I made barbecue ribs for Paula and I tonight. I thought that Theodore might join us but he changed his mind and didn’t show up for dinner. I made the “easiest ever” macaroni and cheese recipe that I had found in Cooks Illustrated. I just scaled it back slightly. The ingredient list below is how I trimmed it down so that I only made enough for Paula and I.

If you want to try it at your house, here is what you will need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 5 ounces of elbow macaroni
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) of American cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) of extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

Start by bringing the water and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over high h eat..  After that happens, add the macaroni and reduce heat to medium low. Cook the macaroni while stirring regularly for 6-8 minutes or until al dente. Add the American cheese, mustard and cayenne pepper. Stir completely until the cheese melts, which will take about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar until evenly distributed but not completely melted. Cover the saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes.

While the macaroni is resting, combine the panko, oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a small non-stick skillet. Stir to moisten the panko crumbs with the oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the panko crumbs are evenly browned. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese into the panko crumbs and stir to combine.

To finish the macaroni and cheese, stir the sauce that has been sitting on the side until the cheese is combined and everything looks smooth. You can transfer this to a small serving dish and sprinkle the panko crumbs over the macaroni and serve. You can also just sprinkle the panko crumbs over the macaroni in the saucepan and serve it right from the pan. It really is easy to make and it is so much better than the stuff from the box!!

I also breaded some white fish (tilapia fillets) and fried them in a skillet. First I dipped them in a beaten egg and then covered them with panko bread crumbs. I had already heated up some olive oil in the skillet. I placed the fish in the skillet and cooked it for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Paula and I enjoyed the fish with a salad of mixed greens and tomatoes. We also treated ourselves to bottle of wine. It was a delicious meal. After dinner we went out in the backyard and relaxed by a fire that we made in the fire pit. Truly it was a most pleasant evening! Good food, nice fire, delicious wine. What more could you need!

As for the ribs, I just used our simple recipe that requires cooking them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the ribs on a large piece of aluminum foil. Brush barbecue sauce on the ribs and then seal them up inside the foil. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Allow them to cook for at least 4 hours and you should have moist and tasty ribs. They won’t have a crisp coating on them but they do taste quite good!