Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's here-- MAC AND CHEESE!!

Yes- mac and cheese IS the most typical dairy meal, but nevertheless, you can never go wrong with a delicious mac and cheese. Definitely a comfort food, but it doesn't need to have that heavy cheesy "I'll regret this in the morning" feeling. I make this when I'm really in the mood, with whatever shape pasta I have on hand (it doesn't have to be only elbow macaroni!!). The pasta I usually use is Barilla Plus. White pasta is useless, and I find 100% whole wheat pasta really mealy and heavy tasting. The Plus pasta is a good balance, tastes great & good for you. Usually I use N&K shredded cheese, but to mix it up I decided to use the N&K cubed cheddar cheese (I couldn't think of any other use for it), and it came out great! I didn't use the entire box of pasta for this recipe, rather just one round tin's worth, and saved some pasta.

-1 box of Barilla Plus penne or preferred shape short pasta
-2 tbsp. flour
-2 tbsp. Earth Balance
-1 cup lowfat milk (plus a few more tbsp. if needed)
-2 cups of cheddar cubes, cut in half to speed the melting process (if you use shredded cheese, use about 1.5 cups, more if you like it more cheesy)
-1 tsp. dijon mustard (preferred brand: Grey Poupon)
-Garlic salt & pepper to taste
-Chopped parsley
-Panko breadcrumbs

-Preheat the oven to 375
-Make the pasta according to package directions. Don't cook until mushy, it'll cook more in the oven
-Melt the butter in a small pot, add the flour and whisk over medium heat
-Slowly pour in the milk, continuing to whisk
-Add the cheese and mix until all melted. Add a tbsp. more or milk while melting the cheese if it is too thick. You can also reserve some pasta water to add to the sauce if you don't want to add the extra milk.
-Add the dijon, 1/2 tsp. of garlic salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper
-Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, and mix. Stir in the parsley
-Spray a round tin or dish and add the pasta, sprinkle panko crumbs on top, and more chopped parsley and spray with Pam.
-Bake until desired doneness (I usually keep it in covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 10- I like when the top gets crispy).
-My favorite side to mac and cheese is salty kale chips

Who would resist that??

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