Tag Archives: mac and cheese

My First Race + Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese

26 Jun

I recently participated in my first ever 5k race! This is a big deal for me, and I’ll explain why.

My First Race + Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Up until January of this year, I never ran. Ever. Zumba, yoga, weight lifting, walking…those were my exercises of choice. I did not WANT to run, but more importantly, I did not THINK I could run. It sounded scary: I’d hurt myself, look stupid, or just plain fail. In elementary school when we were forced to run “the mile,” I’d always finish last, huffing and puffing and bright red in the face.

But something got me onto a treadmill in January (a machine I previously loathed). I tried it out – admittedly there was more walking than running at first. I still didn’t enjoy it, but also didn’t quit. I had no idea what I was doing – I knew nothing of form, appropriate pace or use of inclines. I slowly increased my distance, while also trying to increase speed.

There was finally a day nice enough to run outside, which was a totally different experience than being in the gym. By this point, I began not only enjoying the sport, but also looking forward to the day’s run. I’d diligently check the weather forecast, and realized I was bummed whenever conditions were not nice enough for an outdoor run, forcing me back to the gym.

Then I signed up for a 5k. The Summerfest Big Gig 5k. By now, I had become accustomed to running outside and taking different routes. I learned it’s best to mix it up when training, or your body becomes complacent.

The experience was something brand new to me! It was cold and rainy for a June morning…not ideal and certainly nothing I had chosen to run in before. I didn’t know exactly where the start line was and quickly became nervous as the race start neared. Chris came with to watch (thankfully) so I wasn’t totally alone. Well, with 1400 people running a total of three races in this event, there’s no way I could be alone. I took my place at the starting corral, waited for the signal to begin, and was off!

The run was a hard one for me. The route was rather flat, but with all the newness of this experience, I felt figuratively lost. I didn’t have my best time. I didn’t run for the entire distance. I didn’t have a smile pasted to my face for the whole 3.1 miles. But I did enjoy it: the challenge of something new, the obstacle of crappy weather, and being surrounded by complete strangers all looking to achieve the same end. I did the best I could and was damn proud when I crossed the finish line.
My First Race + Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I want to now train for a half marathon on November 1, sprinkled with another 5k and 10k in between. This is a challenge I want to conquer, so here’s to more running! If you have any tips, tricks, or words of encouragement, I’d greatly appreciate it! As singular a sport as running is, I need all the help I can get 🙂

So, onto a tasty recipe. This Mac & Cheese is loaded with all things healthy! Tons of veggies, healthy pasta, and a sauce made primarily from Greek yogurt and milk, this dish is only made better with the addition of some cheese. It’s a perfect dinner post-race, or any day of your busy week.
Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Use whatever veggies you have on hand. The cheeses don’t have to be Edam and aged cheddar, but I do suggest you use a combination of mild and sharp flavors. The creaminess of the Edam adds to the texture of the mac overall, while the sharpness of the cheddar gives it an insane flavor punch – without using too much!

Southwestern Veggie Mac and Cheese
Serves 6

  • 12 oz whole wheat or other healthy rotini or penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 C plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 C skim or nondairy milk
  • 6 oz Edam cheese, cubed
  • 2 oz aged cheddar cheese, cubed (I prefer 5-year aged)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 glass casserole dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return cooked pasta back to the pot. Set aside.

While pasta cooks, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high and saute all the veggies and black beans, 7-10 minutes.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Combine yogurt, milk, cubed cheeses and spices into a blender. Puree until smooth. This will essentially create a cheese milkshake, which is the texture you’re looking for (gross, right?). Taste it and adjust seasoning as desired.

Once veggies are sauteed, add them to the cooked & drained pasta. Pour the prepared sauce on top and stir to coat everything. Stir in the raw chopped tomatoes.

Transfer mac and cheese to prepared glass pan. Spread out evenly. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.

Buffalo Wing Cheddar Beer Mac and Cheese

18 Feb

Wings seem like a culture around here…the spicier, the sweeter, the weirder…it’s a constant one-up game among restaurants and pubs. And it’s a trend I’ve never cared for – vegetarian or not!

That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m opposed to the flavor profiles that make up wings – hot, spicy glazes paired with creamy cool dipping sauces, and a side of raw veggies. So I transformed it into a mac & cheese dish!

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Cabot Creamery makes an amazing Buffalo Wing cheddar cheese – it’s hand-rubbed with all the spices. When shredded and added to a creamy low-fat base, with a hit of extra hot sauce, this mac & cheese will warm you up on these cold February nights. And it’s vegetarian! And has beer baked right in!

Whip up this quick meal tonight and please the whole family. Bonus: it’s great reheated too.

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Buffalo Wing Cheddar Beer Mac & Cheese
Serves 8

  • 1 lb whole wheat penne pasta (I actually used leftovers from three types of pasta)
  • 1 8oz block of Cabot Buffalo Wing Cheddar Cheese, shredded in a food processor
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 C nondairy or skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp hot sauce or wing sauce
  • 12 oz wheat or pale ale beer (I used Finch’s Wet Hot American Wheat)
  • 3 tbsp Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13″ glass dish.

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions.

Shred the cheese in the food processor. Cut the block into 8 cubes, and shred half at a time. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In the same food processor, combine chopped onion, yogurt, milk, spices and hot sauce. Puree until smooth.

Drain pasta and return to its pot. Add the shredded cheese and pureed sauce. Mix well to combine. Mix in the beer. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the pasta, then sprinkle on the paprika.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes out of the oven, then serve and enjoy!

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Chipotle Cheddar Mac and Cheese

28 Jan

Disclaimer: By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Winter is the perfect time for something warm, spicy, and cheesy. And what better way to achieve that than with a homemade mac & cheese?

Chipotle Cheddar Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

This recipe combines the goodness of whole wheat pasta, the dairy of real cheddar cheese, and the spice power of chipotle peppers. Believe it or not, hot peppers can actually influence how much you eat! Studies show that after consuming hot peppers, you eat less. Not too shabby.

Chipotle Cheddar Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

What’s even better, is that this feeds a crowd! Make it for game day and keep all your guests happy and healthy – certainly better than munching on potato chips for 4 hours!

Chipotle Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Serves 8

  • 1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 C nondairy or skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 6-7 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 8oz block of Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded in a food processor
  • 3 tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 1 oz Cabot Alpine Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13″ glass dish.

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions.

Shred the cheese in the food processor. Cut the block into 8 cubes, and shred half at a time. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In the same food processor, combine chopped onion, garlic, yogurt, milk, spices and chipotle peppers. Puree until smooth.

Drain pasta and return to its pot. Add the shredded cheese and pureed sauce. Mix well to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the panko, shredded Alpine cheese, and olive oil until breadcrumbs are moistened through. Sprinkle this over the pasta.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes out of the oven, then serve and enjoy!

Chipotle Cheddar Mac and Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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