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Posts Tagged ‘mac and cheese’

by Sarah Steimer

Mac and cheese with cauliflower, tomatoes and mustard breadcrumbs

It’s mac and cheese season! But that doesn’t mean it has to be all heavy. Swapping out some of the pasta with cauliflower helps to lighten the dish, along with folding in greens and using skim milk.

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by Sarah Steimer

There's very little that's healthy about mac and cheese - it uses tons of cheese, butter, flour and so forth. But pureed spinach at least throws a few extra vitamins into the mix.

There’s very little that’s healthy about mac and cheese – it uses tons of cheese, butter, flour and so forth. But pureed spinach at least throws a few extra vitamins into the mix. P.S. this is the reheated version, the original looked much creamier.

  • 1/2 pound macaroni noodles
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 3 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim, had to cut back the fat somewhere!)
  • 4 ounces white cheddar, grated
  • 4 ounces fontina, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a small saute pan. Add the onions and jalapenos, cooking until soft. Set aside.

Add the spinach and the hot water to a blender. Puree until smooth.

In a medium or large pot, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir until smooth and cook over low heat for about 1 minute. Add the milk and stir until very smooth. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the cheese, stirring until melted and smooth, followed by the spinach puree and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the pasta, onions and jalapenos to the sauce, tossing until everything is well combined. Pour the mac and cheese into a 9-by-9 (or 8-by-8)-inch square baking dish.

At this point I actually covered the dish and refrigerated until I had it for dinner the next day, but you can cook it immediately.

Before serving, bake the mac and cheese, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the edges are browned.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Heather Cristo Cooks

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by Sarah Steimer

I like the crisp edges you get with baked mac and cheese - like any other human - but sometimes I'd rather have a mac that's nice and creamy.

  • 8 ounces Fusilli pasta (spirals)
  • 1 heaping cup smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 1/3 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup skim milk, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 packed cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, saute the onion in a pan with olive oil until translucent. When both are ready, drain the pasta and add it, along with the onions, into a slow-cooker.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour, mixing with a whisk until you’ve made a rue. Add 1/2 cup milk and continue whisking until it thickens to the consistency of cream. Add the cheeses, eggs, Greek yogurt, broth and salt and pepper. Mix until the cheese has melted then add to the slow cooker. Add remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Fold in the spinach. Cook on low for about an hour.

Serves four.

Recipe adapted (very loosely) from: a recipe my sister, Jess Sweeney, sent me – she made a different crock pot mac & cheese once and it stayed way more moist than what you usually pop in the oven.

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes   –  all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

You can eat this one for breakfast, too! Apples, sausage, cheese... come on! It's a great way to start the day.

You can eat this one for breakfast, too! Apples, sausage, cheese... come on! It's a great way to start the day.

  •  1 box (16 ounces) macaroni noodles
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces bulk sausage
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, core removed, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 Asian pear, peeled, core removed, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups provolone cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Sprinkle a few shakes of salt over the boiling water, and add the pasta. Cook about 7 minutes (see package directions for specific cook time if you choose to go with a different pasta). Strain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet (the biggest one you have) over medium heat. Add the sausage and sage, and cook, breaking the sausage into tiny bits with a wooden spoon, until sausage browns, about 7 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the bowl, reserving the oils in the pan.

Add the apple and pear to the pan and cook over medium heat until they soften, 4-5 minutes. Transfer the fruit to the bowl, reserving any oil that’s left in the pan.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan, and cook over medium heat until they soften, about 4 minutes. At this point, add the butter to the pan. Once it melts, sprinkle the flour over the onions, and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and milk, and bring to a simmer. Add cheeses, allspice, salt and pepper. Stir the mixture until the cheese is melted.

Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta, sausage and apples in the large bowl. Stir to combine.

Makes 8 servings.

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes  — all of which can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

We get lots of awesome Wisconsin cheese here in Chicago that you can find in specialty stores or just a regular grocery store.

  • 1/2 small butternut squash, seeded
  • 3 medium sunchokes, peeled (also known as Jerusalem artichokes – ALL OVER farmer’s markets right now)
  • 12 ounces pasta – I used mini shells
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 3/4 cups nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 ounces Muenster cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Prepare a baking sheet or glass baking dish with a layer of aluminum foil. Lay the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Add the peeled sunchokes to the sheet, and roast in the oven at 450 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife.

Scoop the squash out of the flesh and place into a mixing bowl and mash. Add the roasted sunchokes, mashing to incorporate them with the butternut squash.

The squash and sunchoke add a really earthy flavor to the dish – and since you clearly don’t notice them, it would be a pretty fantastic way to get kids to eat their veggies.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente, drain, return to the pot, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter in the saucepan, then whisk in the flour and mustard. Continue whisking for about 1 minute, then slowly add in the milk, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer, lower heat to medium-low and keep simmering, whisking frequently, for 5-6 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream.

Season the sauce with the pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the squash sunchoke mash, Muenster and cheddar, stirring with a wooden spoon until the cheese has melted. The color turns a really bright, almost fake-looking orange.

Pour the cheese sauce into the cooked macaroni, stirring to ensure all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Preheat your broiler.

Pour the macaroni into a medium baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs. Broil for about 10 minutes, or until the bubbly with brown edges.

Makes about 10 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Cold Cereal and Toast via Meatless Monday

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes  –  all of which can be found here.

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