Veggie Mac & Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite meals. It’s the ultimate comfort food.

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This recipe is easy and adaptable. As you can see in the picture, it’s got 2 different pastas! It’s penne! It’s shells! It’s madness! (It’s because I had a little bit of penne left and a little bit of shells left. Resourcefulness!) Clearly, I prefer penne or shells for mac & cheese (usually not at the same time), but elbows or chifferi (twirly elbows) are great choices, too.

It’s really easy to add veggies or meat to mac & cheese. I had some broccoli in the fridge, and I used a frozen veggie medley (Cascadian Farm with peas, carrots, and corn). It’s also really good with yellow squash. You can use whatever cheese you want. I usually 2 different types (cheddar and something else). This time, I used this new chipotle white cheddar and a sharp cheddar. The chipotle cheese was AMAZING. It added this really subtle kick and smokiness that I loved.

So without further ado:

Veggie Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 10 oz pasta*
  • 1/2 cup cleaned and chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 cup frozen veggie
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1 cup vegetable stock/broth (or low fat milk for a creamier version)
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup cheese (I used 1 cup chipotle white cheddar, 1/2 sharp cheddar)

*This isn’t quite a whole box–if you’re using a whole box, use 4 Tbs. butter, 4 Tbs. flour, 2 cups broth/milk, 2 cups cheese.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized pot, boil water. Add your pasta, and cook according to the box instructions. A few minutes before the pasta is done (when it’s soft enough to chew, but it’s still got a little crunch), add your vegetables. This will thaw them if frozen and cook them enough so that they’re soft. Drain.
  3. In the same pot you cooked the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender. While the onions cook, prepare a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour the pasta/veggie mix into the dish.
  4. Whisk in the flour, making a paste. Now slowly stir in the vegetable stock. Keep whisking so the roux gets thick. Season the roux with pepper (and salt, if you choose). Add your cheese, and whisk it all up, melting the cheese.
  5. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta, and give it a stir so everything is mixed nicely.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and bubbly around the edges.
  7. Enjoy!

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The Best Tomato Soup You’ll Ever Eat

This week’s recipe is not my own. In fact, I didn’t even make it. This one is all my mom, and it is AMAZING.

I haven’t had the best week, so my mom has been making my favorite comfort foods (because she’s awesome). Tonight, she made homemade tomato soup. I’ve always loved tomato soup and grilled cheese. It’s so simple and delicious. Her soup is based off of Rachael Ray’s creamy tomato soup recipe.

You need a blender or food processor for this recipe. My aunt Nancy thoughtfully gave me a HealthMaster blender, and it’s so easy to make soups with it (I’ll share my butternut squash soup soon). In fact, the only contribution I made to making this dinner was teaching my mom how to use the blender. 😉 

The Best Tomato Soup You’ll Ever Eat

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Ingredients

  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1  box of vegetable broth*
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • onion powder
  • dried basil
  • pepper

That’s it! My mom said it’s only marginally more difficult to make than a pre-made can of soup, and it tastes SO MUCH BETTER.

*You can use chicken broth instead of veggie. A lot of soups call for chicken broth, and the original recipe for this soup does, too. The cool thing about most of those soups, though, is the simple switch of chicken/beef broth to vegetable broth is all it takes to make it vegetarian.

Directions

  1. In  a large saucepan, combine the vegetable broth, tomatoes, and spices. (Add as much of the spices as you like, depending on your tastes.) Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Once it boils, lower the heat, and add the heavy cream. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until everything is incorporated, stir occasionally.
  3. Take the soup off the heat, and let it cool for a few minutes. (You don’t want to add anything to a blender or processor when it’s piping hot.)
  4. Pour the soup into your blender or food processor. The goal is to puree the soup so everything’s blended. In my blender, we decided to set the speed on 8 and blended for 90 seconds.
  5. Serve and gobble it up!

We had this soup with grilled cheese (did I mention how much I love grilled cheese?).  But really, what’s tomato soup without grilled cheese?

I hope you make this soup because it is fantastic. Let me know what you think.

All I know is, I’m already excited for leftovers tomorrow.