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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Introducing...Veggie Delights -- Yummy Mac n Cheese!

I am really excited to introduce to you a new weekly feature on this blog...Veggie Delights!

So as many of you know, my husband and I are Vegetarians. Most of the time when we tell people this, we get responses such as...

"Oh, I could never go without meat."
"Gross. I hate vegetables."
"How do you make yummy meals without meat?"
"Cooking must be so difficult. There's nothing to work with."
etc. etc. etc.

Because this is something I am very passionate about, and since I love to cook, I thought it would be fun to highlight a Vegetarian recipe every week! I'm calling it Veggie Delights because I'm convinced that I can share with you some really amazing meatless dishes that you will love, even if you're not a Vegetarian! Every week I will highlight one of my favorite Vegetarian recipes.

This week's fantastic recipe: Yummy Mac n Cheese (pictured above)!

I made this Mac n Cheese with my friend Blake while she was here visiting back in January. We got it from an edition of Family Circle magazine. It is honestly the best mac n cheese I've ever tasted. We were both really impressed by the recipe.

The only problem is that it isn't a very budget-friendly meal, simply because of the type of cheese it calls for. It calls for Gruyere cheese (which is like over $10 a block). When my friend and I made it, we substituted Havarti cheese (a little cheaper) and it was amazing. When I made it by myself the second time on my Freezer Cooking weekend, I substituted Mozzarella (even cheaper) and it worked great! (It wasn't quite as creamy and delicious, but it was still amazing).

What You'll Need:
  • 1 box penne rigate pasta (I used whole-wheat...tastes so good!)
  • 3/4 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded (or Havarti or Mozzarella)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago or parmesan cheese (I've used Parmesan both times)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used skim milk)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart broiler safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. (Mine is only in aluminum foil, because I was going to freeze it for later). Bring a large pot of slightly salty water to boiling.

2. Once water boils, add pasta. Cook about 6 minutes, drain.

3. In a large bowl, toss together all cheeses. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and slightly bubbly. In a thin stream, whisk in milk. Stir in onion powder, salt, and cayenne. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in 2 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture.

5. In pasta pot, stir together cooked pasta and the cheese sauce.

6. Pour half of the pasta/cheese sauce mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with generous cup of the shredded cheese mixture. Spoon remaining pasta/cheese sauce mixture into dish and top with remaining shredded cheese.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Increase oven temp to broil and cook 3 minutes, until top is slightly browned. Cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy! It makes 12 side dish servings. (But of course I always eat way more than that). Oh, and just so you know...I've stayed away from this recipe due to my efforts to Get Thin in 2010 (update coming tomorrow)! Ha Ha!

What About You: Do you think this recipe looks tasty? If you try it, let me know what you think!

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