Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adventures in Mac & Cheese

FYI to NYC runners! Registration for the NYRR races through June is now open and the homepage says the Brooklyn Half is nearing capacity and they expect it to close today. So if you're planning to run it, go sign up HERE!

Alright, so I did it. Sunday I tried my hand at making Mark Bittman's mac & cheese recipe that's in the March issue of Runner's World. I've loved mac & cheese ever since I was mixing the Kraft stuff with my green peas at my parents kitchen table when I was like 5 years old. Now that I'm more conscious of what I eat and I understand how bad the stuff is for me, I have hardly had a bite of it in more years than I can count. So when I saw Mark Bittman's healthier version in Runner's World, I knew I had to try it out.

A few things were working against me, so my optimism levels were pretty low as it baked:
  1. I've never made mac & cheese from scratch
  2. We have a 3 cup food processor
  3. It turns out I'm bad at reading recipes (especially when written in paragraph form)
  4. Apparently when the oven light is turned on, the temperature decreases by 25'
The recipe isn't on the website yet, but it should be once the next issue of RW is out on newstands. But, I bet a lot of you already have this recipe sitting on your desk or night stand anyway!

I will tell you a few things:
  • I didn't use bay leaves in the veggie stock
  • It seemed like there was a lot of sauce, so I didn't use all of it (and I'm glad I made that decision)
  • Since I'm still not super experienced as a cook, I was a little confused by the "8oz whole wheat elbow pasta". I started by measuring out a cup of pasta and realized it could not be enough. So I measured out another cup, which was about half the bag, so that made a little more sense.
A few pictures from this adventure.

the base of the sauce is cauliflower

Our little food processor couldn't do the job,
so it was up to the blender

With homemade bread crumbs and grated Parmesan on top,
it's (finally) ready for the oven

Hot out of the oven!

Yes, I look exhausted, but it's done!
The mac & cheese set, was cooked through and was piping hot. You have to understand going into this, that this is not a super cheesy mac & cheese. The base of the sauce is cauliflower, so if you only love mac & cheese if it's made with a lb of cheese, this won't be for you. I did think that the pasta/sauce ratio was a little off, but overall it turned out really well and I'm proud of my first attempt at making this dish. Next time I'll be more sure about the amount of pasta, maybe add a little more and probably use a little less cauliflower. Oh, and I might add the bay leaves in too. But, I know it was a success because Woody asked if he could take some of the leftovers to work tomorrow for lunch! That reminds me. The recipe says it makes four servings, but we had this for dinner and now we're both on our second (and last) day of taking leftovers to work for lunch. So somehow I ended up with quite a bit more, or it makes really big servings.

If you don't know Mark Bittman, check out his website HERE and his RW blog HERE.
  • Are you a mac & cheese lover?
  • Does it remind you of childhood memories?
  • Do recipes written in paragraph form throw you off too?
Today's workout -
45min elliptical
100 crunches
2x40sec plank
3x10 leg press
3x10 upright row
3x10 hammer curl/squat combo
Tonight's workout -
heading back to Zumba!


Katie @ Health for the Whole Self said...

I've made a version of mac 'n' cheese with butternut squash before...maybe that will be your next endeavor? :)

Jen Feeny said...

I saw that in the mag and wondered if it would be any good!?!?! Great job taking up the task, if you can do it (not being an experienced cook) than surely I could maybe do it too right?!??! LOL!

Laura said...

I saw this recipe and was intrigued by it...but I always am with mac and cheese recipes and then just "ok" with them at the end.
I like Bittman but the last recipe I made of his out of RW was a total fail.

Christina said...

I love that this has cauliflower in it, it sounds like it could actually be really yummy!

Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) said...

I am a BIG fan of mac and cheese and I've had some success with subbing in cauliflower/butternut squash/pumpkin for the cheese. Gotta get in the veggies :)

Lisa said...

I had no idea mac & cheese could be made with butternut squash! I love that and will have to try sometime! Thanks for the tip ladies!

Julie D. said...

ooooh, thanks for making/reviewing this. Sounds like it's worth a shot. Nice job on your workout too!

Run Jess Run said...

I'm glad the mac and cheese turned out so well for you! I'll need to try that recipe.

gracekelle said...

This looks amazing. I'll have to check it out. And thanks for the tip about the oven light- I always leave mine on because I figure it's better to look at the food through the "window" rather than constantly opening the oven door.

Lisa said...

Gracekelle, that's exactly what I thought too! We just discovered how to turn it on not long ago and I had no idea it would change the temp. Kind of strange, right?!

Romantic Dinner Bruges said...

Yeah Really colorful and lovely cheese and i think very tested. i just try make its recipe .thanks for nice details shared ...

April said...

That looks great, nice work! Glad you're feeling better, too.