Old Comforts

Nearly four years ago (yikes, I can’t believe it’s been that long) I joined Weight Watchers for (what I thought) would be the last time. Before I joined, I rarely cooked. As much as I love cooking now, I had a TINY kitchen and a great pizza place down the street so I never did it.

Then all of a sudden, I was limiting myself to a healthy number of calories, eating tons of vegetables, and buying hard to find items like whole wheat pasta and bulgur wheat, and cooking every couple days and eating leftovers on the off days.

I was lucky enough to have my friend Meghan at my side (ok, virtually at my side, she was almost 200 miles away but only an email away) and she sent me the first recipe I was actually dying to try. Why? Well, it was something that didn’t sound like it could be made healthily. I tried it not long after she did, and I was hooked. What was this glorious concoction?

Stove-top Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes. We’d healthified this recipe, subbing the pasta for whole wheat, the evaporated milk for fat free, the cheddar for fat free, used a real egg, and nixed the breadcrumbs. Ok, so we modified a lot. Over the last few years, I’ve made this a few times, and even blogged it! My picture sucked though.

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Tonight, I really really REALLY wanted pasta, and my gut could’ve done with the healthy dose of fiber included in my favorite whole wheat pasta, so I went for it. And I tweaked the recipe so that it is now, as close to perfect as a healthy macaroni and cheese can be. Granted yes, fat free cheese is super-processed, but I’ll take it. Without further adeiu, I bring you:

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes: Edition 2010.
Ingredients
1 lb. whole wheat pasta, cooked and kept hot
1.5 c. fat free sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can (12 oz) fat free evaporated milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp. olive oil
*optional mix in* 4 slices center-cut bacon, diced, cooked and drained

Directions
Heat oven to 425 and place the halved tomatoes on a baking pan. Roast until lightly browned and kind of collapsed. Remove and set aside. In a large pot, mix together the pasta, milk, cheese, and egg, keeping on a low heat. Once all is melted and well mixed, add in the spices and bacon (if you’re using it) and top with roasted tomatoes. Serve immediately.

Please to enjoy my multitude of pictures:

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OK, I’ll stop at 3. I was amazed as to the depth of flavor the roasting brought out in the tomatoes, and the black pepper, cayenne, and bacon were well, delicious. For those of you who don’t like using the highly-processed fat free cheese, this recipe works just as well with the full-fat versions of all ingredients as well. It’s easily made vegetarian without the optional bacon, and vegan with soy or almond milk and dairy-free cheese. I’ve made it all those ways and its fantastic! If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

It’s still lovely outside, birds are singing, and the cats seem annoyed that their rays of sunshine have moved onto the walls… so I’m off to entertain them! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

P.S. A very happy 2nd Blogiversary to my good friend Jenn at EatingBender! I can’t imagine blogging without you 🙂

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19 Responses to Old Comforts

  1. lo necesito. en la boca. ahora.
    .-= Sarah @ THE FOODIE DIARIES´s last blog ..When It Rains… =-.

  2. Lauren says:

    Glad its working for you hun. And by the looks of that Mac and Cheese, I’d say it would work for anyone! 🙂

    Keep strong my love! 🙂
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Recovering =-.

  3. Mac and cheese!!! That is my favorite of all time.

  4. That looks wonderful, Mara! With my horror-mones this week, I really want comfort foods. I have all of the ingredients to make this… I should, I really should. 😀

    Jenn
    .-= Jenn (www.j3nn.net)´s last blog ..Greedy With The Greens =-.

  5. I want to make that for dinner. I absolutely adore mac & cheese with bacon and tomatoes. It gives it so much flavor.
    .-= Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)´s last blog ..Inspiration. =-.

  6. sophia says:

    Um, hello? More pics please?! lol, it looks gorgeous! Well, as pretty as mac & cheese can be anyway!

  7. Melissa S. says:

    wow, that looks AMAZING! I need to come to chicago to see you and jenn. now!
    .-= Melissa S.´s last blog ..Wish For Time… =-.

  8. Spiceaholic says:

    Wow, great job! I see you’re having fun with your new camera? 🙂
    .-= Spiceaholic´s last blog ..Kroger gift-card winner! =-.

  9. Well you have out-done yourself Mara…that looks deelish!!
    .-= Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly´s last blog ..A Confession =-.

  10. Amy says:

    This.looks.delicious. OMG I can’t wait to make this, it doesn’t even look CLOSE to healthy, but I’ll take your word for it! Thank you for sharing.

  11. Looks amazing! I love that you roasted the tomatoes, what a great idea! I’ve done that before to make a tomato dressing and it turned out fab. The pictures look great and now I want some cheese!
    .-= Andrea (Off Her Cork)´s last blog ..McConnell Heart Health Center: Healthy Escapes Weekend =-.

  12. janetha says:

    mmmm that looks SO delicious! love the color the tomatoes add.
    .-= janetha´s last blog ..the start of something new. =-.

  13. Simply Life says:

    Great looking meal!
    .-= Simply Life´s last blog ..Dreamy Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies! =-.

  14. Hey Girl –

    I just found your blog off of another blogger’s site and I want you to know how impressed I am. As a former Weight Watcher follower, I totally understand the comfort of following the program. Good for you for realizing what work for you! Your dinner looks delish! Keep up the good work!

  15. YUMMMM I wish I could eat mac and cheese because I would make this in a second! I usually make a vegan version….but honestly, not as good 🙁

    XXOO

  16. Mae says:

    The photos are beautiful this time around!! 😉 (it was cute last time too.) What is your fav. brand of WW pasta?

  17. Jackie says:

    Mmmmm, sounds delicious. I think I eat pasta about 30% of the time. And the new pictures look pretty awesome!
    .-= Jackie´s last blog ..Caramelized onion and cauliflower tart =-.

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