I’m positive that I never actually had tuna noodle casserole as a child because when I was thinking about recreating it, I called my mom to confirm that it wasn’t in her regular cooking rotation.
That said, for some reason I have memories of horrible tuna noodle casseroles as a child. I’m not sure if these memories are from school cafeteria versions or just implanted nightmares of goopy dishes. After all, it’s not a sexy dish and has had a bad reputation for as long as I can remember.
As with most dishes though, it should be no surprise that it turns out like crap if you put crap into it. Use some canned soup, cheap tuna, and flimsy pasta and you’re going to end up with a disaster in a baking dish.
But we can do better. This dish has a chance for a rebirth!
Thank the weather gods it’s finally flannel season.
You most likely don’t understand but as a 30 year old Italian man, I wear a near sweater most of the year and so summer is a train wreck of sweat and heat for me.
Fall is a welcome relief and I especially like that first day when I have to actually put on more than a T-shirt. I will now wear almost exclusively flannel shirts, in true Colorado form, for the next 4-5 months.
To celebrate, I made this hash which is not only delicious, but colorful and matches my wardrobe quite nicely.
We are supposed to get our first snow of the season this weekend. To be honest, I’m ready for it. It was a hot summer here in Denver and I’m ready for heavy jackets, blankets, and hot chocolate (possibly with whiskey). Talk to me in four months and I might reverse course, but now I’m down with snow.
This weekend I have a man date to see Gravity in iMAX. I don’t go see to many movies in theaters but this one just looks so original and I can’t imagine that it will have the same largeness if I wait to see it on video.
Hope you all have some fun plans for this nice fall weekend!
Bets is out of town this weekend so I’m a bachelor! I thought it would be fun to make a traditional bachelor meal with maybe some Macheesmo flair. You pick the bachelor dish!
Friday Cocktail: The Old Fashioned – This is my go to drink when I want a drink. It’s actually not that hard to make but it’s very important to use great ingredients. Bonus in the post: homemade bitters! (@ Ruhlman)
Easy Pumpkin Pudding – It’s totally pumpkin season now. I’ve never thought of making pumpkin pudding before even though pumpkin pie filling is sort of like pudding. Anyway, want this. (@ Good Life Eats)
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds- If you carve (or eat) pumpkins this year, you’ll be left with lots of seeds. Here are three great ways to make sure they go in your stomach instead of in the garbage. (@ Brown Eyed Baker)
This Week’s Meal Plan
This week’s meal plan focuses on super fast Tex-Mex dishes. During the week, I’m not much for super-cheesy baked Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas. Instead I focus on using lots of fresh veggies in salads and quick tacos. That’s what this week’s plan is about! You can sign up now for Macheesmo Meals and get a free week to try out the plans (there are now 11 total) and see if you like them!
I launched a special section on Macheesmo a little over two months ago called Macheesmo Meals. You’ve probably heard me talk about it over the last few months because hey… I’m excited about it!
I wanted to take a break from recipe posting today to dive into a Macheesmo meal plan. I want to show you how I create the plans (and why they are huge time savers), actually walk through an entire plan, and talk about how current subscribers are actually using the plans.
Let’s dig in!
The Plan in Question
I post a new plan every week on the site. It’s probably the case that some plans will appeal to you more than others, but as the weeks go on, there are more and more plans to choose from so you can almost certainly find a few that wet your whistle.
As an example meal plan, I’m going to talk about the plan I posted a few weeks ago on Fast Fall Pastas.
I came up with the idea behind this plan when it started to get colder. I noticed I was wearing more sweatshirts and craving fast, but warming dishes. A lot of people turn to simple spaghetti and sauce during this time, but I figured we could do better.
Planning the Meals
Each weekend I sit down in front of my computer with a bunch of blank computer paper, a huge cup of coffee, and start planning various meals. My process is fairly complicated to be honest because I’m cooking so much different stuff throughout the week. But, one of the first things I do now is lay out the weekly meal plan.
This takes me about an hour because I not only have to find recipes in a theme, but also make sure they are interesting and easy to make.
