Guess what I finally have for you!!!!
1/2 cup gouda cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated [plus extra for topping!]
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
12 oz evaporated milk [or 1.5 cups of milk, half + half, etc… – plus extra – see below]
1/2-1 cup milk [separate from milk above]
2 cups of mini shells pasta [pasta size indicates cook style + time – see note below <3]
1 heaping cup of cooked/leftover veggies [or more!]
1/4 tsp garlic powder [plus extra to taste]
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt [plus more to taste]
a little sprinkle of [optional] mustard powder
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
note: The amount of milk and cheese needed may increase with noodle/macaroni size. If you’re using larger shells/noodles, par-boiling the pasta in water before adding to the milk will help them cook faster and more thoroughly. Even the medium shells might need to be partially boiled in water for a few minutes because they seem to soak up milk differently than the mini shells I used. I’ll try to re-test with larger shells and different pasta as time goes by to provide instructions for any substitutions you might need to make! Just let me know if there’s something you need me to test! Because the recipe was written using mini shells, less time was needed to cook the pasta. I’m always an email or tweet away if a random question pops up – don’t hesitate to ask!
why use freshly grated cheese? they have more flavor, better flavor, and zero sketchy additives
any combination you can dream up!
peas, carrots, broccoli spinach, kale, squash, onion, etc… if you like it — add it!
Enough of my rambling, let’s make some freaking mac and cheese! It’s uber easy and pretty darn quick too.
Once you get close to the 5-8 minute mark begin to stir constantly. Time will fly so stand over it and do a little mac and cheese dance if you have to. In about 10-15 minutes or so the noodles will be fully cooked [taste test to ensure noodles are perfect] and the milk will have thickened into a creamy sauce. The second it gets THICK, add anywhere from 1/8 to 1/4 cup of milk and turn heat to the lowest setting.
First add your gouda and stir. Then the cheddar and parm cheeses, followed by your veggies. Use the little bit of milk you have left over to adjust the sauce to your desired thickness and even add a little extra cheese to taste! I added a pinch of mustard powder [optional!] for a color/flavor boost as well as an extra pinch of garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed. Basically let your taste buds be your guide =) If anything it’s an excuse to shove a few spoonfuls in you mouth while you get the plates ready.
Stir in your steamed/cooked veggies after adding your cheeses and garnish with a sprinkle of parsley if desired. You can also top it with red pepper flakes for a pretty garnish that delivers a little kick of heat! I’ve even known people to break out the sriracha or hot sauce with their mac and cheese. Optional but highly addictive!
The veggie love doesn’t stop there — you can whip up confetti mac short-cut style with a box of all-natural macaroni and cheese [I love Annies brand] or even one of the all-natural or even vegan varieties that health food stores and larger grocery stores carry. Anything goes as long as you pile on those veggies! =)
Feeling fancy? I highly suggest pouring the pot-o-confetti-mac into a baking dish, topping it with cheddar, gouda, and crumbled buttery whole grain cracker crumbs and baking it casserole-style til it’s hot and bubbly. I may or may not be eating it like this while I type. To say I’m obsessed with it is putting it lightly. It’s AMAZING!
so… how was it?