In middle school we used to cut out the "Dare" part and call it "Truth". In college two good friends called it "honesty time". Here, I call it...well I don't call it anything, it's my blog and you have to listen.
Truth: I LOVE macaroni and cheese, not just any macaroni and cheese, but the shameless blue boxed kind, preferably where the "macaroni" is shaped like cartoon characters whose names end with "Squarepants".
Truth: Macaroni and cheese has a tendency to be not so good for you, and since venturing out into the world of healthy, responsible eating, I have not been able to eat macaroni and cheese with the carefree abandon of my youth.
Truth: The highly processed sort of-dairy products found in macaroni and cheese occasionally upset my tummy.
The above truths presented me with a wide variety of problems. But, my love for macaroni and cheese knows no bounds, and I decided to improvise and set out on a quest to create a healthier, cartoon-free, and tummy-friendly macaroni and cheese.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:
Baked "Macaroni" (Penne) and Cheese
12 oz Penne pasta
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
2 cups skim milk
1 cup your choice of reduced-fat, shredded cheese (I used some colby jack and mozzarella)
Leftover Oven Roasted Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
1/8 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
I preheated the oven to 375 degrees, and got the pasta going in some salted, boiling water. I cooked the pasta, drained it and set it aside. In the same large pot, I then melted the butter and added in the flour. I whisked it, until I was entirely sure I had done it wrong. I then added in the chicken stock, milk, and some salt and pepper. I stirred it over low heat, until it thickened a little. Sorry, I was not exact in my timings today.
I then added in the cheese. Again, not so exact with the measurements, a little excess cheese never killed anyone. I stirred this until it melted. I poured the pasta and vegetables into the pot, and poured the whole mixture into a greased baking dish.
It was at this point that I became so dubious of my creation that I told Matthew we could have ice cream for dinner. He then got very excited. Nevertheless I baked the pasta for 11 minutes, and then stuck it in the broiler-drawer thingy (it fit!), and pulled it out. Matthew was sorely disappointed, for it was edible, and pretty good tasting at that!
I consider myself a connoisseur (big word), of macaroni and cheeses. This wasn't the best I've tasted, but it certainly isn't the worst. The Spiderman variety tends to be soupy. I would definitely make it again, and I was successful in getting rid of 3 things from our little kitchen:
1) chicken stock
2) an excess of penne
3) roasted vegetables
I was unsuccessful in getting rid of 1 thing: