I have a friend I've known since I was six years old, who before a few weeks ago, had only eaten one of my home-cooked meals. Nonetheless, that single meal, macaroni and cheese, was enough to get her testimony that she thinks I'm a great cook. Unfortunately, it's not often anymore that we are both in the same area, and when that overlapped earlier this month, we decided to have another macaroni and cheese date.
The first time I had cooked for her, several years ago, I used a mac n cheese recipe from Campbell's Creative Cooking with Soup, which used cheddar cheese soup as the base for the sauce. Since then I've made many variations of macaroni and cheese totally from scratch, but I wanted to do something that met a bit in the middle for my friend, as to not totally stray from the original dish, but to step up the taste and texture a little. Thus, I'll call this my shortcut, weekday, they'll-never-know-if-you-don't-tell-them macaroni and easy cheesy: quick to pull together with a few shortcuts, but satisfying, creamy, and of course cheesy.