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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

He Said - Crunchy Vegetable Macaroni

One of the nice things about doing these contests is my husband and I get to experience dishes we may not otherwise try.  I think pasta is a staple in many homes.  One of our favourites is home made macaroni and cheese.  While mac and cheese is great comfort food there are a lot of ways of dressing it up.  My husband's second entry for the Second Annual He Said/She Said Contest from Jean Paré's Company's Coming Heart-Friendly Cooking is crunchy vegetable macaroni (Pp. 113).  This dish gives a nice spin on homemade mac and cheese making it a keeper recipe.

crunchy vegetable macaroni
Adding crunchy vegetaables to mac and cheese is a nice way to kick it up a notch!  This recipe added crunchy carrots, asparagus, peas and red peppers.  Now a recipe is always a starting point so no ingredient is written in stone.  In fact one of the signs of a good cook is the abilitiy to look at a recipe and easily substitute.  In this case my husband substituted shelled Laxton's Progress sweet peas for the sugar snap peas because the peas in our garden did not do well this year and that is what we could get from the organic farm.  The parsley in the dish was from our garden.  He omitted the red pepper because it is one of the very few vegetables he doesn't like unless puréed into a sauce.    He served the crunchy vegetable macaroni with herbed buttermilk marinated chicken topped with home canned plum sauce.  It was a delightful meal!

Crunchy Vegetable Macaroni
source: Jean Paré, Company's Coming Heart-Friendly Cooking, 2003, Pp. 113.

2½ c water
⅓ c thinly sliced carrot
1½ c fresh asparagus
1 c sugar snap peas
1 diced red pepper
¼ice water
13½ oz can skim evaporated milk
1 tsp garlic and herb no-salt seasoning
½ tsp lemon pepper
2 c uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 finely sliced green onions
1 c grated light sharp cheddar cheese
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Bring water to boil in medium saucepan.  Add carrot.  Cover and cook on medium for 4 minutes.  Add remaining vegetables.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove vegetables with slotted spoon to ice water to cool quickly,  reserving 2 c of the cooking water.  Drain cooled vegetables and set aside.  Add evaporated milk and seasoning to reserved cooking water in same saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Add macaroni.  Cook uncovered on medium until macaroni is tender and most liquid is absorbed.  Do not drain.  Pour into a large bowl.   Stir in vegetables and cheese.  Turn into a greased 3 qt casserole dish.  Cover.  Bake at 175ºC (350ºF) for 30 minutes or until warmed through.  Garnish with parsley.

Makes 8 cups, serves 4.

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