Thursday, January 14, 2016

Quick Mac n Cheese

Anybody who believes that those of us who follow sustainable living practices never have junk cravings is completely wrong.

Last week, I had a craving; it was for boxed mac n cheese.  Look, it's cold outside, and I grew up on boxed mac.  It is the ultimate comfort food for me.

But, once I'd indulged in a box, I remembered that I really care more about my health than I do some preservative- and GMO-laden processed food, so I set out to create a substitute that was still comfort food but was made with better ingredients.

This version of mac n cheese is a bit more agressively-flavored, thanks to the use of sharp cheddar and dried mustard; you can swap out mild cheddar if you prefer and alter the amount of mustard you use.  For me, this is just the right blend, preserving the creamy mouth-feel of the boxed original with a slightly-more-adult flavor profile.

Quick Mac n Cheese
1 lb organic pasta (I used penne, but you can obviously use elbows)
1 1/2 cup half and half (from cows not treated with growth hormones)
12 oz shredded sharp cheddar (same as above)
2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp salt

Boil pasta; drain and keep warm.  Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients and stir constantly until cheese is melted.  Fold in pasta and cover completely.  Serve just with some simple salt and cracked pepper to taste.

The Analysis

Fast:  This took just slightly longer than the boxed version, at about 20 minutes of prep time.  Still plenty fast for a work night dinner.

Cheap:  Not as cheap as the boxed stuff, but my insistence on organic ingredients helps me be sure I'm avoiding any residual growth hormones or exposure to glyphosate (Roundup).

Good;  I'm prepared to declare this the equal of any childhood favorite.  Therefore, I've made an important substitution that is healthier through the use of cleaner ingredients.
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