Our Rise From Shrimp Scampi to Mac n Cheese

Happy New Year Everyone – Welcome 2012 and all that is waiting for us this year.

Walt and I are not big New Year’s Eve party people.  When we first started dating in 1997 our New Year Eve’s were spent at hotel parties with Walt’s family.  They were fun, you could eat, drink and have a good time without leaving the hotel which is a pretty convenient and safe way to spend the holiday.  We did that for a few years eventually opting to staying home, making romantic dinners together like shrimp scampi with a great bottle of wine, a romantic comedy on DVD.  This became our preferred way to ring in the New Year, just the two of us.

Eventually we were blessed with grandchildren and Joshua (7) has spent every New Year’s Eve with us since he was born with the exception of last night.  As a second grader Joshua’s world is expanding, his social network growing faster than the Facebook craze did.  Last night Josh attended a party at his friend Andrew’s house.  It was a “Family New Year Celebration” a great way for families to ring in the New Year together.  Josh went with Cindy his mom and his sister Kaylee (3), and his future step dad.

This year we celebrated the end of 2011 and welcomed 2012 with Lil E.   The three of us dinned on the always popular and delicious Macaroni and Cheese accompanied by a Hot Dog on a Bun.  We shared a chilled bottle of Blue, 2011 Hawaiian Punch Berry to be exact.  For dessert, grandma’s special homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Our feature presentation was “Beauty and The Beast” a personal favorite.  We had a great evening.

Ok, so maybe we didn’t welcome 2012 together until this morning at breakfast, lil E is only 3 after all and was out like a light before 11:00 p.m., but before that we had a great night, we played hot wheels and lego’s and Eric helped me make dinner.  I do have to add a footnote here; lil E did wake up at 1:00 a.m. and watched Wow Wow Wubzy for a few hours while grandma begged him to go back to sleep (yes there was some bribery in there as well) and of course papa snored away in the other room…papa is sticking to his story that he heard nothing.

Now I am sure that there are those who will ask “I bet you miss the days of Scampi, wine and romantic comedies?”  My answer….absolutely not.  Mac and Cheese with Hot Dog on a Bun has been on our New Year’s Eve menu for the last 6 years.  I can make scampi and serve a bottle of wine any time I want.  But my beautiful grandchildren won’t be babies forever, soon, sooner than I care to admit, they aren’t going to spend their New Year’s Eve with grandma and papa.  They will grow into their own lives and routines creating their own traditions and memories.

I will always cherish the time we spend with our grandchildren on New Year’s Eve….and maybe, just maybe, when they are older and eventually have families of their own,  if I am lucky they will stop by on New Year’s Eve for a little visit and I’ll have the Macaroni and Cheese warming in the oven and hot dogs on a bun ready to go!!

New Year’s Eve Macaroni and Cheese Recipe


8 oz.                 Uncooked dried elbow macaroni (about 2 cups dry)


1/4 Cup           Butter

2 Tblsp.            All-purpose flour

2 Cups             Half & Half or milk

1  8 oz.             Package cream cheese, softened

2 Tsp.              Country-style Dijon mustard

1/2 Tsp.           Salt

1/4 -1/2 tsp.   Pepper

½ lb.               Deli American Cheese – Sliced (I use Land O Lakes)


Heat oven to 400°F

Cook macaroni according to package directions.     Drain.

While macaroni is cooking, melt 1/4 cup butter in 3-quart saucepan until bubbly; stir in flour.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and bubbly (about a minute).

Add half & half, cream cheese, mustard, salt and pepper.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (can take up to 5 minutes)

Stir in cooked macaroni and American cheese.


Spoon into an ungreased 2-quart casserole.

Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Let stand for 5 minutes – Serve







2 thoughts on “Our Rise From Shrimp Scampi to Mac n Cheese

  1. Can you make it without the mustard…my kids can smell that stuff a mile away and do not like it!!?

    Glad you had a nice New Years Eve! We do the “family party” thing too! Our houses are all in a row so we usually have the adults gathered at one house while the kids are next door at another with a sitter (now it’s Rhiana!!). The kids have pizza, snacks and goodies while the adults have their “goodies” too! Just before midnight we all get together again and do the countdown…so much fun and it’s a win/win for everyone!!

    Happy New Year family!! 🙂

    • Hi Tiff,

      Happy New Year!!

      So glad you had a great New Year’s Eve, when John and Nikki were young that’s how their dad and I used to celebrate as well. There were five families in our subdivision who were very close and we did a lot together. Everyone took turns hosting our get togethers and planning menu’s and entertainment. Great memories.

      I am a firm believer in “tweaking” recipes, I do it all the time. You can leave out the mustard, I have when I didn’t have Dijon and I really didn’t notice a difference.

      Happy New Year!!!

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