Lockdown Kraft Dinner

Day 17? Day 18? It’s all a bit of a blur. While that’s not too unusual for me these days, as my ever-so- patient-friends will attest to missed dates, excursions or confused locations, I am glad in the midst of all this that there are several anchors for my days, concrete things that must be done that keep me from floating off into oblivion. (Hmm, concrete anchors – perhaps cut out mystery novels.)

While my daughter is homeschooling 3 kids upstairs, with every surface covered in books, or art and science projects, I have taken on the task of preparing lunch for us all. Which brings me to the empty shelves at the grocery store. No Kraft Dinner – no problem. Fret not, surely one of the blessings of this time must be the internet.

Thanks to the wonder of the www I was able recently, to solve a small problem, itself the result of a large victory. My first attempt at growing butternut squash last year produced a bumper crop. I hovered over the plants all summer, and even pollinated the blossoms by hand when I didn’t see enough bees – having learned how to sex squash blossoms (which is not as racy as it sounds). At the end of the season I had 13 glorious, good sized squash. And no takers. Seems the kids – usually good eaters – were not fond of squash. So I gave several to friends.

But I wanted to save some for winter and then one day while browsing recipes I found https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/butternut-squash-mac-cheese/

Not wanting to prejudice my case, I did the prep of the squash under cover. Alas an errant squash seed in the final product gave it away. But I’ve repeated the recipe several times now and the kids have grown to love it. Today the youngest, Henry, ate 3 helpings.

This is admittedly more work than packaged mac and cheese, but it is also healthier, tastier and much more attractive with the vivid orange of the squash. (If you happened to have frozen squash on hand you could whip this together in no time.) Today I had a nice knob of Gruyere that I sacrificed to the cause but you could add whatever cheese you have on hand. I have used about half that milk so maybe add it gradually to see how much you need. Also I skipped the sage bit as I didn’t have any and I added a tsp of oregano to the sauce instead.

I like to top mac and cheese with a bread crumb topping. I freeze all the heels of bread and when I have a bag full, I pop them in the food processor with (ahem) a goodly pat of butter. I use them for toppings for desserts as well and they can be added to a soup to thicken it – and stretch it if you must.

You don’t need to bake this but I like to give it 15 minutes at about 325F just to brown the topping.

And that’s it from my bunker where I am hunkering down waiting for the storm to pass. Just had a funny phone call from my grandson Jesse on Skype, where they apparently think phone calls are improved by adding an app that morphs your face into all manner of hideous shapes. My face, on Skype, is quite scary enough, thank you.

Bless you all to find peace and comfort in the middle of uncertain times.

recipe https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/butternut-squash-mac-cheese/

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