Sunday, June 14, 2009

Prairie Fruits Salad & Veggie-Stuffed Mac 'n' Cheese

This is a salad I actually enjoyed. Need I say more?

I'm calling it Prairie Fruits Salad because I used chevre from Prairie Fruits Farms - delicious. If you wanted to, you could toast the walnuts. I also used regular spinach, but baby spinach would probably be best.


Big handful raw washed spinach leaves
grape tomatoes, halved
raw walnut halves and pieces
crumbled fresh goat cheese
apple slices

fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
a squeeze of mustard
olive oil
salt and pepper


Assemble the salad. Squeeze one half of lemon around over the apple slices to keep them from turning brown.


In a small bowl, mix the honey, mustard, the rest of the lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Whisk in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Drizzle over the salad. Enjoy!

And for my next trick, mac 'n' cheese that is - arguably - healthy! Yes, it still involves copious amounts of cheese, but it also is overflowing with fresh, colorful vegetables. I don't want to say I'll never go back to traditional macaroni and cheese, but this is certainly a delicious way to enjoy it with a smaller dose of guilt. You could add any veggies you want.



1 lb. macaroni elbows
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 carrot, halved and thinly sliced
5 oz. frozen peas
big handful grape tomatoes, halved
2 c. "classic melts" blend - American and Cheddar, shredded
2 c. chihuahua cheese (or other melty white cheese), shredded
3 c. skim milk
3 cloves garlic
3 T. butter
1/4 c. flour
salt and pepper
dash of cayenne pepper


Boil the noodles in salted water until al dente. About 3-4 minutes before the noodles are done, toss in all the veggies except the tomatoes to par-boil. Drain the noodles/veggies. Set aside.


In the same big pot, melt the butter. Saute the garlic for a minute, then whisk in the flour to make a roux. Whisk in the milk and bring the heat up until it begins to thicken. Add the classic melts cheese and about half of the other cheese. Stir until thickened and melty.


Preheat the oven to 350. Stir the noodles and veggies into the cheese sauce. Pour into a deep casserole dish. Spread the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cheese on top is melted and lightly browned, and the edges are bubbly. Enjoy!

The reason for the mac 'n' cheese (not that you NEED a reason for mac 'n' cheese, mind you) was my dear friends' The Bigwoods' Andersonville BBQ, which was an excuse to pre-game before we headed down to MidsommarFest to see Sixteen Candles, a band that plays all 80's cover songs. It was a truly transformative experience.

Not only was the band pumping out such great hits as "New Sensation," "Like a Virgin," and "Summer of '69," the crowd was totally into it, jumping around and dancing just as much as the band was. Viva la 80's!

Thanks to Kira for hosting us in her adorably grown-up house (delicious food provided by her and John, as always), and to Sixteen Candles, who rocked my FACE OFF!

Thanks for reading! More soon...

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