinner.

We’ve been enjoying Chuck Wagon Mac since the early 1970s when it was first offered at supper with some long-time friends. Since then, we’ve experimented with the recipe by adding and subtracting ingredients to suit current tastes. The original recipe, along with suggested modifications, is provided below. A small side salad is all you will need to make this a good, satisfying meal. Try it—I bet you and yours will like it.

Chuck Wagon Mac

  • 1 pkg macaroni and cheese dinner (I use Kraft’s 7.25 oz box prepared according to package directions; the recipe calls for 4 Tbsp of butter or margarine and ¼ cup milk. For tonight’s version, I used 2 Tbsp of butter and substituted sour cream for the milk)
  • 1 lb ground beef  (or turkey; you can get by with less)
  • 2 Tbsp dry onion flakes (or approx. ½ cup fresh chopped onion)
  • ¼ cup chopped green peppers (these days, we use sweet yellow or red peppers)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 can (approx. 1 cup) corn (frozen peas are a good substitute; we also plus up the veggies with sliced black olives)
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare macaroni dinner as directed on package label. Brown hamburger in skillet. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in macaroni dinner. Pour mixture into a 2-quart casserole (or divide into smaller dishes to suit). Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes.

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