All Natural Food Finds
Pasta Joy Brown Rice Pasta, Homemade Mac and Cheese
These days it is not always the healthiest choice to eat regular pasta, and wheat pasta can not only taste pretty bland, or if you don't buy a really good brand it can taste pretty awful. Then there is texture, which makes all the difference in whether or not you find a food appetizing. My best friend Liz had her mouth wired shut once, and I tried the same dinner I was eating in her pureed variety she had to eat, and it tasted NOTHING like the amazing dinner I just had. Texture does matter.
I tend to like a smaller pasta like an elbow or spiral, which I think also helps with the texture issue. I tried this brand when I found it in the natural food section of Stop & Shop, and they also carry it where I normally shop (Super Natural). No doubt it is in your local market, Whole Foods, etc. As you can see, it is made to be a good texture, al dente and not mushy. It also has a taste more like traditional pasta, which is definitely a plus when you are trying to eat healthier and not piling on so many toppings you can't even taste the pasta.
A few variations I like is an all natural pasta sauce and parmesan cheese, I also love to make goulash with it. Or I will take some garlic and other spices and add that to some Katie's butter and lightly toss my pasta in that.
Now here is my recipe for quick, easy, and delicious homemade mac and cheese. I don't really measure anything, so just wing it!
In a sauce pan add 1-2 tbsp of butter. Next, once the butter is melted, you need to add in a spoonful of flour and mix them together. Turn the heat up and start pouring in a couple of cups of milk. Do this slowly and whisk the roux (a fancy name for that butter and flour mixture) and milk together. Do this slowly and soon you should have yourself a thick white sauce. At the point I usually add pepper and crack in some pink Himalayan Sea Salt. Now, I have to tell you, this girl likes her cheese. It is probably the only food that I simply can't live without. Certain cheeses produce more flavorful mac and cheese, such as a nice sharp cheddar. The last batch of mac and cheese I had, had about a half a cup each of sharp cheddar, Mexican 4-cheese blend, mozzarella, and a 3-cheese cheddar blend. It was amazing. So after your white sauce has thickened up, you slowly start adding in your cheese. I use shredded as it melts easy, but you certainly could use chunks, etc., it will just take longer to melt into the sauce. Stir in all your cheese until everything is well mixed.
This is where you have a couple of choices on how to proceed. You can either 3/4 way cook your pasta, then drain and mix with your sauce. Put it in a casserole dish and top with bread crumbs (I use a mix of panko and Italian) and put it in the oven at 350 for maybe 10 minutes until it browns up a bit. My mom always crushed up Ritz crackers when I was a kid. The other option is just to mix your pasta (fully cooked) and cheese sauce and dig in. Another fun option for baking would be to use your cupcake tin and make yourself some mac and cheese balls (bites). And if you have little ones who like their hot dogs cut up into pieces and mixed with their mac and cheese, making them in the cupcake tins would be a super fun way to eat their hot dogs and mac and cheese.