Sunday, October 28, 2007


Chipotle macaroni and cheese (recipe in the comments)
Salad with balsamic and bacon dressing

Orange chocolate cake (leftover from breakfast!)
Hot tea (variety of flavors for various participants)
Michael and I both love comfort food and homemade macaroni and cheese is a favorite. That said, we are pretty health conscious. This recipe ranks as one of two macaroni and cheese recipes that we have adapted from Cooking Light magazine to become regular parts of our repertoire. Both are wonderfully delicious, a bit of a twist on the classic mac and cheese, and moderately good for you. I have to admit that we don't use reduced fat cheese (seems icky), so they're not as good for you as the magazine intended.

Prep Notes
Difficulty: Moderate
Chopping: Onion, bell pepper, chipotle peppers, garlic
Time: About 30 minutes + 30 minutes to cook
Make ahead: You can prep ingredients, but you should put them all together right before you bake.

J: "Spicy cheese and pasta - does life get any better?"
Mn: "Comfort food with zip!"
M: "Chipotle mac : mac 'n' cheese :: a real bagel : Lenders OR
Chipotle mac : mac 'n' cheese :: Starbucks : that bitter brown water my office calls "coffee" * OR
Chipotle mac : mac 'n' cheese :: Ben'n'Jerry's : Walmart brand ice cream **

*noting, of course, that there are many better kinds of coffee than
Starbucks, but you get it...
**does Walmart have their own ice cream? I don't know, but I wouldn't
be surprised. And I bet it's not good. Not good at all."


J said...

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese – Cooking Light
Serves 4

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon butter
1 T chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped + 1 t adobo sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese (non fat and full fat both work fine)
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook pasta. Drain.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped chiles, onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; add tomatoes. Cook 3 minutes or until thickened.

Add reserved 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, pasta, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, milk, Parmesan, and egg; stir to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Marcelle Manhattan said...

Awesome! I think I live on about five meals. The rest are purchased from McDonald's on 96th and Broadway.

I will be visiting often for inspiration, even though I can't cook. And I'll forward to all the foodies I know!

Can you two be my chefs when I'm famous?

J said...

Someone told me that if you can read, you can cook. We aren't the sort that just grabs a bunch of ingredients and cooks something new (at least not most of the time). We typically use recipes. As we've honed our skills and our taste, we have altered most recipes we make to suit us and created some from whole cloth. It's a process, but I firmly believe that anyone can cook :)

But in the mean time, McDonald's tastes pretty good :)

ron said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J said...

Sorry Ron, I accidentally deleted your comment when I was trying to edit another post. Here it is, copied from my email version!

Just for the record...
We also LOVE to eat, Love food, love entertaining and Love talking, thinking and sharing thoughts about food, flavors and the attendant drinks, brews and fermentations that food suggests.

Some time ago we realized that if we only had a handful of repeating meals that several bad things would happen.

1) our kids would seek elsewhere for satisfying fare (resulting in our loss of influence on the ones young enough to be influenced and a loss of the companionship of the older ones)
2) we would be come bored with eating at home, and like a member of any relationship, we, the responsible adults, would begin looking outside the relationship for satisfaction.

#2 is expensive in countless ways but the most harmful of them is that we would no longer want to eat together - a malady of modern times.

So many of our friends and our kids friends have never sat down together at meal time to share the day and "break the bread."

So in order to keep the members of our family from "cheating" on each other from lack of good food we adopted an active search for satisfaction and inspired inclusion.

We planned menus, encouraged the kids to participate. Assigned goals and generally took the attitude that if we had to eat it might as well be good, if not great, most nights.

On one occasion, a 12 or 14 year old Morgan ate over at a friend’s house. They served him Kraft mac and cheese and TV dinners or something like that. His exclamation of joy was "oh, thank you - I am so tired of Gourmet!"

I guess we succeeded.

I will write more about food later -

Bravo J and M. Let’s inspire a revolution of good taste at home. Next we can re-introduce critical thinking in schools and who knows; maybe responsibility will fall back into favor again sometime within our lifetime.

J said...

I agree, I agree, I agree! I think that the sacredness of "breaking the bread" is often forgotten in the face of the countless competing demands life throws our way.

I also think you bring up a critical point that relates to the "ten dinners" issue - that of planning. I don't think that M and I could eat so many different things if we didn't plan our meals each week. In fact, we have a tradition to do it. On Friday evenings we always have a dinner that is super easy to prepare. Once T goes to bed, M makes us each a cocktail and he cleans the kitchen while I sit at our kitchen table talking with him about menu ideas and writing our list. When it's done we have dinner. We both often get a bit tipsy before dinner arrives, but it's a nice kick off to the weekend. We then get up early on Saturday and hit the farmers market, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's before T's morning nap. It's a life and love sustaining tradition for us. I can't wait until T is older and he can have a kid cocktail and plan too!

Last, speaking of T, today he had the leftover chipotle mac and cheese for dinner and after a bit of shock at the spice level, he schnorked it down! What a great kid!