The Ultimate Comfort Food

If ever there were a time for comfort food, now would be it.  I don’t know about your house, but the crud has hit ours.  For nearly 5 weeks, Bella and I have been nothing but sick.  What started out as a “common cold” resulted in an ER visit and an in-patient stay at UIHC.  Poor little girl was diagnosed with RSV and Adenovirus.  How torturous it was to watch her and listen to alarms signal as her oxygen would drop.  After breathing treatments and plenty of IV fluids, we were sent home with a little girl on the mend….or so we thought.  There she was, happy, smiling, and eating again but less than a week later…sick again.  Unfortunately, so was I. By Saturday I was at my wits end and sure my head was going to explode.  While my mom had come into town to babysit Bella while Ryan and I made our way to my holiday party in Des Moines, she instead, was watching Bella while I made my way to urgent care.  That in itself, was quite the experience. 

As I greeted the PA in Urgent Care, I said, “Allison, I am so sick I want to shoot myself.”  (I know I know…a little dramatic…but I was done trying to hide it.)  I was miserable.  Unfortunately, another PA was standing nearby and overheard my comment.  She abruptly scolded, “I’m sorry Ma’am.  We are mandatory reporters.  I’m going to need to call the authorities.”  Oh for crying out loud.  “Seriously?”, I thought.  I looked at her and replied, “I am miserable but I am not going to hurt myself.”  She, again, repeated that it was mandatory.  Lucky for me, Allison knew me from my time with Pfizer and defended my sanity.  Not only was I not well enough to attend our annual work function but I about ended up in a psyche ward instead.  Good grief.  Needless to say, I left with a diagnosis of serious sinus infection coupled with a double ear infection.  What am I?  A 2 year old?! 

Headed home with prescription, decongestant, and Sudafed in hand, I was never happier to have my Mom there to help with Bella…especially as her symptoms worsened.  And, here we are…6 days later.  Bella and I are both sick…I’m in CA and she’s at daycare.  What is wrong with that picture?!  I’m hoping Dad will soothe her to recovery in the evenings and I can take some time away after meetings to hide in my room and get the sleep I so desperately need.  Welcome to parenthood, eh?

All of that said, do you know what else is great thing about having Mom visit while I’m sick?!?!  HOMEMADE MAC N CHEESE!  I’m sure we all have something that reminds us of our childhood…something that soothed us when we were sick…something that tastes best when Mom makes it.  For me, this is her Mac and Cheese.  I’m not going to lie, Grandma’s tasted pretty good too…but then again, she just added butter. 

For those of you who are needing some good ‘ol comfort food this week, this is the easiest, most delightful treat that is guaranteed to soothe your aches and warm your soul.  I promise!

Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6-8

  • 16oz Mild Cheddar cheese, cubed (1 inch by ½ inch)
  • 2.5-3 cups Uncooked Macaroni
  • Milk
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Butter, optional (Grandma would!)

Start by boiling the macaroni until al dente (~7-9 minutes).  While the noodles boil, cube your cheese.  You will want plenty of cubes to layer amongst the noodles, so don’t cut them too large.

Strain the noodles.  In a casserole bowl or lightly greased 8×8 pan, layer the macaroni and cheese.  Start with a layer of macaroni, then cheese…..ending the final layer with cheese. 

Once your layers are complete, slowly pour milk over the top just until you can see the milk approaching the top layer.  You will not want to over-saturate…so pour slowly. With the mac, cheese, and milk all set, sprinkle the top with salt and pepper. 

 Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 75-90 minutes….or until golden brown on top.

(Note: if you want the added richness that Grandma would throw in, melt a stick of butter and pour a little over each layer as you make it!)

Thank you, Mom…for helping to take care of me and the Bean…and for making TWO batches of mac n cheese during your visit!  I’m feeling better already.  🙂

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

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