Friday, April 5, 2013

#33 Linda McCartney's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I really, really wanted this to be good.  I'm totally inspired by Linda McCartney.  She was a pioneer in vegetarian cooking and did so much to make it mainstream.  I'm absolutely dying to try her products from her food line but sadly they are not available in North America.

I knew from reading this recipe that there weren't going to be any surprises but I somehow hoped that there was some magical about the recipe that I was missing and it would come together in an unexpected way.  That wasn't the case however.  I've made similar recipes to this using evaporated milk in place or regular milk and they turned out infinitely better.  The cheese didn't mix into the milk very well and the result was milky and tasteless with bits of melted cheese.  We all used plenty of salt and pepper to make our individual portions more tasty.

very basic ingredients

  some butter, breadcrumbs and Parmesan would have been nice on top

I used 1% milk, whole milk might have worked better

I won't be trying this again but I will gladly try some of Mrs. McCartney's Farmhouse Pies.

3/4 lb macaroni, uncooked
1 egg
2 c milk (I recommend whole or homogonized milk)
2 T butter
2 1/2 c Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly boil the macaroni for about 5 minutes until half cooked.

Whisk the egg and milk together in a large cup.  Melt the butter and add it, with the grated cheese, to the egg and milk.  Stir well.

Place the lightly cooked macaroni in a greased baking dish.  Pour the egg and cheese liquid over the macaroni, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir well.  Press the mixture evenly around the baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, until the top is brown.

Recipe adapted from Linda McCartney's Home Cooking

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#32 Macaroni and Cheese with Tofu

image via Moosewood

I was really looking forward to this one because the Moosewood cookbooks are my favourite.  Just about everything I have ever made has been delicious.  That said, I was slightly disappointed with how this turned out.  I think I can narrow down the culprits.  Number one, two teaspoons prepared mustard was too much.  I think if I were to make this again I would either make it one teaspoon of prepared or two teaspoons dijon which imparts a more delicate flavour.  This was also really yellow in colour which I think was due in part to the mustard and the tumeric.  I've seen tumeric added to macaroni and cheese in vegan recipes but not in dairy ones.

Secondly I just don't think there was enough cheese.  I think they purposely cut down on the amount to make the recipe fewer calories and "healthier" but even though I used a really sharp cheddar the flavour was completely masked by the mustard.  So, if the mustard was changed and maybe a half cup more cheese was added this could be great.

It wasn't really creamy but more dense similar to when mac and cheese is baked with an egg.  I think silken tofu is an excellent addition to beef up the protein content.  So the final verdict was okay but definitely would be better with a few minor tweaks.

12 oz (3 c) elbow noodles or similar

cheese sauce
12 oz low fat silken tofu
1/2 c low-fat (1%) milk
1/2 c nonfat plain yogurt
1 c grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, packed
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t pressed garlic cloves
2 t prepared yellow mustard
1/2 t salt, more to taste
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t tumeric
pinch of nutmeg

1/4 c minced onions
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/2 breadcrumbs (I used a mixture of whole wheat and panko) mixed with 1/4 c grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly brush or spray a 2-quart baking dish with oil.

Bring a large covered pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  When the water boils, stir in the pasta and return to a boil.  Cook until al dente (about 6 minutes).  Meawhile, in a food processor or blender, combine all of the Cheese Sauce ingredients and puree or pulse until smooth.  Add more salt to taste.

Drain the cooked pasta.  In a large bowl, mix together the pasta and cheese sauce.  Stir in the onions and parsley and spoon the pasta into the prepared baking dish.  Top with the bread crumb mixture.

Bake covered for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 5 minutes more.

We served this with a simple green salad for supper.  Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

This recipe runs at about 435 calories per serving and 11 Weight Watchers Points for those of you who are counting.

Monday, April 1, 2013

#31 Campbell's Easy Macaroni and Cheese

I'll admit that I was more than a bit trepidatious to try this recipe.  I haven't had very good experiences with cheese soup.  I remember finding a can in my aunt's house and my cousin and I heating it up for our lunch.  It wasn't exactly the melty bowl of cheese that I thought it would be.

Luckily I was pleasantly surprised with this. Even though the recipe consisted of little more than mixing a few cans and cups together it baked up nice.  The cheesy taste was mild and it was creamy without being too thick.  Green onions and tomatoes added a nice bit of flavour.  Tellingly the recipe didn't call for any salt and none was needed.

Even though this wasn't gourmet by any stretch the family loved it and I wouldn't hesitate to make it again.

recipe here