Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Evolution of Mac 'n Cheese

A serving of homemade mac 'n cheese. Also on the plate is barbecued chicken and roasted zucchini.
Guests at today's Wednesday Community Meal were treated to homemade mac 'n cheese. Each week, I have to decide what to make based on what's been gleaned, what's in the pantry and what's on sale. My aim is always to create something that's pleasing, nutritious and affordable.

So this week I decided to make mac 'n cheese and here's why:

Last Wednesday, we served cornbread donated by New Seasons Market with the soup and there were lots of extra crumbs left over, at least three cups worth. Volunteer Martha wrapped them, gave them to me, and asked, "Can you use these next week? I'd hate to throw them out." "Yes," I said, thinking they would make a great crispy topping for a casserole.

On Friday, volunteer Dave, who also volunteers at Lift Urban Portland, asked me if I could use some donated boxes of matzo crackers. I said, "yes," thinking if I crushed them, they would also be perfect for a crispy topping.

On Saturday, I catered a memorial reception and was gifted all of the leftover cheeses to use for the community meal. I immediately thought of using the cheese to make some yummy mac 'n cheese. There was medium cheddar, havarti, muenster, sharp cheddar and I already had some Swiss in the pantry fridge, gosh this was going to be good!

On Monday, while gleaning at New Seasons Market with my fellow community meal organizer, Fred, we picked up a few gallons of milk and some containers of chopped onions. My idea for mac 'n cheese was coming together nicely. I just needed a few more items.

On Tuesday, I went to Cash 'n' Carry and purchased two cases of dried macaroni, two more gallons of milk, fresh parsley and a box of roma tomatoes. For color and nutrition, I wanted to top the mac 'n cheese with sliced tomatoes. The total cost of the purchased ingredients was $43.25.

The mac 'n cheese came together wonderfully— volunteer Terri helped me make nine hotel pans of it and all of our guests got a taste. We served it as a main entree or as a side for everyone. We served 297 meals today.


  1. You are so creative and you are going to be so missed.

    1. Dear Gerrie,
      This means a lot to me. I am also going to miss you and Steve and I hope you know that I am counting on you visiting us.