Thank you to Handi-Foil for sponsoring this post.
Most of the time, I really enjoy cooking. I look forward to spending time in the kitchen and trying new recipes. I cook from scratch using healthy, whole ingredients for the most part. There are nights that I really don’t want to be in the kitchen though, especially when I’m sick. If I don’t plan ahead for sickness, I’m tempted on those nights to pick up a few frozen pizzas and call it an evening. Since that isn’t great for our health or my budget, I try hard to be prepared just in case.
Prepare Meals Ahead for Sickness
My kids are 16 and 20 and while they are old enough to cook, it’s not something that they do regularly enough to be able to put a meal together. My husband’s cooking skills are better than theirs but he would still rather turn to frozen pizza or take out than make dinner. When Marty and I are both sick (like now), I want to have something prepared just in case. I’m fairly certain that neither kid would be impressed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. When I prepare meals ahead for sickness, I try to pick meals that are the kids’ favorites. That way, there is no added stress in case someone decides they absolutely will not eat mushrooms, tomatoes or who knows what.
My homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe is by far one of the kids’ favorite meals. They come back for seconds and thirds every time. Casseroles can be made ahead and then frozen for future use so it was the perfect choice to prepare meals ahead for sickness.
- 6 tbsp organic butter (local if you can)
- 1 lb (16 oz) organic pasta
- ¼ cup flour
- 5 cups organic, grass fed milk
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 block of grated organic extra sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (make sure it's fresh not from the can)
- 1 cup seasoned Panko bread crumbs (or make your own)
- Cook the pasta 2 minutes less time than in the package directions. Drain & set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the flour and cook stirring for about 2 minutes until it thickens. This is called a roux.
- Add the milk, salt and pepper and stir constantly until it gets creamy. This takes about 10 minutes. You now have a bechamel sauce.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until it is melted.
- Put the pasta in a Handi-Foil 9x13 pan. Carefully add the cheese sauce and stir until well combined. It will seem to have extra sauce.
- Sprinkle the seasoned Panko bread crumbs over the top.
- You can now either cook the baked macaroni and cheese in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes OR place the top on the Handi-Foil container and place it in the freezer for future use.
- When you want to cook it, remove it from the freezer in the morning and let thaw in the refrigerator all day. Remove the plastic top. Bake 350F for 60-75 minutes. You may need to cover the top part way through to prevent burning.
When I’m sick, the last thing I want to have to deal with is a sink full of dishes. Handi-Foil containers are the perfect solution. Handi-Foil has an eco-friendly line of products called Eco-Foil. Eco-Foil is made from 100% recycled aluminum, but it is also 100% recyclable after use. They are very sturdy and go easily from freezer to oven with no hassles. The 13×9 size was the perfect size for two hungry teenagers to have seconds or thirds.
Eco-Foil offers a variety of products to choose from, including roasters, baking pans, and a broad line of favorites ranging from King Roaster® with handles (a Handi-Foil exclusive) to the Cook-N-Carry® line of pans with lids. All made from 100% recycled materials — even the plastic lids. Eco-Foil is the perfect eco-friendly choice for all your baking, roasting or grilling needs —and a great way for you to save natural resources and protect our earth, one pan at a time.