Diane Prather: Making the most of macaroni and cheese

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During the work week, especially when my schedule is hectic, I search out nutritious recipes that are easy to fix.

Take this week's recipes , for example. They're all made with macaroni and cheese dinners.

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I often make macaroni and cheese as a side to go along with meat instead of potatoes. Since my husband and I don't eat all of the macaroni and cheese, there's usually enough to make one of the following recipes -- a great way to use up leftovers.

I copied these recipes from somewhere several years ago. I think they may have been on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner boxes.

The ingredients for "Chuck Wagon Mac" are: 1 box macaroni and cheese dinner; 1 pound ground beef; 1/2 cup sliced celery; 1/4 cup chopped green pepper; 2 tablespoons chopped onion; 2 cups (16 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained; 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste; 1/2 cup water; 1 teaspoon salt; and a dash of pepper.

Prepare the dinner as directed. Brown the meat. Add the celery, green pepper and onion. Cook until tender. Stir in the other ingredients. Add to the macaroni. Mix well. Pour into a casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes about 6 servings.

To make "Rancher's Dinner," you'll need: 1 box macaroni and cheese dinner; 1 pound of pork sausage links; 2 tablespoons margarine; 1/2 cup chopped onion; 1 (10-ounce) can drained tomatoes; 1 cup sour cream; 1/2 teaspoon salt; and a dash of pepper. Prepare the dinner as directed. Put the margarine in a skillet and brown the sausages. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Cook the onion in the skillet until tender.

Combine the macaroni, onion, and remaining ingredients, except the sausage. Mix well. Pour the mixture into a 10-inch-by-6-inch baking dish and top with the sausage links. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

The casserole makes 4 to 6 servings.

For either of these casseroles, add a crisp lettuce salad and some fruit, and you have a great meal.

Still another way to use macaroni and cheese is in a salad (and just in time for summer, too). The ingredients for "Riviera Garden Salad" are: 1 box macaroni and cheese dinner; 1 cup peeled and diced tomatoes; 1 cup sliced cucumber; 1/2 cup sour cream; 1/4 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing; 1/4 cup chopped green pepper; 1/4 cup sliced radishes; 1/4 teaspoon salt; and a dash of pepper. Prepare the dinner as directed. Cool slightly. Add all of the ingredients. Mix lightly and chill.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

It seems like just yesterday that I wrote about the rhubarb starting to grow. Here it is another year, and I notice that our rhubarb is just coming up. Start looking up your rhubarb recipes (and other recipes as well). Send them to me at Box 415, Craig 81626 or call me at 824-8809.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.

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