One of the things I missed most when I moved to West Africa was macaroni and cheese. I missed being able to cook it - it's so fast and easy, and it goes over so well with little ones - but I also missed being able to eat it. I love cheese in any form, and pasta of every kind, so the combination of the two is unbeatable. For me, it's the ultimate comfort food. As a child, we were allowed to choose a special meal for mom to fix on our birthday, and I always chose macaroni and cheese! :-)

Over time, I figured out how to do macaroni and cheese in Africa too. When we got a care package or a shipment from home, we always asked for cheese - specifically Velveeta cheese spread and instant cheese powder, since niether of them need refridgerated. Then I came up with a few different ways of making my favorite food. Perhaps this simple dish doesn't have quite the same appeal for everyone as it has for me - but I know when you're living overseas, anything "from home" tastes pretty good!

So today I'd like to share my two favorite recipes. The first is a delicious but simple one-dish oven recipe which I often served to American guests when we lived in West Africa. (It's so yummy I still make it here in America too!) The second is my "cheater's version", the closest thing I found to instant mac and cheese. I don't make it when Hubby is home, but when it's just me and the kiddos, it's so fast and easy!!

Baked Cheesy Noodles

3 T. margarine, oil or butter

8 oz egg noodles, or whatever pasta you have available

1/2 lb (or a little less) Velveeta cheese

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

4c. cold milk

Heat oven to 325. Place butter in 9"x11" pan in oven just until melted. Pour noodles in and stir until well coated. Lay sliced cheese over top of the noodles. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then pour milk over the whole thing. Do not stir. Bake uncovered for about 1.5 hours (my oven was hot and usually took just over an hour.). Golden, creamy, and oh! so yummy!

If you want a main dish instead of a side dish, mix a cup of cooked meat (sausage, ham, chicken, or ground beef) and 1/2 cup frozen or canned veggies (corn, peas, green beans) with the noodles before covering with cheese and milk.

Cheater's Mac n' Cheese

The measurements on this recipe are guesses - I never measure!

2 c. water

1 c. macaroni (or any pasta)

1/4 c. milk powder

1/4 c. cheese powder

2 Tbsp flour

salt & pepper to taste

Boil macaroni in water until soft. Do not drain, but you don't want too much water on the noodles, so pour off a little if the water is covering the noodles. While macaroni is cooking, mix remaining ingredients in about 1/2 c. water. It will be thick, but use a whisk to make it smooth. As soon as noodles are almost soft, add "cheese sauce" to pot. Simmer a few more minutes to thicken the sauce. It's now ready to serve!

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So there's my favorites! Do you have one to share? Is macaroni and cheese a "thing" for your family? How do you make it overseas?

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  • Hee hee. I also loved mac and cheese as a kid, and I was excited to introduce my kids to it when we stayed in missionary housing that had a free food pantry with lots of boxed mac and cheese. They politely picked at it, but asked if we could not have it again. I have heard more than a few other missionary families share other versions of the same story.

    We all do like macaroni, with grated cheese, milk, and butter mixed in and melted together. That's a pretty fast, easy meal to make.

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