Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. If you buy the cheese and pasta on sale, it actually costs less per serving than packaged noodles with cheese powder, cooks almost as quickly, tastes better and is a lot better for you.

2 – 3 C. pasta (macaroni, rotini, shells, etc.)
2 – 3 T. cooking oil
1 C. cold water
2 – 4 T. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. ketchup
1/4 pound cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the pasta until almost tender, drain. Put a little cooking oil in the pot, add the pasta and toss to coat. Put the cold water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper with a little more cool water in a jar, mix in the ketchup, and add this mixture to the boiling water. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until thickened, add grated cheese (reserve some for the topping) and stir constantly until cheese has melted – don’t let the sauce burn! Stir most of the cheese sauce into the pasta to coat it evenly. Place pasta in a baking dish (glass is best) pour the rest of the cheese sauce over the top, sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 20 – 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Hints: Use good olive oil or margarine to coat the pasta if you have it. Using fancy pasta like rotini, fusili or shells gives that “gourmet touch” for the same money (but most kids just love old fashioned macaroni).
Suggestions: Mix chopped tomatoes, green pepper, frozen vegetables into the pasta mix before placing in baking dish. Double the recipe and freeze individual or family portions for quick meals on busy nights.

Advertisements

Creamy Gourmet Pasta & Garlic Bread

Creamy Gourmet Pasta

I like “retrofitting” low fat recipes. This one became an instant family favorite, it’s so easy to make and soooo good to eat. We found it by looking for something to make with some cottage cheese that was getting close to its due date.

Cooked pasta for 4 (spaghetti, linguine, shells or what you’ve got)

Olive oil for sautéeing

1-3 Tablespoon chopped fresh garlic, or to taste

1 C. diced tomatoes with their juice – fresh, canned, frozen

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (1-2 t. fresh), other herbs to taste

Salt & pepper to taste

1 C. cottage cheese (1/2 of a small container)

3 T. Parmesan cheese

1/4 C. water

While the pasta is cooking, gently sauté the garlic in the olive oil a frying pan, add the tomatoes, cook for a few minutes, then add the herbs.

Blend together the cottage cheese, parmesan and water (in a blender or stirring it with a fork) until nice and creamy. Add the cheese mixture to the cooked pasta, mix well, add the tomato mixture, mix well, serve portions sprinkled with cheese, enjoy!! Very nice with “Quick’n’Easy Garlic Bread” (see below)

Suggestions: This recipe is one that can be adapted to whatever you’ve got. Omit the tomatoes, add more garlic, sliced olives, sausage bits, cooking wine and so on.

Add vegetables like spinach, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms and you’ve got a nice “primavera” style dish. Use feta cheese for a Greek touch, cheddar for a farm-style meal.

Vegan option: replace the cheeses with fresh tofu blended with nutritional “cheesy” yeast, water or broth, salt, garlic and herbs.

~

“Quick’n’Easy Garlic Bread”

In a small bowl or cup, use a fork to mix softened margarine or butter with garlic powder and salt to taste.

Spread it thick or thin on sliced bread, rolls, buns – toast it under the broiler, in a toaster oven, on the barbeque or over a campfire!

Gourmet garlic lovers tip: Make a paste with crushed fresh garlic, olive oil and salt to taste and spread as above.