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.
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.
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
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.
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 🙂