Sometimes I make and photograph three new recipes in one day and then all I can bring myself to eat for dinner is chicken nuggets and fries. I keep emergency chicken nuggets and fries in the freezer at all times. Because of emergencies. Even when I have ingredients for my favorite dinner (stir-fry) ready to go in the fridge. Even though I know that chicken nuggets and fries are not the healthiest meal for my body. But that’s okay. My new approach to food is eating what I want when I want, and it will all even out in the end. A good friend said to me today, “It’s all about balance. One doughnut in each hand.” Truer words have never been spoken.
Balance is tough to find in life. Articles and listicles abound on the internet for the keys to success and meaningful balanced life. My guess is that your twenties and thirties are a time to question all that, and by your forties, you probably don’t give two shits what the internet thinks. For myself, quality time with friends at least once a week is the flame to my candle. This gives me something to look forward to, fun to be had, and a feeling of relaxation afterward. Friends ignite the soul, or whatever that Hallmark card said. It’s true, though.
Balance is also important when compiling a dish. The Thai do it best, with a perfect blend of salty, sour, sweet, and spicy. When I’m brainstorming a new main course recipe, I try to have as many flavor profiles as possible to round out the dish. In this apple and chorizo mac and cheese, you have salty, fatty cheese as the star, accentuated by the spicy, meaty chorizo. Granny Smith apples give a little pop of sourness as well as a soft crunch.
First, you’ll have a few dishes going, as the chorizo is sauteed with the apples (important, because it’s easier this way) while the pasta and the sauce cook, then everything gets tossed together in the end. This dish will feed and please a crowd, but also tastes wonderful cold straight from the fridge (does anyone else prefer mac and cheese cold?). Be sure to get a few good slices of chorizo on your plate before someone else takes them all. My mom always says there are two kinds in this world, the quick and the hungry. Enjoy.
Apple and Chorizo Mac and Cheese
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: serves 4-6
- 16 oz macaroni
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- pepper, to taste
- 2 cups of milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 10 oz chorizo, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 granny smith apple, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- Begin cooking the macaroni according to package instructions.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Add the salt, paprika, and pepper and whisk. Add the milk and continue whisking until bubbly. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
- In a frying pan or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, add the chorizo and cook for a few minutes before adding the apples. Add the apples and cook for another few minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drain the macaroni, and place it back in the pot. Add the cheese sauce and the chorizo and apples. Serve.