Grown-Up Mac n’ Cheese

grownupmacncheese2Grown-Up Mac ‘n Cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) gluten-free/whole-wheat penne
  • 1 lb. spinach leaves, trimmed
  • ¼ cup olive oil or butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour/gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk/soy milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese/Daiya cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, optional
  • Optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, hot sauce, scallions, etc.

the method:

  1. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted, stirring with tongs to cook all leaves. Drain, and press out any excess liquid. Coarsely chop wilted spinach, and set aside.grownupmacncheese1
  3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, then add penne, spinach, 1/2 cup Parmesan, garlic, and nutmeg, if using, to sauce, and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer to prepared baking dish, sprinkle remaining 2 Tbs. Parmesan over mixture, and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until top is browned.Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 11- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Mac n’ Cheese Alton Brown Style (and GF)

IMG_20130915_204203Mac n’ Cheese Alton Brown Style (GF)

The ingredients:

1/2 pound gluten free elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
The method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Green Chile Mac n’ Cheese (GF)

green chili mac1 Nick and I attended the Scottsdale Culinary Festival back in April, and I must say, some of the dishes we sampled were quite tasty. One thing that Nick and I both enjoyed was the Macaroni and Cheese with Green Chilies served up by the Zulu Caffe.

That small sample left such a savory taste in my mouth that I felt compelled to make my own version of their mac and cheese. This recipe is really tasty and highly addictive – you have been warned.

Green Chile Mac (GF)

The ingredients:

  • 8 ounces gluten-free penne/macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup green jalapeno salsa
  • 1 can (4 ounces) mild chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno peppers, canned or fresh, optional
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, about 2 cups
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • paprika

The method: green chili mac2

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain and rinse well.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour and pepper until well blended and bubbly. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in salsa, chile peppers, and cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Taste and add salt, as needed. Combine with the drained macaroni; stir in cilantro, if using. Spoon into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Triple Smoky Mac ‘n’ Cheese and More Football Food!

Well, it’s football season folks! As a vegetarian, it’s a lot of fun to get crafty in order to entertain your man-friend and a couple of his buddies. Nick wanted to entertain a group of his friends for the UofA game that was on Saturday night. I went to ASU myself, so I had to put my “big girl” pants on and buck up and cheer on the Wildcats while flipping back and forth to the Sun Devil game. Both teams won, thankfully – but I don’t think I‘ll be able to stay so neutral for the ASU vs. Arizona game come November. Get your claws out, Jorgenson…

We decided on grilling some burgers, and preparing mac n’ cheese and a salad for side dishes. I left Nick to grill while I prepared the side dishes. The boys has savory beef patties and Nick grilled up a nice Gardein burger for me J.

I felt the urge to impress Nick’s friends since one of them had just come back from Mongolia (figured he wanted some traditional cheesy and yummy tailgating food), and I was in a room full of UofA boys. I’m sure most people are aware of the rivalry between ASU and UofA… so the chances of a roast were very high. I couldn’t just make typical mac n’ cheese, so I opted for what I like to call Triple Smoky Mac n’ Cheese. As for the salad – I went with Alicia Silverstone’s Sexy Inspired Salad.

I want to give a big shout-out to Dave for chopping an avocado like a champ. I’m serious – dude’s got mad skills.

I’m hoping the yum-factor of the side dishes wiped their memory clear of the fact that I am a Sun Devil (and proud of it)!

Triple Smoky Mac ‘n’ Cheese

The Ingredients:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (I used shells because thats what I had on hand)
  • 6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • Half an onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced, or
  • 1⁄4 cup Frontera brand chipotle salsa
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 8 ounces smoked cheddar, grated, or substitute regular cheddar if you can’t find smoked cheddar
  • 8 ounces smoked mozzarella, grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 cups Homemade Bread Crumbs made with 2 cloves minced garlic added. Recipe in the book.

The Method:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil pasta according to package directions, draining when it is just becoming al dente. This will bake more in the oven, so don’t overcook it. Drain, transfer it to a bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the butter.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

3. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk pretty constantly for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Add the onion, smoked paprika, rosemary, chipotle, oregano, and nutmeg. Bring to a gentle simmer and keep cooking, whisking occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the grated cheeses, a handful at a time, stirring each addition of cheese until melted. It is important to do this gradually, to avoid graininess.

5. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your preference. It will probably need just a little salt, depending on the cheeses. Add more chipotle if you’d like it hotter. Remember that the sauce should be pretty intense, because it needs to flavor a full pound of pasta.

6. Stir the macaroni into the sauce. Pour the pasta into the baking dish. Scatter the bread crumbs evenly over the top.

7. Bake until you can see bubbling around the sides and the bread crumbs are nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Let the dish rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Alicia’s Sexy Inspired Salad

The Ingredients:

  • Fresh salad greens such as red leaf, butter lettuce, or romaine (I used Romaine)
  • 1 small handful of arugula
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/2-1 heirloom tomato (optional but nice)
  • 1/2-1/4 medium cucumber, chopped into bite size pieces (peel only if the cucumber is not organic)
  • 4 dandelion greens (optional, but good for you)
  • 1/2 carrot, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 3-4 chopped fresh basil sprigs
  • 4-5 chopped fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon hemp seeds (optional)

Dressing

  • 2.5 tablespoons truffle-infused olive or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • juice 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated vegan Parmesan cheese

The Method:

  1. Add all the dressing ingredients together and whisk together.
  2. Get a big salad bowl that makes you happy with a lot of room to toss and play. Wash, tear and throw in the lettuce. Add the arugula, avocado, tomato and cucumber. Top with the dandelion greens, carrot shavings, and herbs. Toss with dressing and sprinkle with the hemp and sunflower seeds.

Quinoa “Mac n’ Cheese”

image

I LOVE quinoa. Nick hates it. Well – hate is a strong word, so let’s just say it’s not his “favorite.” My cooking mantra is: If it doesn’t taste good, put cheese on it.  Most of the time, this mantra works… especially in this case. If you love mac n’ cheese but want to make it a little healthier by adding protein and cutting carbs, then this recipe is for you. I paired it with some savory grilled tofu (Nick made chicken with the same marinade) and my Crispy Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts. TDF.

Quinoa “Mac n’ Cheese” Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • good pinch of salt
  • a few grinds of seasoning salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk or non-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling
  • 4 oz smoked mozzarella, cubed
  • Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping
  • Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions

The Method:

  1. Lightly saute garlic and shallot over medium heat.
  2. Cook quinoa to packaged instructions until fully cooked. (About 15 minutes)
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13×9 inch dish( or 8 individual ramekins) with cooking spray.Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko Crumbs or Bread crumbs add now and bake 30-35 mins, until bread crumbs are browned.

Grilled Tofu Ingredients:

  • Extra-firm tofu, sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

The Method:

  1. Remove tofu from package and drain. Meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients together in a shallow bowl.
  2. After the tofu is done draining, slice into 3/4 inch thick strips.
  3. Place slices in the marinade and allow to site for at least 10 minutes.
  4. While the tofu is marinading, heat an indoor grill pan (or outdoor grill) to medium heat.
  5. Grill tofu for 3 minutes on each side.

ENJOY!