Upgraded Mac N’ Cheese

So mac n’ cheese has always been a comfort food. I wanted to make it a mission to upgrade it, not necessarily in taste, since we all know a good mac n’ cheese cannot be beat, but in health. This mac n’ cheese has veggies, carrots, onions, spinach, and whatever else you want to throw in. Also this is a recipe for people who are a bit more experienced in the kitchen, as you are making sauce from scratch, which is a roux. All it consists of is equal part fat and flour. I used butter for the fat, but you can use olive oil ect.

Also, there is quite a bit of veggies, I added them to make this a little healthier and add some micro nutrients, feel free to leave them out.

Now onto the recipe!

Upgraded Mac N' Cheese

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: Moderate

A new and healthier spin on a traditional baked mac n' cheese.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz dried pasta of choice (I used penne)
  • 2 medium white onions, sliced thin
  • 4 medium carrots, large dice
  • 2-3 C. of chopped spinach
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 4 TBSP salted butter
  • 2 1/2 – 3 C. of milk. (I used unsweetened almond milk, use milk of choice.)
  • 2 C. each of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, shredded.
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 C. of Italian style bread crumbs.

Directions

  1. Put a tablespoon of butter in a skillet on low heat and cook the onion till soft and translucent, about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Boil some salted water, then put in the pasta and carrots. Cook till the pasta is toothsome. (A little firm, not mushy, not crunchy.) Drain and put in pan you are going to bake in.
  3. Remove the onion and mix in pasta and carrots.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° before starting your roux.
  5. Melt the butter in a pan and whisk in the flour, cook until slightly brown. While that is cooking slightly heat up the milk then slowly add to the butter/flour mixture. (This is the roux)
  6. Once the roux is well mixed add in 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 1 cup of the mozzarella, saving the rest for the top.
  7. Mix in the nutmeg, pepper, and salt to taste.
  8. Mix the sauce with the pasta then add in the spinach, mixing well. Top with the bread crumbs and the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden.
  10. Let cool and enjoy!

Baked Zucchini Fries

Now I’m done with my rambling, onto the recipe!

So I LOVE zucchini fries, but the deep fried ones absolutely do not like me, so I made some that would. They obviously aren’t as good as the deep fried version, something about frying something makes it taste a thousand times better, but they are good when you are not wanting a tummy ache or are trying to follow a healthy diet.

Baked Zucchini fries

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy

healthy baked zucchini fries that are delicious and easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs (I used seasoned)
  • 1 cup flour (Seasoned with a little salt and pepper)

Directions


  1. Cut your zucchini into fry like pieces. salt them and let sit on a towel for at least 20 minutes, up to one hour in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 350° when you pull out your zucchini.

2. Once they are dried, dredge them in flour (I just got a Ziploc, put the flour and some 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp paprika and shook it up) When you’re done place them in a strainer and shake to remove excess flour.

3. Next, get a bowl and put your egg in it, along with a teaspoon or so of water, also a pinch of salt and pepper, mix well. Also take a bowl and put your panko in it. If it is not seasoned, add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp thyme, and 1 tsp ground sage and mix well. Then take your flour coated zucchini and put them into the egg mixture, coating evenly, then placing into the bowl with panko and cover evenly.

4. Get a sheet pan and lay out the zucchini fries evenly, making sure they do not touch. if not using a stone like I did, make sure to use parchment paper. bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, and remove them when golden brown. Let cool and enjoy! (Really good with ranch or a garlic aoli.)

Vegan Chickpea Curry

Simple and delicious Chickpea Curry that is vegan and has a little kick. Ready in about 45 minutes!

There is not many warm and comforting dishes I like more than curry, especially one that has chickpeas. This is a vegan recipe but you can also replace it with chicken, tofu, or whatever protein you like. Serve with some rice, or some Naan bread, you have a delicious meal. Also it isn’t too spicy, I will be testing out some green curry for you all out there that are into spice.

The recipe is pretty simple, I use canned chickpeas, but I bet it would be even better with some made yourself. I usually buy dried garbanzo beans in bulk, much cheaper than canned. but we want something simple and fast, and a lot of people don’t have time for making the beans. This is cooked in the instant pot and takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, look below for how to make it on the stove top. (Spoiler, super easy)

Now I like to go to the Asian store to get the coconut milk, curry paste, and other ingredients. You can get good quality food for not too much, and there are many other interesting things you can get as well, Japanese sweet potatoes are some of my favorite.

Now onto the recipe!

Vegan Chickpea Curry

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Moderate

A delicious and healthy vegan curry that is pretty easy to make and so worth every minute.

Ingredients

  • 1 Onion Diced (Of your choosing, I used yellow)
  • 2 Medium Carrots Diced
  • 1 TBSP Minced Garlic
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Grated Ginger (Heaping)
  • 3-4 TBSP Yellow Curry Paste (2 if you don’t like any spice)
  • 1 Heaping tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (Or about 2-3 large tomatoes)
  • 2 Cans of Chickpeas
  • 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk

Directions


  1. Put your instant pot on “saute” mode and add in some oil, put in the onion and carrots and cooked for about 2 minutes.

2. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add in the rest of your ingredients and set your Instant Pot to high pressure for 20 minutes. Quick release when done.

4. That’s it! If you like a thicker curry (As I do) simmer on saute until desired consistency or mix a table spoon of flour with 1 1/2 TBSP of water and mix in, simmering for about 3-5 minutes.

The curry paste I use
One of my favorite coconut milks

If you don’t have an Instant pot follow the same instructions, on medium-high heat. After adding all the ingredients just simmer covered for about 30 minutes on low, or until the carrots are soft and cooked through.

Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Super easy weeknight meal with only 4 ingredients! Try it out!

So I got a great quick and easy weeknight meal. I usually make the marinade, which is super simple by the way, and just leave it in the fridge throughout the day. It is ready to go and bake right when I am ready to cook, and dinner is ready in about half an hour.

It really is simple, chicken, you can use thighs, legs, breasts, quarters, it all works. Then just teriyaki and honey, that is the marinade. I like to season with pepper and then pop in my cast iron.

Now onto the recipe.

Honey Teriyaki Chicken

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: Easy

Super simple honey teriyaki chicken recipe that is sure to please. 3 hours to marinade then 30 minutes in the oven, that easy!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken.
  • 1 C. Teriyaki marinade
  • 1/4 C. Honey
  • 1 tsp Black pepper

Directions



  1. Preheat the oven to 425, if using a cast iron leave in oven to preheat.
  2. Put chicken into a ziploc bag and pour in teriyaki and honey, also add in the pepper.
  3. Mix in bag and let sit for at least 3 hours.

4. Oil pan or cast iron well and place in the pan.

5. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear (This also depends on thickness of chicken) (Internal temp should be 165 in thickest part if using thermometer. I’ll be honest, I usually just cut it and look.)

6. Cool and enjoy! Serve over rice or with veggies for a complete meal.