Saturday, March 3, 2012

Easier Than Boxed

Hi there :)  I hope you're staying cozy and warm wherever you might be this weekend.  I also hope that you didn't have any bad weather and are safe - we had some mighty scary storms in the Midwest yesterday.  I never used to get scared of the weather but now I'm a total fraidy cat.  Today, I was pretty lazy.  I went shopping for a pair of colored denim but my trip was totally unsuccessful - I don't want to spend a lot for a style that might not be around next year - but I couldn't find anything that fit regardless of the price.  I ended up shopping with one of my friends instead and came home with a new candle :)

When I was younger, I used to love the blue box macaroni and cheese.  It was so easy and so cheesy.  It makes me think of winter days when the nights would start so early and I could cuddle up with a big bowl of mac & cheese.  Every time winter would come, I would crave that blue box.... but somewhere along the line, I stopped eating it...

Obviously, I still love macaroni and cheese - it's one of my favorite meals, especially with edamame.  Very rarely do I buy the box kind anymore - Annie's and Trader Joe's both make gluten-free versions but they just don't seem to be the same as what I remember from my childhood and teenage years.  Now, when I make macaroni and cheese I go by my favorite recipe ever (you can find it on my recipe page, but I'm constantly adapting it, so I'm sure there will be another update in the future) but sometimes I just don't feel like putting the work in of making the roux, gathering all my ingredients and buying skim milk.... 

A couple of days ago, I modified a recipe that I had seen in Cooking Light.  I had created a single serve version before and I remembered it being pretty good, not to mention ridiculously easy.  The only thing I needed to buy for this was cottage cheese.  The idea is genius - you blend the cottage cheese in a food processor to make a creamy sauce and add cheddar to it.  Then, you pour it over your pasta and bake it.  The original recipe used less cheddar and full-fat cheeses, but I modified it to cut out more calories but not flavor.  Of course, I added edamame which made it slightly less creamy since there was less sauce to go around.  It's just as easy as adding the powdered cheese to milk, but so much more flavorful.  Enjoy!  

Simple Macaroni & Cheese, adapted from Cooking Light


8 oz quinoa pasta
16 oz edamame, shelled
1 1/2 cups 2% cottage cheese
1 cup 2% sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp pepper
1 slice gluten free bread
2 tbsp dried parsley

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bring water to a boil, add pasta and cook for 8 minutes.  Add edamame, cooking for 1-2 more minutes.  Drain.
2. Meanwhile, process cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth.  Add cheddar, 1/4 cup of parmesan and pepper. Process again until combined.
3. Add cheese sauce to pasta, stir until combined.  Pour into six 2 cup glass dishes (or use one large baking dish)
4. Combine bread, parsley & remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan in a food processor.  Top pasta with bred crumb mixture.
5. Bake for 12 minutes until top is lightly browned. 

simple and delicious

I baked mine in 6 mini dishes :)

Do you love the blue box or are you a baked mac & cheese person?