I have decided to start a "My Pantry Must Haves" page. Which includes my pantry musts. Things I always have on hand-- so that anytime I want to make something-- even random things I may stumble on-- chances are I already have the ingredients and don't need to run to the grocery store. And when I run out, I always make sure to replace it right away! Check it out. Let me know what you think and if maybe I left out something important. I definitely plan on adding to it, because chances are I forgot something.
I have really enjoyed my second half of summer. Since I started undergrad, I have not had a summer off since September 2004! So I really needed the time off and even though I had a few meetings and appointments-- it was so nice. I got to spend time with Ninja, cleaning, cooking, baking and being a stay-at-home wifey. I would love to be a stay-at-home mom one day and so this little "trial" time was great! Definitely just made me want to be a stay-at-home mom, baker, clinical psychologist ;) Those exist right?!? Though, I think the hubby loved it more than me. Although he is such a sweetheart and is so helpful when I get busy with school; I think he loves having the time off--coming home to a clean house, warm meal and dessert!
This recipe for roasted mac n' cheese was one of the dishes I made for the potluck-game night that I had on Tuesday night that was Luke edible. I love me some meat, and so there are few vegetarian dishes that I really enjoy, but I very much enjoyed this recipe. Let's be honest, who does not love mac n' cheese? Combine that with some roasted, fresh summer veggies-- you get an awesome dish-- a creative twist to mac n' cheese. Plus, the panko crumbs adds a great crunch. Luke gave it the vegetarian, thumbs up! :) And took some for leftovers-- this recipe is a little more complicated than other recipes that I post, but let's be honest it looks beautiful and is amazingly delish. So well worth your time.
Preheat Oven to 400F Degrees
1- (8-10 oz) frozen, microwavable bag of broccoli florets
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow squash, sliced into medallions
10 baby carrots, sliced
2 c. of elbow macaroni
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. + 1 tsp. flour
1 1/2 c. heavy cream (milk)
2 c. shredded yellow cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
In a large pot of salted boiling water-- cook pasta according to package directions. Drain excess water and run cold water through pasta to prevent sticking. Keep pasta in colander. Do not return to pot.
While pasta is cooking, microwave broccoli according to package directions minus 1 minute. Allow to cool. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a baking mat. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and brush red pepper, squash and carrots with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes Then add broccoli (drained if there is moisture) to the baking sheet. Continue baking for 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables have softened slightly. Remove from oven and set aside.
After pasta is cooked, use the large pot to heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, saute garlic and red pepper flakes until garlic is browned and fragrant. Do not over cook, as this will burn the garlic. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in heavy cream, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened. This can take some time, approximately 10-15 minutes-- but it will thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in shredded cheese until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in macaroni and vegetables.
Turn oven to broiler setting. Grease a large (9x11 or 9x13 inch) casserole dish. Spread mac n' cheese in casserole dish and sprinkle panko breadcrumbs on top to completely cover. Place under the broiler in oven for 1-2 minutes, until the top is slightly browned.