Just to give you an idea, here’s my brainstorm sheet for this meal plan!
Assuming I like all these dishes, they will make it into the final meal plan. Each meal plan always has a cover page with a little description, helpful equipment for that plan, and the meals that are included.
Here’s the cover page for the meal plan in question. You can click on it to see the full sized version.
The Actual Meals
Each meal plan is a little different. Some build off of each other more than others. For example, next week I’m working on a plan geared around roasted pumpkin. You roast a bunch of squash at the beginning of the week or on Sunday and then each recipe uses it. (You can also use canned pumpkin for most of them). The recipes are fast because most of the work is done.
The meal that carries over in this Fall Pastas plan is the sheet pan salad. It’s really flavorful and keeps great for a few days. The other dishes share some ingredients but are in general quick to make. The chicken paprikash is probably the most involved of the three main meals and it can be on the table in about 45 minutes.
Here are the four meals pages in this plan. As you can see, I really try to cram in as much info as possible for each meal page, giving options for vegetarian substitutions as well as preparation tips and a planning timeline.
Again, click on any of these thumbnails to check out the full meal plan page!
The fun thing about these pages is that since I lay them all out myself, I can change them fast based on feedback from subscribers. A few changes I’ve made so far include listing ingredients in order of use and inserting more photos (coming soon).
How People Use These Plans
I’ve been sort of shocked at how people are using these plans.
Some people are using them as intended, shopping for the meals and cooking them in order. But, I’m finding that more people are using the plans just as a breath of fresh air.
I do my best to provide really delicious and easy-to-follow recipes for the plans and I think people like just getting a fresh perspective and some fun (doable) recipes to change up their weekly meal plans.
Other Plan Features
Beyond the meals themselves, there is a shopping list for each plan:
There is also a forum which is admittedly a bit slow at the moment, but will hopefully pick up over the next few months as I roll out a few new designs.
There is also a coupon page where you can print relevant coupons for your shopping lists and very soon I’m going to start posting in depth videos (TechNicks) about specific cooking techniques.
Not to mention that when you sign up and support me and the site, I remove all ads on Macheesmo for you.
If you think you might be interested in signing up, the annual plan is a seriously good deal. You get a free week to check out the plans and see if you like them (although I just showed you one also). After that, it works out to about $8/month. As I’ve said before, if you ever decide the plans aren’t helpful for you, you can always cancel.
Just click the plan you want to get started.
If you have any questions about the plans, leave a comment! I’ll do my best to answer pronto!
Most of the dishes I worked on for the 10 Ingredient Challenge were pretty easy to make. They had only a few steps and not too much prep. I decided to push myself a bit for the final dish and make something more challenging.
Enter the roulade. This is a classic French way to prepare meats where you pound them thin, stuff them, roll them up, cook them until they are perfectly done, slice and serve. As you might imagine, there are more than a few things that can go wrong, but I got lucky on this version.
The filling turned out really nice, the chicken didn’t unroll on me, and the dish wasn’t overcooked at all. Even though it’s kind of an annoying preperation, it’s a very show stopping dish.
If there’s one dish that I think everyone should try out of the five recipes I made for the 10 Ingredient Challenge, I think I would encourage everyone to try this guy. It’s probably the easiest of any of the recipes, plus it has some amazing flavors going on.
I don’t use escarole very much so I was surprised how much flavor it has. It has so much more flavor then other lettuces or greens. It has kind of a sharp bite to it that pairs perfectly with the barley and creamy cheese.
I wish I could say that I shared this with Betsy, but the truth is that I hoarded it and ate it all by myself in two days.
I think many people are scared when they see collard greens in the produce section. I guess this kind of makes sense because they are kind of unwieldy and I dare you to eat a piece raw. The greens are pretty bitter.
The truth is though that collard greens are one of the easier greens to cook because it’s almost impossible to overcook them. Typically, overcooking greens is easy to do and then they just disintegrate into nothing. Not a problem with these sturdy greens though.
You can cook and cook these guys and they really only get better. So, cast aside your fears of collard greens and try this recipe out. They are the perfect spicy fall side dish.