Cookin’ With No Dough

Sep 062006
Authors: Liz Sunshine

It was one of those times when comfort food wasn’t a choice, but a necessity.

You know the kind of day or week I’m talking about – the crappy one. For these moments, I keep my lime green, fleece sweatpants clean and folded; the kitchen stocked with plenty of popcorn and chocolate; and my favorite movie within grabbing distance.

I also turn to childhood favorites – certain comfort foods – when life’s stresses are overwhelming and I miss home. After a calm summer that slammed me into a fall routine packed with classes and work, I was ready for what Dad always called “The Yellow Meal.”

Mom used to make Mac & Cheese Casserole on select, cold winter nights. If Dad didn’t have such high cholesterol and the dish wasn’t completely laden with fat, I would have eaten this constantly as a kid. (Warning, this mac and cheese is the real Velveeta deal, not that hoity-toity, elitist cheese served in restaurants)

Ah, the beauty of now being an adult and having my own kitchen means when a case of the Mondays hits I can invite my regular group over – Aubrey, Ryan and Bailey – and make a vat of this gooey, affordable treat in my 1970s-esque CorningWare casserole dish.

I’m not totally without conscience when it comes to serving this creamy, decadent entre/.

While Mom alleviated the guilt by adding a salmon patty alongside the Mac & Cheese Casserole, I’ve added my own touch with a side of Israeli Salad, a crispy, tangy mixture of tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and onion lightly tossed with a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Shortly after putting the Mac & Cheese Casserole in the oven, my apartment filled with comforting warmth and that plastic-y cheesy aroma of my youth. Oh mommy.

I know this isn’t gourmet food and some of my loyal readers will wince at the Velveeta. But, to me, it tastes wonderful and was the perfect finish to a blah week.

About 45 minutes later, I pulled the processed splendor from my 350-degree oven and we began watching another installment of “Sex in the City.” I remember Charlotte got drunk during a beefcake calendar competition and vowed that she would find a man to marry by year’s end.

Thank goodness for gooey food and good friends.

L’chaim and B’tay Avon (To life and eat well)


Mac & Cheese Casserole:

1 pound shell pasta

16 ounces sour cream

16 ounces cottage cheese

10-15 slices Velveeta cheese

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions on bag. It is best if cooked to the short end of the time listed.

In a large bowl combine sour cream, cottage cheese, cooked pasta and seasonings.

Coat a 9×11 pan in cooking spray and layer half of the pasta mixture on the bottom, then a layer of cheese slices and repeat with remaining mixture and cheese.

Place, covered, in a 350/ oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Israeli Salad:

3 Roma tomatoes

1 green bell pepper

1/2 red onion

1/2 lemon

1 cucumber

1 tablespoon Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop tomatoes, pepper, onion and cucumber and combine in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and olive oil into the bowl, season, combine and enjoy.

All ingredients for both dishes add up to less than $20 for five people.

Information below taken from

Did You Know:

Velveeta is a brand of processed cheese originally made in 1918. It was created by a Swiss immigrant Emil Frey in New York. Kraft Foods bought the Velveeta Cheese Company in 1927. The United States Food and Drug Administration have classified Velveeta as a pasteurized process cheese spread. It can be found in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Germany.

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