I don’t know about you but this winter as me craving comfort food like nobody’s business. All things creamy, decadent, savory, and sure to put a person in a food coma.
I consider myself a healthy eater but I’m learning that when a craving hits for something like mac and cheese, it’s better to just indulge (within reason) and let myself savor every bite.
I also like to make some subtle but healthier changes like sneak veggies in my mac and cheese and use whole wheat noodles. #fiberforlife
I also like throwing out hashtags at random.
I called this “easy” baked mac and cheese because there is no cheese sauce making required. Thaaat’s right, no melting of butter, whisking in of flour, adding in of milk, thickening of sauce, and melting of cheese. But don’t worry, you won’t lose that cheesy comfort you know and love.
Easy Baked Mac & Cheese; adapted from Whole Foods
1/2 lb (8 oz.) elbow macaroni (I used whole-wheat)
12 slices cheese of choice (I found gouda slices and used those bc that’s my hubby’s fave and it gives this dish great flavor. I also think that pepper jack would be really great or a smoked cheddar, yum!)
1/4 c. finely diced onion
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can peas, rinsed or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 c. milk (I used almond milk and it worked fine.)
a good pinch of pepper
crackers, crushed for crumb topping
1 T. butter, cut in small pieces
The Prep: Preheat the oven to 350° and butter an 8 or 9 inch pan. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. There should still be a slight firmness to the pasta which will finish cooking in the oven. Drain the pasta and add to a large bowl. Add the onion, celery, garlic, peas, bread crumbs, and milk. Stir until combined. Spoon a layer of the pasta & veggies into the bottom of the 8 or 9 inch pan. Then cover evenly with four slices of cheese. Continue layering (I had three layers) until the pan is full. Spread the crushed crackers over the last layer of cheese and dot with butter. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated all the way through.