This is what happens when your husband has been out of town for weeks and no matter how far down you reduce a recipe, you still end up with tons of leftovers. When you’ve been suffering from a virus for weeks that reduces your appetite leaving you with even *more* leftovers. When you cooked a total flop earlier in the week that resulted in a bunch of wasted food making you gun-shy about trying that next dish on your meal plan. When all of the above conspire against you to form the perfect storm named Uninspired.
So, you spend hours looking through your recipes hoping something will jump out at you. You get up to stretch your legs and walk in and out of your pantry a dozen times. Hoping that each time you return something will be different and creativity returns resulting in a mouthwatering, or at the very least, a satisfying meal. I think this is what’s known as the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and hoping for different results.
The only thing I knew was I wanted something ”creamy”. And nothing spicy tonight. Mild and creamy was what my soul was craving. And preferrably meat-free since my appetite has been low. I kept looking at the Shells and Cheese but they’re not super high on my list of favorites. For the umpteenth time I scrunched up my face and headed back to my computer. Then I remembered some ingredients from a recipe I saw recently but I couldn’t remember the name of the recipe or where it came from. Armed with new resolve, I went on a serious recipe mining mission through my Mastercook files (my recipe software where I dump everything that even sounds remotely interesting). Eventually I hit pay dirt. Cream of Chicken Macaroni and Cheddar from $5 Dinners.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!
Well, sort of.
There’s no chicken in the recipe, other than what comes from the soup but that’s what made this so perfect for me tonight. And the bonus, if it was a flop, at least I wouldn’t be tossing a bunch of really good ingredients (cash money) right in to the garbage can. My calculations for the entire dish…$2.62. So I said…BRING IT!
This is very family friendly and can be adapted easily. The entire cooking process, from boiling the water to plating, only took about fifteen minutes. The soup added a savory depth to the macaroni and cheese that was actually quite welcome as far as I’m concerned. The only thing I would change, if I make this again, would be to swap out the peas for broccoli.
Adapted from Cream of Chicken Macaroni and Cheddar
Cheesy Chickeny Skillet
- 1 box Shells and Cheese
- 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1 handful Frozen Peas
- 2 tablespoons water
Cook noodles according to directions. During the last 4 minutes, dump in peas. This will stop the boiling process for just a bit but I didn’t adjust the cooking time for the noodles and they still came out fine.
In a non-stick skillet, heat the soup and cheese pouch with about 2 tablespoons of boiling water from noodles. Stir to combine and until cheese is melted.
When noodles and peas are done, drain and add to soup/cheese mixture. Stir to combine and plate.
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