Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quinoa/Corn Pasta Healthy Stove Top Mac n' Cheese

Hi Shine and Sparkle Report Readers!

Today I have a super awesome and really healthy recipe I have adapted to make me feel much less guilty about one of my favorite foods.  Mac n' Cheese! Those of you who follow me on facebook/instagram/twitter will have seen these pictures before this recipe was up.  Oh, now you want to follow me on other social media? Go right ahead!

Quick Note: Quinoa/Corn Pasta (I use Ancient Harvest Elbows)* is great and won't leave you missing regular pasta at all!  Just make sure to only cook it for about 5 minutes (not the 6-8 recommended) or else your meal will be mush.

The "extras" in this picture of my Mac n' Cheese that is copyright of myself are all natural nitrate and preservative free ham and organic frozen peas.  If you'd like to use this image, please ask first.  Thanks!

Quinoa/Corn Pasta Healthy Stove Top Mac n' Cheese

1 pound Quinoa/Corn Pasta---This will be 2 boxes if you get the Ancient Harvest Elbows.
1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk---I use this because the Almond Breeze's Original Unsweetened Almond Milk, is only 30 calories a cup!
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour---I have not tried to substitute this, it's only 2 tbs.
2-3 cups Lite Cheese (shredded)---I suggest getting block lite sharp cheese in block form and shred it yourself.  The additives in shredded lite cheese are not so great.  Also, sharp cheese will pack more flavor for less cheese. My favorite is "Lite Celtic Sharp Cheddar" from Trader Joes.
1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon of Pepper
Suggestion of Extras (cook before adding): ham, peas, broccoli, bacon, cayenne pepper for spice...anything!

1. Make Pasta--Prepare the pasta according to directions on box (only 5 minutes if using Ancient Harvest Elbows). When the pasta is done cooking, set it aside. Mini-Tip: It will not seem done at all.  Alternative pastas are very sensitive to heat, and the residual heat will finish cooking the pasta when you are making the sauce. 

2. Make Cheese Sauce--Begin by warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps (NO LUMPS IS KEY!) When you start to see steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens (about 3 minutes).

3. Add the Cheese--Turn the heat down to low (or completely off if you are using an electric stove) and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the thickened milk. Stir in the salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted. Adjust the seasonings to your taste buds.

4. Combine the Pasta, Extras, and Cheese Sauce: Combine the pasta, extras, and the cheese sauce. Stir until everything is well combined.

I hoped you enjoyed this easy and healthy comfort food recipe! Feel free to leave any comments or questions below.  I'll impart any useful cooking tips you might need!

Shine & Sparkle!

*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions. Also, I'm not a professional chef, just a cooking enthusiast!

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