Simplify: The Art of Making Room for Art

We only have 24 hours in a day. If we want to make room for art – we have to free up time (and money) to do it. One way is to simplify our meals and clean-up as much as possible.

Many of the recipes I use have changed over the years. I don’t have a lot of them written down the way I make them now or how I change them according to what I have one hand. Most of my children have moved away, but they are always asking me to tell them how to make their favorite meals.

I used to make meals for eight – and I think I did a pretty good job of it. But now I have to re-think meals for one or two people who are adults now. And, because I am working often at dinnertime, many nights they have to fend for themselves. So, I am converting many of my meals to simpler, easy-to-cleanup, fast meals.

Another plus, is that converting these recipes frees me from the worry of cooking every night for those who are still at home – giving me more time and energy to devote to my art work.

There are still special times (days off and holidays) where I can cook larger meals for our growing family, but I also know there will come a time when I can’t do it all.  As I grow older, it makes me feel better that they will know how to take care of themselves instead of eating out all the time. And, for now, it will help them spend less and live healthier lives.

Where to start: I recently saw a video for “dorm-friendly” meals and decided to try them. It’s here below:

 

I must say some of the recipes are very good. However, there were a few problems. For example – cooking rice or macaroni in a small mug in the microwave guarantees that it boil over. It makes a terrible mess. Another minor problem is that shredded cheese and milk is probably better for you, but mac and cheese is usually made with a processed cheese food. A third problem was that I found the frozen meatballs I bought disgusting (that may be a brand problem, but I do know how to make and freeze meatballs.) The point is this: if you are going to get people to change over to good habits you have to do it gradually.

So, with a little experimentation below you’ll find one of the simplest meals to make with a microwave. Everyone loves mac and cheese (except my husband – who will eat everything but this one dish which I love. But not to worry, he has plenty of options in our home). Hopefully, I will add more recipes here from time to time, if there’s interest in it.

Mac and Cheese

meal2

Note: I did a taste test with my family – we prefer Velveeta (Cheez Whiz was too sweet).

meal1

After you open either of these cheese spreads, you should keep them in the frig (for up to 2 months).

Ingredients:
½ cup macaroni
½ – ¾ cup water
Dash of salt
¼ cup Velveeta (or Cheeze Whiz)
Dash of pepper (optional)

You need:
A mug and a large microwave bowl

Directions:
1. In a large microwave bowl put the macaroni, water and salt. Stir and cook on high for 2-3 minutes (depends on the power of your microwave). Stir and if not cooked enough, put back in for 30 secs. Repeat if necessary – until you figure out how long it takes for your microwave oven.
2. Drain excess water out of bowl. Put macaroni into mug.
3. Add cheese to the macaroni. Stir. Cook on high for 30 secs. Stir. Repeat if necessary.
4. Let cool for a minute.

UPGRADES: You can always add real cheese and milk (as in the video) or garnish it with fresh pepper and green onions or chives.

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