Monday, October 15, 2012
I have been anticipating Monday with, well, much anticipation! I am a little excited to bring you this recipe.
All things pumpkin and apple in my kitchen, lately. And it has been wonderful. I'm gonna' share some of that kitchen wonderful, with you.
Starting with Pumpkin Mac.
Pumpkin in macaroni and cheese? I was scared at first. Worried. Added only a little bit of pumpkin puree at a time, and then did a little bitty taste test.
So super-stoked! It was quite delicious.
I should mention that it does not taste like pumpkin pasta. It tastes like a rich, slightly sweet, macaroni and cheese. I have tried a lot of different plant-based macaroni and cheese recipes. This one is easily my absolute, go-to favorite. My kids agree.
I am trying really hard not to rant and rave about my own recipe here. But I did have quite a few taste testers at my house over the weekend, and they couldn't get enough of it. They were not vegans, either. They had just had dairy cheese that day.
Paul, Essie and I, all agree that it is better than my butternut squash macaroni and cheese. But you will have to decide that for yourself.
And you know, it was time to shake things up a bit.
Variety is the spice of life.
Some definite pros about this recipe here. One is, well, I think you're really gonna' like it. And two, it's quite festive and healthy.
But how about some busy chef benefits here, huh?
The cheese sauce takes less than 9.674 minutes to make.
No cooking butternut squash. Just open a can of pumpkin puree, measure it out, and throw in the blender with your cheese sauce ingredients, and ooooh la la.
Dinner in less than 10 minutes. Or lunch. If you use brown rice pasta shells, it may take longer for your pasta to cook than for your sauce to be ready.
And. Some of us had quite the difficulty buying butternut squash off-season. Even in trying to find it in the frozen vegetable section. Pumpkin puree may be more widely available. Or at least gives us another option. Yay!
So, when you find yourself with 9.674 minutes, I hope you make this recipe.
Happy Monday, and Happy Eating!!
PROJECT VEGAN KIDS
VEGAN FAST FOOD!
By Ashlee Crozier
Note from Ashlee: I don't know why I always make my mac n cheese with penne pasta. As with the butternut squash macaroni and cheese, I do not recommend you use whole wheat pasta. I do recommend white pasta. Especially for transitioning children. Make sure you carefully measure everything with exactness, otherwise I don't know how the recipe will turn out.
4 cups dry macaroni (use whole grain pasta if possible, I like brown rice pasta shells)
1 cup full-fat coconut milk from a can
2 cups water
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 teaspoons salt
1 cup (scantly measured) raw cashew pieces
1/4 cup, or 1/2 of a roasted red bell pepper (pimentos, packed in water)
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 cup 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix, use up to 1 full cup if you choose)
1.)Cook pasta according to package directions.
2.) Place all the ingredients in your blender, except of course, for your pasta! Taking care to measure everything carefully. Blend on high until very smooth, and little to no grittiness is felt when you rub the sauce between two fingers. You may need to run your blender through a couple of cycles.
3.) Drain your pasta and return to cooking pot.
4.) Do not add all of the sauce to your macaroni and cheese! We all have different tastes and some of us like more cheesy pasta than others. Pour blended mixture, a little at a time, into hot, drained macaroni until you have reached the cheesy texture you would like. I probably added about two cups of sauce to 1 pound of pasta. You may want more. Cook together, stirring gently and constantly, until thick.
5.)Freeze remaining sauce immediately, in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Unless, of course, you are going to eat this again for your next meal. With more cooked pasta. I'm not against it. (The sauce only lasts about 2-3 days in your fridge, don't wait for it to start getting bad first, and then freeze it. I have made that mistake before.) To thaw, simply place in a sink-ful of very hot water for about 10 minutes, then heat it in a stock pot to thicken, add pasta.
[UPDATE 10 25 2012] VARIATION: Rachel, a reader and friend, has been very successful using an entire 15 oz. can of coconut milk and an entire 14.5 oz can of pumpkin puree. I tried it too, and it tasted quite good. This version is a bit more bland, (not such strong flavors) and works well with small children who like more bland foods. It tasted closer to boxed macaroni and cheese (kraft stuff) and less like homemade macaroni and cheese. I like both variations, and couldn't pick a favorite, but Paul's tastes prefer my original version. You are welcome to try either and see what is your favorite. This variation makes a ton of sauce! Be prepared to freeze some in Ziploc gallon freezer bags.
What festive food would you like to eat next? I will post it tomorrow!
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
(Gonna' do a new photo shoot for this one!)