Sometimes, you need a meal that makes you feel like a kid again.
Two of my most common pantry/fridge staples are pasta and cheese. At any given time, I usually have a few boxes of dried pastas, usually whole wheat varieties of spaghetti, penne and linguine and sometimes lasagna noodles or the occasional box of jumbo shells. Similarly, my fridge is rarely without a hunk of cheese or two, havarti for snacking, cheddar for soups and sandwiches, mozzarella or freshly grated pecorino Romano for whenever the occasion calls for it.
Why I don’t mix the two more often, is beyond me. I hadn’t been grocery shopping in awhile and was craving a bowl of hearty, melted cheesiness. I searched the web and flipped through Joy until I had enough background knowledge to create my own single serving* portion of macaroni and cheese (with peas). I added the greens for guilt appeasement – and also, because for some reason, I really like peas in pasta. It’s a combination I very rarely eat but it always hits the spot.
Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese (with peas)
1 ½ cups uncooked whole wheat pasta (I used Rotini, but elbows or Gemelli would be great)]
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup reduced-fat milk (I used 2%)
1 cup frozen peas
Flour or cornstarch
1. Prepare pasta according to package directions and cook until al dente.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When butter is nearly melted, add pasta and toss to coat. Add cheese, stirring frequently until melted. Add milk and flour/cornstarch (I used about 4 Tbsp. of flour but depending on the fat content of the milk you use, you may need more or less) and let simmer until sauce begins to thicken.
3. About five minutes before completion, add peas and stir to combine. Serve topped with freshly ground black pepper.
*I set out for this to be a single serving but I was using the last of the box of pasta so I made what was left which turned out to be 1 1/2 cups. Easily enough for one with leftovers for lunch the next day, but could also serve two with a nice side salad or extra vegetable.
What meals make you feel like a kid again?