Today is not my favourite kind of day. I know Wednesday is supposed to be a little ray of sunshine as ‘Hump Day’ – that mid point of the week that brings all the promise that the weekend isn’t far away – but for me it always feels like there is still so far to go! I know, I’m not really a glass half full kinda gal today! It doesn’t help that this is my last week of work before maternity leave, and it’s been the kind of day where everything you planned to get done has had to be pushed to one side to handle other dramas, which is making me feel somewhat anxious about how much there is left on my little wish list of things to tie up before I finish! Add to that the fact I’m working from a bombsite right now as our house is mid renovation, and that it has been raining cats and dogs all day – the perfect recipe for a disgruntled Steph. I’m not always this grumpy (I like to think…) but I’m cutting myself some slack considering I’m 38 weeks pregnant, still working and pretty darn exhausted, so I think it’s only natural I feel a bit like climbing under the duvet and hibernating till baby comes, right?
Whenever I’m in this kind of mood my mind turns to food! Low effort food, of course, because my motivation to do anything other than sit on the sofa and stare into space is pretty limited right now, but comfort food none the less, and I think I have the perfect solution! This recipe is a huge favourite of both mine and Dan’s, and is a great choice for days when you’re feeling lazy, as most of the cooking is already done! Further to that, because this basically comprises of freezer leftovers from two recipes I’ve featured on here before it makes for the ultimate lazy blog post too – WIN!
So, the first part that does unfortunately require a tiny bit of pre-planning and effort is to dig into your freezer and pull out that left over beef casserole you froze after making this recipe I posted last year – I know, SO HARD, right?! You’ll want this defrosted and ready to go. You could of course make it from scratch if you’re a far better person than me, but I’m kinda writing this for the couch potatoes today, ok? While you’re there, see if you also have some of the starter Mac ‘n’ Cheese in there from this recipe, as if you do, you’re in luck, this will be a SUPER easy meal for you! If you don’t, the good news is, it’s pretty simple to whip up ready to add the beef ragu, so all is not lost (remember though that you are only making the cheese sauce and adding macaroni, you don’t need to worry about the mushroom part!)
Once you have those two components sorted the rest could not be easier! Whether you’ve made the mac ‘n’ cheese there and then or defrosted some leftovers, pop it to one side for a moment while you tend to warming up the casserole in a pan. Depending on the consistency you may want to add some extra chopped tomatoes or passata to loosen it up, but that is entirely up to you and the amount of f***s you give at this point…! Once heated through, use a fork to shred the beef chunks and the bigger bits of veggies, which should be delightfully tender and no trouble at all. You are now pretty much there – see, I told you this was easy! Now, in a baking dish, add half the mac ‘n’ cheese. Top this with your ragu, then top with the rest of the mac ‘n’ cheese and, if you’re a piggy like me, and extra sprinkling of a cheese and herbs of your choosing (I like tangy cheddar and some chives!) Then all you need to do is bake for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden on top! Et VOILA! You are now left with a rich, cheesy, gooey delight to get you through this dark and rainy evening.
And now for a bonus top tip, just because I like spoiling you – if the thought of making the macaroni cheese seems like too much of a stretch right now, this ragu also makes a great pasta sauce on it’s own, so why not just whip up some tagliatelle or penne to stir in instead?
I’m actually feeling quite passionately like I want to eat this RIGHT NOW, but luckily for me the boy is very good at recognizing my ‘can’t be bothered to cook’ face and is taking me out for a slap up meal! What a lucky girl I am!