IMG_9077These are the recipes for Day 4 (Wednesday, May 2) of Offbeat Home’s Cooking Challenge, wherein we see if Offbeat Bride’s Managing Editor Megan, a complete non-cook who lives off of frozen pizza and cereal, can go an entire week of preparing her own meals.

Each day, Cat Rocketship (who SWEARS you can afford better food!) will be sharing the recipes that Megan will be preparing — feel free to play along at home! If Megan, a pizza-loving non-cooking cereal-for-dinner web dork can feed herself healthy, home-cooked meals for a week — YOU CAN TOO.

Take a look: do you have any leftovers in your fridge you can clean out? Packaged-up quiche, cold pasta and extra red sauce?

If yes, heat that shit up and finish it off today or make plans to eat it SOON! Assuming you’ve been eating everything up, here are your recipes for today!

This morning, let's do a breakfast/lunch combo:

Brunch: French toast and eggs

French toast is great at any meal and has three basic tenents: batter, bread, and frying!


  • Olive oil
  • Sliced bread — 2-3 pieces per person
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt — about 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1-2 eggs per person for frying
  • Syrup
  • Butter

  1. Prepare two frying pans. Add a bit of okive oil to each and heat to medium.
  2. Mix milk, two eggs, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a bowl, beat together with a whisk or hand beater until evenly mixed — about 50 seconds.
  3. Dip one slice of bread in the batter. Place it in the bowl, press down, left slice up, let drip, flip over, and repeat on other side. Different breads handle batter differently, so timing is up to you. Each slice should absorb a bit of batter, but not so much as to be completely soggy or falling apart.
  4. Place bread slice in pan! Let cook 3-5 minutes on each side. When done, each side should be fairly dry. Monitor the heat and turn it down if bread seems burny.
  5. At the same time, drop an egg in the other pan. Or several eggs. Whatever. I like my eggs cooked HARD — my partner likes over easy where the yolk is super runny — cook whichever you'd like. Here is how to cook eggs over easy, and if you'd like them cooked hard, just fry longer!
  6. Serve everything. Add a pat of butter to the french toast and drizzle in syrupy yumness.

Snack: Oranges and pears with mint and sugar


  • Oranges!
  • Pears! I think I only had you buy one pear. If out of pears, substitute fruit of your choice!
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves!
  • 2 tablespoons sugar!

  1. Roll orange around on countertop, pressing down with your palm. This helps separate the peel from the fruit and makes peeling the orange easier. Bite into the skin to get it started, then peel.
  2. Cut pear. Remove core remnants from slices.
  3. Mince mint leaves. Cut the leaves very finely.
  4. Combine sugar and mint. Use the back of a spoon to mash together sugar and mint mincings in a small bowl. When done, sprinkle over fruit and eat. Coffee would be a great beverage with this!

Dinner: Macaroni and cheese with cauliflower and a loaded potato


  • Whole wheat macaroni noodles (Barilla!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 of a stick of butter
  • 1.5 cups parmasan cheese, grated (if out, substitute in another cheese)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon thyme and/or oregano
  • 1 potato per person
  • Dollop yogurt
  • About a teaspoon chopped green onions or chives

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Start about six cups water and 1/2 tablespoon salt boiling on the stovetop.
  3. Cook noodles about 7 minutes. Drain, and reserve about a cup of cooking water.
  4. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When butter foams, add the thyme/oregano and fry for about 60 seconds. Turn off heat.
  5. Add pasta to pan along with a couple spoonfuls of cooking water and the cheese.
  6. Return heat to medium and stir mixture until cheese is gooey. If it seems too dry, add a bit more cooking water. Mix in teaspoon salt.
  7. Pour noodles into a glass cassarole dish and pop in the oven for 10 minutes. During the last minute, turn on the broil function (watch it closely and don't wander away!)
  8. While macaroni is baking, wash a potato. Cut a slit in the top of potato, place on plate, and put in microwave for 5-8 minutes, based on size. If it's a super huge potato, cut it in half, place halves face-down, and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove potato from microwave. Mash a bit with fork. Dollop with a bit of yogurt, and sprinkle chives/onions over the top.
  10. Serve everything! Pretend I had you make a healthier meal than this, but revel in the cheese and yogurt and starch. Mmmm, starch.

Are you hungry for dessert? Tonight sounds like a perfect night for ice cream. EAT! Ice cream!

While Megan is doing full cooking reports the following day, you can see photos and follow her Offbeat Home cooking challenge adventures real-time, too: @meganfinley #obhfood

Comments on Day 4 recipes: oven-baked macaroni and cheese

  1. Dont forget the breadcrumb topping! Or any other thing that will get crispy. I’ve used cornflake crumbs, toasted wheat germ, or cornmeal before, too. It’s nice to have a hint of crispy crunchiness amid all the delicious gooeiness. Just sprinkle it on top before baking.

  2. Mmmm mmmm. This is my fave set of recipes so far. Thanks for using not ridiculously expensive cheeses in the mac n cheese! Most recipes call for Gruyere, which, though delicious, costs more than a year supply of Easy Mac (okay, that was a little exaggerated). I’ll try these recipes at home for sure.

    • I freaking love Gruyere… a little goes a long way. I usually buy it for a cauliflower gratin (NOM) and use the leftovers to make a bachemel sauce for Croque Madames, which is a fancy grilled ham & cheese sandwich with a runny egg on top. YUM.

      I’m a cheap person, but I do take my Polish great-grandmother’s advice: never scrimp on food or shoes. 🙂

  3. I can cook almost anything thanks to my paternal grandmother showing me how to cook from age 5 up. But to this day, I have the hardest time cooking a fried egg. I truly think it’s one of the hardest things to master! Luckily my fiance taught me this trick where you pour a small amount of water around the egg(s) and then throw a lid on it. The lid traps the steam from the water cooking the top of the egg. Makes an easy, delicious fried egg!

    • I’m thinking about making this for a party on Monday…

      How many servings does the above bode? Do pears tend to brown like apples do when they’re sliced?

  4. Is there anything that would make a good alternative to the mint? Sadly, as much as I love the stuff, I’ve developed an allergy to it : /

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