Bring on the grey; Bring on the comfort
I love macaroni and cheese! I don’t like Kraft except in a pinch – or maybe an inescapable vise. After a tough and busy week, I knew that having mac ‘n cheese would lift my spirits. It’s warm and easy. To save time, I make individual portions and freeze them. Since we are out of these emergency rations it’s a good time to share the recipe.
I have been making this recipe for almost a year. Each batch gets tweaked till I get things just right. The texture of this dish balances creamy and crunchy with just enough spicy kick to please my husband. One of my friends who does not like anything hot says that this is just right and that the spicy factor is not too much. She thinks that mild salsa is too hot.
This recipe incorporates a bag of thinly sliced kale, cabbage, swiss chard, spinach, and other seasonal green goodies that my farmer Susie creates in her Dark Greens Blend. The addition of greens allows my comfort food to participate in Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging which has roamed over to Pat at Up A Creek Without A PatL.
Dark Greens Blend can be mixed into any pasta mixture. It’s especially good in lasagna and lovely eaten raw as a salad. It also can sit in as a stir fry mix for those of us who are less into cabbage. It lasts for a week to two weeks in this state. Normally waiting for me to make a casserole of some sort.
Mac n Cheese
Inspired by Everyday Foods
Serves 10 people
Total Time: 1 hour
This recipe is to be frozen for up to three months before ice crystals form. Add pasta, cheese and bread depending on what is on hand. If you are not into hot sauce, you can omit but flavor may be a little flat and a bit more salt and pepper maybe needed.
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 lb small pasta, cooked and drained
- 4 T butter
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- ¼ c whole wheat flour
- 4 c milk
- 1/8 t cayenne pepper
- 1/8 t nutmeg
- 1 T Ring of Fire hot sauce - "Tomatillo & Roasted Garlic"
- 2 ½ c (10 -16 oz) shredded cheese
- 8 oz of cooked meat – diced into small pieces (optional)
- 10 oz of Dark Greens Blend (serves 8 if you don’t include)
- 2 slices wheat bread, coarse ground into breadcrumbs
- Cook the pasta and set aside. While you wait for the pasta, in a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook till soft, about 3-5 min. Whisk in flour to coat the onions.
- Pour in the milk while stirring to avoid lumps. Cook until thick and bubbly and mixture coats the spoon with which you are stirring, about 6 min.
- Stir in spices and hot sauce and add 2 cups of cheese. Season with 1 t salt and ¼ t pepper. Add the dark green blends and cook till wilty. Add pasta and ham (optional).
- Transfer to individual portions. Mine fits into 6 Ikea ramekins and a double portion bowl for that night. This should fit into ten 12-16 oz baking dishes or a 9 by 13 pan.
- Mix breadcrumbs and ½ c cheese. Top pasta with the mixture. Pressing in to stick.
- At this point freeze with plastic wrap on top (I recommend Press and Seal because it stays stuck and reduces freezer burn.)
- To cook fresh, preheat to 375 F and cook individual sizes 15-20 min or larger size 30 min.
- To cook frozen, remove from freezer and place directly into the oven while it is cold and turn oven on to 375 F and set timer for 1 hour and 15 min.