a99kitten's Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

I haven’t made homemade mac and cheese in a very long time so I decided it was time! I found this recipe a few years ago in the Macaroni & Cheese cookbook put together by Joan Schwartz (easily obtained on Amazon!) I like this one because it has some spice!


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups salsa – I used Frontera (Rick Bayless) Chipotle salsa
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt
  • 1 lb dried pasta (I used elbow macaroni but can also try cork-screw cavatappi or the spiral rotini or fusilli)


Pour 4 quarts of water into a large pot, cover and set over high heat.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour and whisk until the mixture turns a deep golden, about 2 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat (or in a glass measuring cup or bowl in the microwave), warm milk for about 1 minute.

Add the warm milk and continue to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, 4 or 5 minutes. (Whisk diligently and there will be no lumps.) Stir in the salsa, remove from the heat, then stir in cheese. Continue stirring until all the cheese has melted. Taste and season generously with salt, usually 1 1/2 teaspoons. Cover to keep warm until the pasta is done.

When the water has come to a boil, add the dried pasta. Stir well to keep the pasta from sticking together and boil until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir until all the pasta is covered in the salsa cheese sauce.

You can eat it this way. But I decided to put the mac and cheese in a baking dish and top with some fried onions (or buttery bread crumbs could work as well) and bake in a preheated 375 oven for 10-15 minutes, until browned and crisp on top.




I just took down all of the balloons from my Super Bowl party. Boo :( I love balloons! But more boo is that it means football is over for the season. I used to have the Pro Bowl to ease it out but no longer since they changed the schedule and put that on the week before the Super Bowl (genius…) So now my football season ends with a Super Bowl bang. I’m sad.

My fantasy team sucked this year. I almost made it into the play-offs. But that’s like almost winning Miss Congeniality at the beauty pageant. 10 teams in our league and 6 go to play-offs. I think I was 7. Whee! Meh. I was commissioner (have been for the past couple years) and I had one simple rule. You are not allowed to draft Michael Vick. He is off limits in my league. Don’t like it? Go play somewhere else. I’ll try not to cry over the loss of your team. So what happens? 2 different teams draft him at different points in the season. One of them the week they are playing me! Hellllooooooo. But both of those team managers had the good sense to realize their egregious error and not actually play him on game day.

Then the next genius to draft him (yes…a 3rd manager…what is wrong with you people?) does so on the weekend I was away in Florida dealing with the death of my little brother. I had other things on my mind than dealing with ass clowns so I didn’t do anything. I wish I did. The guy even sends a note saying how he will donate $5 to my favorite animal charity (I set that price last year…it will go up next year to $100) but it was worth the price to have the points. Hahaha. Yeah – that’s what he said. To me. One of the biggest dog/animal lovers he will ever know and the commissioner of the league. OK. Forever banned from my league. Seriously. Idget.

I did OK in the weekly picks. I think I won twice. Maybe 3 times but I think twice and tied another is correct. So I think I basically even out there? I am also the commissioner there and that is giant hassle as I have to collect the winnings each week and dole them out. I need to come up with a better system next year OR people pay a commissioner fee (other friends of mine who are league commissioners say their buy-in is paid by all the players for doing all of the accounting and work – wth?? I am being cheesed!)

Then we did the play-off/SuperBowl picks. Everyone had NE or ATL winning the Super Bowl. I had NE and GB in the Super Bowl as did one other person. We rule :) It came down to us and so we split the pot. My general personality is to let that money ride and winner take all. However, several years ago when PIT was the wild card 6th seed in the play-offs, that no one saw coming, they played Seattle in the SB. The pool was down to me and this same friend. I had SEA to win the SB and he had more points from previous play-off games (no one had PIT even going to the SB that year much like GB this year) so if SEA lost, he would win. He offered to just split the pot and said no – let it ride. Doh. I was not making that same mistake this year. Cash in hand is better than cash not in hand :)

Then we had Super Bowl Squares (no, we do not have any gambling problems, why do you ask?) I won the first quarter and Angelus won 3rd quarter. So I was even with my win there (versus the squares I bought) and Angelus will get some good treats with his winnings (that he will share with Storm!)

My Super Bowl party was super fun. It was a gorgeous day on the coast, all the windows and doors open, sun shining (and then beautifully setting), a super fun game and good friends. I made yummy food and people brought yummy stuff. We had bubbly flowing (I like that my friends go with the bubbly flow and don’t demand Bud!) One of my best friends, who knows me so well, brought food for the the buddies! Their own Super Bowl treats – giant ham bones! They got to eat them that night! Plus she bought other treats for them and me – a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rose. Tasty!

Another friend brought a treat bag that I just took apart tonight – it’s filled with a bottle of Chandon Blanc de Noirs and Moet Chandon Imperial. Tasty X 2! Plus a bunch of Belgian truffles from Brugge (having just returned from Belgium and Romania that afternoon and coming over to watch the game.

And another friend brought a bottle of Prosecco that I can’t wait to try. It’s from the Famiglia Zonin and called DOC. When I saw the label I thought it said DOG and was like – WHOA! Best Prosecco ever! :) But not DOG – it’s DOC. But still excited to try it :)

So all in all a decent football season. I love the game and truly hope there is no strike. That will suck. What the heck will I do with my Sundays..and Mondays…and sometimes Thursdays from September through January??? :(

And now…well….time to stress about March Madness to take my mind off missing football :)

Went through my recipes and I am thinking…

Buffalo Chicken dip (Hungry Girl version) w/pita chips
Sour cream onion dip and Ruffles (my annual allowance)
Cheesy pigs in bacon blankets (they were big hits last year)
Bayless Mac and Cheese

and….I’m not sure….maybe Shepherd’s Pie? Turkey chili….Hmm…

Someone is bringing stuffed mushrooms and someone else cheeses and chips and salsas. Not sure what else is coming or from whom. I will have bubbly for me. Various beers for others of course. Will be a smaller crowd this year. But of closer friends so that’s better :) I need to get all the shopping done after work tomorrow as Saturday is a Napa wine day.

I don’t really care about either team this year but I have a bet on the Packers! And Aaron Rodgers is a good story/kid. Plus it’s kind of hard to root for a team with Ben R. on it. I find it rather funny (in that funny like a clown way) that the NFL welcomes a sociopath, dog-murdering felon back with open arms and celebrates him. Let’s a twice-accused rapist off with a 5 game suspension and yet Eddie DeBartolo still can’t own/actively manage an NFL team. Stupid.

But anyway – GO PACK! I do love cheese….