Cook the Books

Learn to Cook and Save

Cooking the books is when someone changes their accounting reports so things look better than they are.

Cooking at home can save you money, and that actually makes things better.

If you don’t have the time or patience to spend on finding a recipe, getting the ingredients and learning how to cook, cooking for yourself can be daunting. You can break the fast food cycle if you learn one new recipe each week.

Photo by Ihssan Rami Azouagh on Unsplash

Don’t be afraid to substitute

Experimenting helps you learn how to cook with what is in your cupboard. It helps you be creative instead of needing exact ingredients. I always tell people not to be afraid to made changes to recipes. You can substitute different cheeses or use cream with water instead of milk. There are no rules when you are cooking for yourself and you might create a new specialty dish.

This recipe for Macaroni and Cheese is the easiest one I’ve found and it doesn’t cost much. You won’t have a lot of cleaning up to do because you use just one pot.

There are lots of ways to personalize your macaroni and cheese, including adding vegetables such as broccoli or peas. You can also experiment by changing the spices, which will give this homemade dish your personal touch. Using different pasta is another substitute that is easy to do.


  • 2 cups milk (maybe a bit more)
  • 2 cups dry macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or otherwise)

Optional ingredients- seasoning suggestions

  • A dash of salt
  • Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce (My secret ingredient. It makes cheese taste cheesier)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Sriracha sauce to taste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • A couple of dashes of paprika
  • Fried or chopped onions
  • Any other vegetable chopped fairly small
  • Be inspired! What’s in your fridge?

Homemade Comfort Mac and Cheese

Mix the following main ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally and then put a lid on the pot and simmer 10–15 minutes until the macaroni is tender. Stir fairly often to keep the pasta from clumping and sticking on the bottom. You might have to add a bit more milk if the pasta seems dry — this depends on the type of pasta you use.

  • 2 cups milk (maybe a bit more)
  • 2 cups dry macaroni
  • A dash of salt if you have it
  • (Add chopped broccoli or other vegetable if you want)

Once the pasta is soft, choose some seasonings from the list below. (Be creative and try different combinations)

  • Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce (my secret ingredient)
  • Pepper to taste (optional)
  • Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • paprika (optional)

Turn the heat off and stir in 1 cup shredded cheese. Add a bit more if you added broccoli or another vegetable. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Miracle Mac n Cheese by BudgetBytes

Learning to cook will save you money, keep you healthier. As a bonus, it will impress your friends.

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