I Am Stronger Than The Cheese

I think it’s pretty apparent that I have an addictive personality.

I could quote every single line from every single episode of Will & Grace.

I go to Trader Joe’s about three times a week.

And when I make pasta, I almost always have to make it mac ‘n cheese.

Like here,

And here,

Sometimes I bake it, sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I add veggies, sometimes I don’t.

But no matter how you cut it, I am unequivocally obsessed with mac ‘n cheese.

I’m getting to the point where I think I need to just work at a dairy farm.  The cheese addiction would be less pricey that way.

In an attempt to do something new and different (and ok, I’ll admit it, less calorie-laden) I decided to make a cheese-less pasta dish for dinner.

I’m not a fan of marinara sauce, so that option was out.

I’ve gone the pureed veggie route before, so that wasn’t interesting me.

Then I thought of how good beans are, and how I’d just bought a can of giant cannelini beans.

I made this simple sauce by mashing about 5 oz (1/3 of a can) pretty thoroughly with a small splash of broth.

Then I added a pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and mixed it all together.

I boiled some brown rice pasta,

roasted up some green veggies (I’m still recuperating from NoLa),

And tossed everything together with the remainder of the can of beans.

Oh, and I topped it with a little Parmesan.

What?  You didn’t expect me to quit cold turkey, did you?

I really liked this pasta, despite its (relative) lack of cheese.  It was pretty light, but stuck to my ribs thanks to the fiber in the veggies and the beans.  Next time, I’d add about twice as much balsamic for an extra kick.

Beans really do work well as sauces, and I always appreciate a homemade sauce that doesn’t require any cooking.

You should try this pasta.

Don’t worry, the mac ‘n cheese will be there tomorrow.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Love Actually

First of all, thank you for your kind words about Mosey.  It’s weird not seeing her walking around or sitting on her usual blanket.

But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that all pain subsides with time.  And wonderful family and friends (including blog friends!) always help, too.

On a much brighter note, I’m finally starting to feel Christmas-y!

Yup, that’s my Christmas tree.  Isn’t it pretty?  I’m such a Suzy Homemaker, I should probably start teaching Home Ec.

Does Home Ec still exist?  I miss being able to give people homemade doilies for Christmas.

Ah, much better.  This is the 2nd year I’ve used this tree (it was my sister’s tree back in the day, but now she’s got a family and a house in the suburbs and upgraded to a real live tree) and I forgot how intense it is to assemble.

You not only have to actually decorate the tree, you also have to assemble each branch individually.  I’m not sure what kind of fascist came up with that idea, but it’s a good thing I’ve got wine and Food Network Christmas specials playing in the background to keep me feeling the spirit.

Oh, and a big batch of comfort food.

It was a long Monday at la oficina (beginning with a visit from the local P.D. before 9 am, which you heard me complaining about if you follow me on Twitter), so some quality comfort food was in order for tonight.

When I got home, I had a small crisis of indecision.  I had an acorn squash staring at me with “come hither” eyes, but there was also a chunk of sharp cheddar cheese and bag of whole wheat penne whispering sweet nothings in my ear.

Roasted squash or mac ‘n cheese?  What should I choose?

Uhh…both, obviously.   I roasted the squash while I cooked the pasta and made the cheese sauce (with the addition of onions, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and spinach).  Once the squash was mostly done, I crammed as much pasta in each half as I could, sprinkled the tops with some panko bread crumbs and finished them in the oven.

Oh, yes.  I’m glad I went with both my guts.  Now all I need are some sugar cookies and a jolly man in a red suit.

Better call my boyfriend. 😉

 

Football Stomach

Well, flag football was just okay.

No, I’m totally kidding!  It was freakin’ awesome!  I believe we won to the tune of 4,531-7.  (Ok, maybe it was closer to 40-7…still impressive, yes?)  We Eagles know how to kick some a$$ and take some names! Eagles on the warpath, ooh, ahh!

Ok, it’s clearly football season and my competitive side is coming out.  I apologize for the next few months in advance.  I will calm down after the Superbowl.  (Unless my Bears make it to the Superbowl, in which case it’s going to take a while for my blood pressure to go back down)

Along with the beginning of football season is the beginning of my ravenous appetite.

(source)

(fyi, I’m staying at my parents’ house right now to babysit their cats while they’re out of town and I forgot my camera at home, hence the lack of actual pictures of tonight’s dinner.  I hope you can all get past my faux pas.)

I must not be very evolved because every year I have this very primitive urge to eat fatty, rich foods when the weather begins to shift to the autumnal temperatures.  It’s like my body is saying, “Have no shelter.  Snow coming.  Must make own shelter with layer of fat.”  And then I pound my chest with my fists.

Does this happen to anyone else?  Can we be cavemen together? (Sorry, Geico caveman.)

(source)

Even though it’s not technically fall yet, I a) played football last night, b) the NFL season has started and c) it’s been chilly when I’ve left the house to go on my morning runs for the past week or so.  So for my purposes, it’s time to start eating football season food.

Tonight, it was pasta.  And not any pasta- it was mac ‘n cheese.  I don’t believe in “lightening up” my mac ‘n cheese (because fat-free cheese really isn’t cheese in my book), but I definitely did make it healthier.

1.  I used Barilla PLUS, which has a relatively short ingredient list and lots of protein from legumes.

2. I used all real ingredients- real butter, real cheese, etc.

3. I added about a cup of veggies (broccoli, frozen peas, corn and sundried tomatoes)

4. I didn’t go overboard with the cheese.  If you make a roux (by melting butter and whisking it together with some flour in a pan) with chicken broth instead of cream and add a small-ish handful of cheese to it, it’s really not that heavy.

So, I feel good about my dinner and my football stomach is very satisfied.  It’s doing better than my football legs, anyway- I’m really sore from the game!  Whaaa???

What foods do you crave when summer is winding down and fall is gearing up?  If you live in a warmer climate year-round, do you notice any shift in your appetite?