Much has occurred since my last post. Fortunately most of it good. Thought I would start off with a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. I'm alway searching for the right combination of food that is good for you and tastes good. Macaroni and cheese usually doesn't qualify to be in the good for you category! This recipe is "less" bad for you! You can also leave the cheese out and it makes a fabulous vegan dish (without nutritional yeast - yuk!). I made this last night and my husband said it was the best Mac and Cheese he has had! The sauce, either the vegan or with cheese added, would be great on broccoli, a topping for baked potatoes, or a vegan nacho dip (just add 1 tsp of chili powder (or more to taste) and 1/2 tsp of cumin). The possibilities are endless! So here is my version of delicious less bad for you......
Smokey Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese
1 1/2 cup peeled small diced orange sweet potato (sometimes referred to as yams but truly are sweet) *
1/2 cup of finely diced onion (approximately 1/2 of a medium sized onion)
1/2 cup of finely diced carrot (approximately) 1 medium sized carrot)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 cup of water (you could use stock but I find the dish has a lot of flavor with just water)
1/2 cup of raw cashews
1 generous teaspoon of dijon mustard
1/3 cup butter (or vegan margarine)
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of salt (I cook with only kosher or sea salt. I think
the type of salt makes a big difference in flavor)
Black pepper to taste
For the cheese version...1/2 heaping cup of grated smoked
cheddar and 1/2 heaping cup of swiss cheese. You can use
any combination of cheeses you have
1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (omit for vegan version)
12 ounces of dried pasta. You can use any shape but I like to
use a pasta that is a little more substantial than macaroni
because it will stay a little firmer once it is baked. Penne,
fusilli or bow tie pasta works great or a combination. This is
a good way to use up any of those small bits of dried pasta you have laying around. Just be careful to
look at the cooking times and add the pasta first that need more time cooking time.
Large pot of salted water.
>First soak the cashews in one cup of luke-warm water.
>Heat large pan with water and salt for cooking the pasta.
>Add olive oil to a medium pan and put on med-high heat.
>Saute potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Turn
the heat down if you need to. You don't want the vegetables to brown.
about 10-15 minutes
>This would be would time to cook your pasta. Cook for minutes 2 minutes less than the
recommended cooking time or until the pasta is still very al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of pasta
cooking water before you drain it. This will be used to thin the sauce if needed.
>Drain the water from the cashews and add the drained cashews to the vegetables.
>Add the butter or margarine, dijon mustard, cayenne and salt.
>Simmer for another 3 minutes to let the flavors mingle.
>Put everything in a blender. Start on low speed and then turn up to high. Blend to a smooth
consistency. You need to be careful anytime you blend hot ingredients. Place a dish towel over the
top of the blender and start slow.
>Once smooth, return to pan and simmer on low heat. If you are making the vegan version the sauce is
basically done. Thin with some pasta cooking water if too thick. Just add the pasta, topping and
>For the cheese version, add the smokey cheddar and swiss cheese and simmer stirring frequently until
the cheese is melted. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix together. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of the
pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
>I used a small Le Creuset pan that is oven safe but you can also put the macaroni and sauce into a
buttered baking dish.
> Sprinkle panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes just until
bubbly and the topping starts to brown.
> Serve and enjoy!
Here's a link with the low down on sweet potato vs. yams.