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Weeknight Cooking in a Messy Kitchen – Swiss Beer Mac & Cheese

December 8, 2009

I love cooking blogs and blogs that post recipes and fancy pictures of adorable clean kitchens and the cooks in darling little outfits. I love to cook, too. But I don’t have one of those kitchens. And I certainly don’t cook in my cute clothes. Also, I don’t own a nice camera. And if I did, I wouldn’t know how to use it.

I have a real kitchen and a real home… one with clutter and yesterday’s dishes and crooked rugs. My cooking utensils are in an old Boy Scout popcorn for heaven’s sake. And I don’t regularly cook from scratch or follow a recipe. But I still wanted to do those fancy cooking blog posts with pictures and recipes. But dammit, I’m going to do it my way.

So here’s the first installation of Weeknight Cooking in a Messy Kitchen with Renee. It features PhotoBooth photography, your chef in her stained work clothes and greasy bangs, and an improvised mac & cheese using a package of Trader Joe’s Swiss Beer Fondue.

This is real life cooking. Stop fooling yourselves.

For this recipe you’ll need a package of Trader Joe’s Swiss Beer Fondue, pasta in your favorite shape (I like shells, they suction cup to your tongue when you eat them), swiss cheese, and croutons. I considered chopping green onions to sprinkle on top but decided it was just too much damn work. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can probably still attempt this recipe, but you’ll have to relocate first. Priorities, people.

1.) Preheat your oven to something moderately hot. Maybe like 350 or something. Whatever feels right.

2.) Squeeze the Swiss Beer Fondue glob into a casserole dish of some sort. It’s globby so you’ll want to zap it in the microwave for a few minutes. I hit it for 90 seconds, stirred, and zapped it for another minute. It worked good enough.

3.) Lick the fondue from the package. Don’t let it go to waste. If you don’t lick the package, you hate the planet.

4.) Cook and drain pasta. Don’t make me explain this part in detail. This was a college staple for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

5.) Dump the pasta into the now-gooey fondue cheesy goodness. Mix together so all the pasta is covered in the goodness. Pose for the camera. I considered going all Paula Dean and drizzling melted butter over this. Shut up, you know that would be amazing. Try it and tell me how it is.


6.) Taste test. Duh.

7.) Place slices of Swiss cheese on top of the dish.

9.) Crush stale croutons with a lasagna turner. Or any kind of blunt object. Don’t mention my name when the police arrive.

9.) Breadcrumbs! To add that kind of delicious crunchiness that I think less skilled mac and cheese chefs tend to omit.

10.) Sprinkle “breadcrumbs” on top of your impending dinner of champions.

11.) Bake until things look appropriately crusty.

12.) Serve and……ENJOY!

37 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2009 8:36 pm

    Best. Ever.

  2. Amy permalink
    December 8, 2009 8:53 pm

    this is awesome πŸ™‚

  3. December 8, 2009 8:54 pm

    You’re onto something here.

  4. December 8, 2009 8:55 pm

    Test. Hey wordpress comments, FIGURE IT OUT. DShan is always DShan.


    Or Belle, you could use Disqus, but you serve me coffee so I’m not gonna fuck with you on that front.

  5. December 8, 2009 9:22 pm

    DAMN IT WHY CANT NEW JERSEY HAVE A TRADER JOES. seriously. thank you renee for reminding me.

    you’re adorable and i love you.

  6. December 8, 2009 9:26 pm

    Lately, like over the past month, i’ve been reading tweets about Mac n’ Cheese, blogs about Mac n’ Cheese, and now, I stumble across MAC N’ CHEESE HEAVEN.

  7. December 8, 2009 9:47 pm

    Uh, you’ve definitely inspired me … would you be very angry if I started Weeknight Cooking in Messy Kitchen with Teresa (As Inspired By BelleRenee)?

    Just kidding. But I feel ya, girl — I always want to post my cooking pics, but they’re pretty damn unattractive. And heavily littered-upon kitchen counter doesn’t do much to help things.

  8. December 8, 2009 10:38 pm

    Incredible…. Simple incredible.

    Love the bit of kitchen I saw. Maybe post me some pictures of your new house????

  9. December 8, 2009 10:51 pm

    I think the entire blogosphere knows how I feel about mac & cheese. When can I come over and eat this??

