There is a show on Food Network where a lady layers ready made Jell-O cup filling with fruits and cookies to make makeshift trifles. Although we have never done this and cannot attest to how good it would taste, we like the concept of the show of mixing ready-made ingredients with cooking from scratch in order to make fast meals that don’t come straight from a box (only a little from a box).
For days when all you want to do is stop by Chipotle and get a burrito or order in pizza we have an alternate solution. Instead of Chipotle, stop by your local grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, boxed mac and cheese, brussel sprouts, mushrooms and shallots. You’ll have a lovely meal in no time.
What we propose is serving the rotisserie chicken as is (the main part of the meal is completely ready), adding some mushroom bechamel sauce to your mac and cheese to kick it up a notch and then make a quick brussel sprout hash. Easy and delicious.
1 rotisserie chicken
MAC AND CHEESE:
1 box of mac and cheese mix (we like Trader Joe’s Organic White Cheddar Mac n Cheese)
1 cup of milk (heated)
1 sprig of thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of sliced mushrooms (we like baby portobello for this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite!)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup of shredded sharp white Cheddar
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1. In a small pan, saute the mushrooms with the olive oil and thyme until brown (about 4-5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper
2. Melt the butter in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming.
4. Whisk the milk it into the butter and flour mixture.
5. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is smooth.
6. Stir in the the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese.
7. Add the mushrooms then season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
8. Prepare the boxed mac and cheese according to instructions.
9. Add the mushroom bechamel sauce to the prepared mac and cheese.
BRUSSEL SPROUT HASH WITH CARAMELIZED SHALLOTS:
3 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water
1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat.
2. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper.
3. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
4. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.
5. Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices.
6. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
7. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes.
8. Add 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon of butter.
9. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes.
10. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.
Now just assemble everything together and you have dinner! It definitely still feels like a home cooked meal but without all the effort.
– The mac and cheese would also be wonderful with wild mushrooms and maybe a dash of truffle oil if you’re feeling fancy.
– We suggest you use mac and cheese that’s a tad nicer than the bright orange stuff, there are many boxed mac and cheese mixes that are tasty without using that many artificial ingredients.
– Other cheeses that would be good in the bechamel sauce are subbing some of the cheddar for mozzarella (for melty stretchiness) and maybe adding some parmesan for taste.
– Finding brussel sprouts that are already sliced thinly would make the brussel sprout hash prep quite speedy.