Category Archives: Pasta

Midterms Mac n’ Cheese

Mac n' Cheese

Five months later and I finally post a recipe for my blog’s namesake. And it comes at a time when I’m trading tea towels for textbooks, and hot plates for highlighters. Midterm season. At Northwestern, midterm season lasts from about week 4 until… week 10. From here on out, I’ve got a major exam or paper deadline every week.

What’s one thing that can comfort us while we battle constant examination and dreary weather? Mac n’ cheese. Cheap, cheesy, and oh-so-good.

This recipe cost me about $2.00 for 3 to 4 servings (about $0.50 a serving!). It was $0.50 for half a box of pasta ($1.00 for the pound), $1.00 for a quarter pound of cheese ($4.00 for the pound), and about $0.50 for milk. That is a MUCH BETTER DEAL than any boxed macaroni and cheese at the store, and it’s free of all the weird things they must be putting in powdered, non-perishable cheese. I don’t mean to hate on Kraft, because I do love my Spongebob and Scooby Doo macaronis. But when it comes down to it, this recipe is cheaper and better for you. It doesn’t take much longer to cook, either.

This recipe was my excuse to not study for a little bit. I think you should use this recipe as an excuse not to study, too. But now it’s time to hit the books with a full and happy stomach! Good luck on those exams, people.

Mac n' Cheese
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Pasta with Caramelized Carrot Sauce

Pasta with Caramelized Carrot Sauce

I think I’m getting boring. I think I’m in a food rut. The only issue is this rut is so delicious. Pasta, vegetables, cheese. Simple, yet thorough. Hearty, yet not overbearing. Easy, yet complex. Less than two weeks ago I was going on and on about pasta and roasted root vegetables. I’ll be the first to admit that this recipe isn’t too terribly different, but it sticks with carrots and lets them linger in the pot until they get caramelized and delicious. Pureeing the mixture combines the pasta and the veggies with a creamy sauce, that when topped with stringy cheese, is wholeheartedly irresistible.

Pasta with Caramelized Carrot Sauce Pasta with Caramelized Carrot Sauce

So, sometimes curious friends ask me how I have so much time to cook. Well, I’m in college. Despite what anyone tells you, we have a lot of free time. It’s just how we spend it that differs. I spend mine celebrating the little moments in the kitchen, like when I don’t cry while dicing an onion. Or when I flip a grilled cheese perfectly. I unwind through food. I celebrate myself and others through food. I begin a good day with food. I salvage a bad day with food. The steady motions of prepping and chopping vegetables bring me back down to earth. The sweet aromas that slowly rise out of a simmering pot inspire grumbles in my stomach. Adding heat to something is like adding a little miracle. Cooking relaxes me, melts the stress of the day away, and re-centers me. I always feel better after cooking, and even better than better after eating. So that’s that.

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Pasta with Skillet-Roasted Root Vegetables

Pasta with Skillet-Roasted Root Vegetables

How do you take something that is normally awful and turn it into totally awesome?
For example, biking home several miles in a complete downpour.
Normally awful.
Add waterproof gear from head to toe.
Totally awesome.

Exclude the follow factors: my backpack has no protection (laptop was intentionally left at home this day), a homeless man crossing the street laughed at me (a big, bellowing “HA!”), and the tops of my pink striped socks are getting a little damp (but only a little, and only right at the end).

I think if it hadn’t have been for my sopping backpack and subsequent impending doom for my psychology notes and cellphone, I would have kept going. The roads were almost empty, my breaks mostly worked, and I felt like a TOTAL BADASS.

Complete bad-assery. Adrenaline pumping through my veins, pedals spinning round and round, and a slight sense of I’m-speeding-through-the-air-and-still-waterproof-haha-suckers superiority over the umbrella/wind/Midwest-fighting sidewalk dwellers.

Pasta with Skillet-Roasted Root Vegetables

Pasta with Skillet-Roasted Root Vegetables

This dish is the perfect steaming plate of goodness ready for you when you get home from a rainy night, back from a big homecoming football win (!!), or a snack on a chilly afternoon. You know how I know? Because I’ve eaten this for four days straight. I’ve made two batches. I’ve eaten the leftovers at every meal. And I’m still not tired of it… Isn’t that proof enough that you have to try this? Thought so.

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