    Also? YOU’RE SO CUTE.

  10. December 8, 2009 10:54 pm


  11. December 8, 2009 11:05 pm

    I love it! THIS is how real people cook! And it does sound really yummy.

  12. December 9, 2009 8:44 am

    That sounds fucking delicious! I’d love to try it out but.. NO TRADER JOES IN FLORIDA 😦 Any suggestions for a substitute?

  13. December 9, 2009 9:01 am

    I, too, love the fancy cooking blogs, and inside I cry because I know I can never create a recipe or blog post of that quality. So this post…this one RIGHT HERE…it speaks to me.

  14. December 9, 2009 9:04 am

    Best food blog post EVER! I mean, seriously. THIS is how real people cook, ha! And you’re adorable. And now I just realized, for the thousandth time, how much I’m going to MISS TRADER JOE’S when I move to CO.

    Also? “Miss Trader Joe’s” sounds like a beauty pageant title. We should create/enter/win that.

  15. December 9, 2009 9:18 am


    You AND the suction cuppy effect of shells.

  16. December 9, 2009 9:33 am

    You’re well on your way to being one of my favorite food blogs!

  17. December 9, 2009 10:22 am

    I am going to Trader Joe’s RIGHT NOW to get these ingredients to make dinner for tonight.
    Love love love.

  18. December 9, 2009 12:26 pm

    You are adorable. And yes, I also have a messy kitchen with crooked rugs — and I quickly change into PJs/comfy clothes shortly after I get home. And I’m sure my bangs are greasy. (Although yours look just great, naturally!) This post was too much fun! Love it. Oh, and that mac & cheese looks yummy delicious. Hurray!

  19. December 9, 2009 12:33 pm

    Oh man, you are too too cute! Mmmmm, fondue-y goodness!!

  20. December 9, 2009 1:48 pm

    Love this. And it sounds so good. And my kitchen is NEVER NEAT EVER, except for when our cleaning woman comes because Dave and I are slobs. Then its back to looking like a hovel again. πŸ™‚

  21. December 9, 2009 2:12 pm

    I can’t wait for more of this series.

  22. December 9, 2009 3:56 pm

    LOVE THIS. and will immediately trek over to my trader joe’s and try to find me some of this swiss fondue yumminess.

  23. December 9, 2009 5:37 pm

    You need to post “cooking in a messy kitchen” more often. It’s a riot!

  24. December 9, 2009 6:45 pm

    i just ate lunch and now i want that. you can send your extras my way. thank you.

  25. December 9, 2009 7:00 pm

    Thanks for keeping it real, kitchen style. I just did a post on putting together a a gingerbread house – but I think it needed more action shots (the problem was I was covered in icing…that stuff is sticky, yo!).

  26. December 10, 2009 2:38 pm

    So, I get the “Fearless Flyer” from TJ’s because I read it for fun.

    I saw the Swiss Fondue and was so interested.

    NOW, I know I’m totally going to get some.


    (Also! I was all, “Where does she work? A hoodie! Jealous!” Then I remembered. Lucky!)

  27. December 10, 2009 5:09 pm


  28. December 10, 2009 5:25 pm

    I’m coming over to eat the extra pasta you have =)

  29. December 10, 2009 9:44 pm

    I’m a big fan of steps 3 and 5A. Really, those are the only two steps I even use when cooking.

  30. December 11, 2009 4:31 am

    Total win. As if I didn’t heart you enough already.

  31. December 11, 2009 6:33 pm

    SO TRUE! I love this post…and I think your dinner looks yummy!!

  32. December 11, 2009 9:49 pm

    Soooo, when are you making this for me?

  33. jamie permalink
    December 15, 2009 1:55 pm

    You are cute and now I really want mac and cheese.

    Missed you this weekend!

  34. December 17, 2009 11:03 pm

    Fact: This post had me giggling.

    I’m so with you on cooking. I was once going to do a ‘cooking dinner’ post that showed me getting out the bowl, spoon, milk and cereal. And stirring for 2 minutes before consuming while on the couch watching Top Chef.

  35. December 21, 2009 2:27 pm

    LOL I heart this. I always want things to be adorable and precious in my cooking posts, except I somewhat suck at cooking and, though I own a fancy camera, I can barely point and shoot. Hats off girlie!


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