Mac n Cheese. So I know it’s a staple in many households. It sure was in our house growing up, especially during certain times of the year when Fridays were supposed to be meatless. There are many ways to make this classic dish dairy free (not necessarily calorie free ☺). I am not going to give any recipes for macaroni and cheese. I know everyone has their favorite homemade version and when all else fails there is always a blue box version.
I will use the famous blue box version here. I am sure you could substitute a homemade recipe if you like. For a normal family of four where there is one dairy allergic person this will require about one half a cup of elbow macaroni (or other small pasta, you are just looking for about the same size pasta as that in the box so they all cook together in the same amount of time). We cooked the box pasta with a half cup of small elbow macaroni. After the pasta is cooked and drained we always pulled out one serving of pasta for me (maybe a large serving, because once the rest is cheezed there is no going back). My pasta got margarine to prevent sticking. The rest of the pasta gets made to the blue box directions. This is why we added the extra pasta. I know people like cheese, but if you took out one full serving of pasta and then made the cheese sauce, I hear it is death by cheese powder sauce ☺
As a family we always enjoyed adding other ingredients to mac n cheese. Our favorite was always diced Spam. Please, remember I have Hawaiian roots (and it really is tasty, just think of it as bacon). I love adding some protein to my pasta, and my family usually added the same protein. Spam, bacon, Portuguese sausage, Vienna sausages, hot dogs, pulled pork, mini meatballs, mini pepperoni and bologna are some of the meats I like to use. (My parents like canned tuna in with their mac n cheese, I just can’t do the seafood). Dice them up and toss them in with the warm pasta and margarine or olive oil and it makes a good meal (please be sure you are using fully cooked meats ☺). We have also been known to add some diced veggies to make a more complete meal. Cooked left over broccoli, canned green beans and black olives are my favorites. In our house it is also standard to couple mac n cheese with grilled cheese sandwiches. I love grilled Spam sandwiches and that is an easy substitution for grilled cheese. You can also do grilled bologna, ham or corned beef sandwiches. My sandwich always went in the skillet first (you know those grilled cheeses ooze sometimes). So there is a complete cheesy meal that can be made completely cheeseless! Enjoy!
Side note, I am also allergic to poultry. Spam lite has chicken added to it (that is how they make it ‘lite’). If you are allergic to chicken or poultry, always ask at a restaurant if the spam used is lite or not. We have found it in the weirdest places around Hawaii and I have had to get on the plane headed home, sick from a spam lite experience ☹.
Also for those of you with dental concerns for eating, this is a great toothless meal!! Spam is a nice and soft meat as long as you don’t crisp up the outside edges. Olives are gumable as is the soft pasta. The grilled sandwich is knife and fork friendly as long as you really watch it while its cooking in the skillet. Allow the sandwich to heat up but don’t allow the bread to really gain any color or become too crispy.