Best Side Dish for Any Budget

The best side dish ever is clearly macaroni and cheese.  My aunts used to make it for me every Thanksgiving and Christmas – sometimes on Easter if I was debating whether I would come home from college or not.  The thought of it turned a maybe into a yes.  I wasn’t the “mac and cheese kid” from UConn – but I understand.  No matter how things were financially for my family you could always count on the food being amazing when we were all together. 

It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that they actually gave me the recipe. Now this is my go to meal to make for anyone who needs some love.  There is something about it that just screams comfort to me.  Yes, its not the healthiest option but it is not for every day use.  You make this meal for your friend that just had a baby and their whole family will eat it.  Bad breakup, marathon training, accident?  This meal will help get you through it.  Piss someone off really really bad?  Make them this mac and cheese – they will forget why they were even mad.

Here’s what you need

This recipe is pretty simple for even an inexperienced chef to follow.  It also happens to be really inexpensive to make. You can find these ingredients at any grocery store which is another perk of a super basic meal.  No specialty store trips required.  Here’s the shopping list:

  • Flour (6 tbsp)
  • Butter (6 tbsp)
  • Velveeta Cheese (16 oz)
  • Onion Powder (1 tsp)
  • Milk (4 cups)
  • Pasta (1 box – I use shells or rotini)
  • Ground Mustard (1 tsp)
  • Salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Pepper (1/8 tsp)
  • Bread Crumbs or Panko Crumbs (optional)

The Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook your pasta in a large sauce pot.  Drain and leave in the strainer.  It may be there awhile so I like to put a little olive oil in and mix the pasta up so it doesn’t clump together.  Over medium heat melt the butter in sauce pot and then mix in the flour – stir really well since this will get thick fast.  Gradually add the milk.  Next mix in the salt, pepper, mustard and onion powder.  Then add the cheese and mix it until it melts.  Add the pasta back to the sauce pot and continue to stir until mixed well.  Transfer it to a 11 x 13 greased baking dish and sprinkle some bread crumbs on top.  Bake for 30 min and serve (or if you are giving this away they can bake it when they are ready to eat).

Side Dish Success

The holidays can get stressful and expensive (tips on how to avoid that can be found here)! I do not remember what I got for presents 20 years ago but what I do remember is the way it smelled when I’d walk into my Momma’s house for dinner.  This isn’t a fancy recipe but if you want to make people of all ages happy give it a try.


What’s your favorite thing to eat at your holiday meals?  Leave it in the comments and please let me know if you give this a try!  Be sure to follow Not Another Thing on Facebook so you never miss an update


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