When we last spoke, I was making dinner. I had seitan, potatoes, and kale to turn into some sort of meal for the family. Remember? It was Friday. It had been a pretty ho-hum dining week in our house, and I was feeling ready to turn it around with a solid end-of-a-crazy-week meal.
And I did. Friday night's dinner was so freakin' delicious. I ditched the potatoes, and boiled some spaghetti. I tossed it with some butter (Earth Balance), minced garlic, nutritional yeast, a bit of the pasta water, some finely chopped italian parsley, and salt. Tasty and simple. I sauteed the kale in olive oil with more garlic and salt, and squeezed in a wedge of lemon at the end. I browned the seitan cutlets in a bit of olive oil, and heated up the leftover spaghetti sauce.
I served the cutlets drizzled with tomato sauce, next to the simple, cheesy spaghetti, and the garlicky greens. It was a perfect Friday night meal.
But, in no way related to mac 'n cheese? I'm getting there.
The next morning, we needed a restorative weekend breakfast to continue cleansing our palates of the preceding five days. We had odds and ends of the previous night's dinner leftover, and we decided to put them into a frittata. I whipped up an eggy mixture (inspired, as always when breakfast calls for some sort of structured egg-type dish, by Susan Voisin's mini quiche recipe) and stirred in the leftover pasta and the finely chopped sauteed kale. I poured this mixture into a well-greased and parchment-lined cake pan and baked it at 375 for about 45 minutes, until it was firm in the middle and browned on top.
We ate wedges of the frittata drizzled with that never-ending tomato sauce and thick slices of whole grain toast. Good, good breakfast.
And do you know what it reminded me of? The baked mac 'n cheese that my dad made when I was a kid.
You know those chewy end bits?
So the next day we put that action to work on some mac n' cheese, in bite-size form. You could, and in the future I intend to, add some shredded greens or whatnot, to turn these into little complete meal nuggets.
Not fine dining, but incredibly practical when you have a toddler in the house, or I suppose when you have some sort of big sporting event to watch on the T.V.
And so, so delicious.
Mac 'n Cheese Bites
I don't use fake cheese a lot, but it's pretty essential here. I tried to use a nutritional yeast based cheese sauce, but they turned out too creamy, not enough chewy.
1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni, boiled in salted water, and drained
1 1/2 c. grated cheddar (I used Follow Your Heart)
2 T. minced green onion (yellow onion works too)
1 package firm silken tofu
1/4 c. soy milk
2 T. nutritional yeast
1 T. corn starch
1 T. butter (I used Smart Balance Light)
1/2 t. salt
Heat the oven to 375. Grease two muffin pans with cooking spray.
Whir all the ingredients for the eggy mixture in the blender or food processor until smooth.
In a large bowl stir together the macaroni, the grated cheese, the minced onion, and the eggy mixture. Spoon into the prepared muffin pans.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned and the middle is firm.
Cool in pan for a few minutes before you gently dump them out.
Makes 18 smallish muffin-size macaroni bites or 48 tiny mini-muffin bites.
And if you would like to turn this into a whole big trashy finger food buffet, you might add: