Friday, June 14, 2013

easy cooking: mac 'n cheese

i'll tell you a secret, I absolutely love the boxed macaroni and cheese mix. the day before I flew out for india I made myself a box. it'd been years since I had it as a child and it still tasted as good as I remember. maybe it's a childhood thing, but I much prefer the box mix over homemade. the inner processed child in me :)

this recipe is as easy as it gets and as great way to throw in vegetable produce in the fridge or freezer that's been hanging around too long. plus, if you make extras, perfect for lunch the next day at work! this can be modified to your taste so if you love sausage or ham or peas and squash feel free to cook it up and toss it in. if you want cheesey goodness throw in shredded cheese while the macaroni is still hot and melt it in all nice and oozy.

Everything in the kitchen mac 'n cheese
Serves 4

1 box macaroni and cheese mix
2 c broccoli, chopped
2 handfuls kale, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
handful grape tomatoes (throw these in last to sauté briefly)
1/4 c fat free milk
1/2 c ricotta cheese
1 can tuna, drained
some cannellini beans
1 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
any other spices you might like (I added sriracha to my bowl)

This is very much an add what you have/what you like recipe. Bring a pot of water to boil and toss in macaroni noodles and cook as directed on the box (usually around 7-10 minutes). While the noodles cook, sauté the veggies with garlic and olive oil. When the noodles are cooked, drain, toss back into the pot you boiled them in, pour in milk, cheese powder pouch (if processed powdered cheese makes you squeamish feel free to make a rue and cheese sauce) and at this point I threw in the ricotta. If you put in any other shredded cheeses you can also keep the pot on low heat to get it all to melty goodness. Mix in red chili pepper flakes, the tuna and the veggies. Spice as you wish and serve!
other great add ins: onions, frozen peas, zucchini, ham, more beans, pureed cauliflower, spinach, etc.



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