I don’t have a freezer full of pre-packaged and processed foods, but I almost always have a little frozen tray of Trader Joe’s mac and cheese or the reduced guilt mac and cheese for extra guilty days. Stop right there with your judgement. I find that when someone else does something better than I can, and in this case, provides me with some of the silkiest and most delicious mac and cheese that I can make in 3 minutes, my gastronomic self righteousness goes out the window.
I had to take a little break before beginning this paragraph to chew and savor my little warm bowl of luscious mac and cheese with the perfectly crispy and salty Prosciutto crespelle, eyes closed. If The Best Thing I Ever Ate had a “pre-packaged” episode, I hope that someone, hey maybe me, would praise this product. I know decent cooks who can’t achieve a perfectly al dente elbow macaroni, but TJ’s has nailed yet another comfort food home run. I am fighting the urge to polish off serving #2.
IDEAS FOR USING TJ’S MAC AND CHEESE:
1. Crispy Bacon or prosciutto: Shown above is a little bowl of Trader Joe’s mac and cheese with a lovely prosciutto crespelle that I learned to make from my new favorite cookbook Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food. I can’t wait to try making crespelle with speck for added smokiness.
2. Organic Peas and Tuna: Sound gross? Well, it isn’t. So there. I used to conjure this dish up when I was really hungry, really impatient and felt the need to incorporate protein and veggies into my mac and cheese.
3. Broccoli: Are you getting the idea? You can pretty much mix anything into this creamy oasis and make a lovely quick meal, not to mention fool your kids into eating anything. When mac and cheese is the vehicle, the kids don’t care who is riding inside.
4. Bad round things that are breaded and fried. You can Google it, cus I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I take you there.
I call these shrinky dinks because they shrink to almost half the size and become hard and crispy.
Preheat oven to 350
Place rack in the middle of oven
Brush some evoo on some parchment paper on a cookie sheet (they say to brush both sides of prosciutto. I find this easier.)
Place pieces of paper thin prosciutto down and brush with olive oil. You don’t have to get the fanciest prosciutto for this.
Bake for 10-15 minutes
Lay on a paper towel if you want to get rid of some of the oil, but why would you?
Use whole and impale into the middle of the mound of mac n’ cheese or crumble over anything, including salads and bean soups.
Disclaimer: I don’t use my microwave to “cook” very often because it scares me, but it only takes 5 minutes to make Joe’s Diner mac n’ cheese in the nuke box as opposed to 20-25 in the regular oven. It just depends on how big your pms monster is at the time. This is not a low calorie, low fat, gluten free, low sodium, organic, fair trade, kosher or vegan product, not even the reduced guilt version, but if you eat it once in a blue moon, the happiness just may offset the bad stuff.