Um...yeah. I have no excuse for such a lame-o (cheesy) post-title. In fact, I give you full permission to unsubscribe from me post-haste for such an infraction on your sensibilities...except hear me out...because this is seriously the easiest, tastiest, thing I've ever managed to do with my left over pasta.
Every so often, I make pasta with meat sauce for dinner and since my husband and I don't eat that much, we end up with half of a container of pasta left over. I used to only make half a container but one day I wasn't thinking and tossed the whole shebang in the pot and then had to figure out what to do with the left overs.
Around that time, I had gone with Little G to a popular seafood restaurant here in Boston known for their kids menu and ordered him up some mac and cheese. It came and he scarfed it down and I was so impressed that he loved it so much that I decided to take a bite and all it took was one bite for me to realize that we had been duped and paid $4.00 for a small bowl of Kraft Mac and Cheese from a box...something I had promised never to feed our baby since it is as far away from a natural food as you can get.
I was convinced that now that Little G had tasted the promise land of Kraft Mac and Cheese (it's a gross food, but that doesn't mean it isn't deeeee-licious!!) he would never accept any other, re. better for him, type of mac and cheese as a substitute.
Thankfully, I was proven wrong when I made this mac and cheese from our left over pasta.
So...enough jabbering...here's how it works:
Spray the inside of a crock pot with cooking spray...not sure how big my crock pot is, but I am pretty sure it is one of the smaller ones out there:
Take your left over pasta - about half the box/bag - (we use organic, whole wheat which can be a tough texture but really cooks into a soft noodle in this recipe)...
...and put it in the crock pot.
Dice up one medium onion...
...and add it to the pot:
Now we're going to add one cup of whole milk and one cup of chicken stock...here's my secret...I never use the whole box of chicken stock and I hate to waste it so I freeze it in the awesome tray from Beaba that we used to freeze Little G's baby food so long ago. Three portions is about a cup and now I don't waste chicken stock:
After adding milk and chicken stock to the pot, pour in three cups of shredded cheddar cheese:
I usually add some ground mustard and garlic powder at this point...but they are optional if you don't have them in your pantry:
Seriously, just eyeball an amount...you really can't go wrong here unless you pour the whole bottle in:
Add some ground pepper but NOT salt...the cheese has enough salt that you don't need any more to season it:
Then stick a spoon in it and gently mix up the pot so that the cheese and onion and pasta aren't all layered in there:
Put the lid on and set it to high...
...and cook it for two hours and 15 minutes.
When it is done, the top will be slightly crusty, and the inside will be creamy and delicious!
Dump the mac and cheese into a container, store it in the fridge and use it throughout the week for lunch for your kid and/or a side dish to your dinner.
Seriously...the whole recipe boils down to dump, set, forget and enjoy. I'm sure you could do the same thing and bake it in the oven...but honestly, in this heat, I've been wan to heat up the whole oven so the crock pot really has helped keep the kitchen cool.
Easy Peasy Mac and Cheesy
1/2 box of whole wheat pasta
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 medium onion, diced
1T ground mustard
1T garlic powder
Ground Pepper to taste
Toss everything together in crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours, 15 minutes.