Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Make Ahead Sun Dried Tomato Mac'n'Cheese

I love, love, love this recipe because I didn't have to re-invent the wheel. You see, when you have a blog mostly dedicated to food and menu planning it can get a little tough coming up with new ideas. Especially last week when I was in my little recipe rut. I thought to myself, "Why are you making this so hard on yourself? Don't beat yourself up or stress, Sara. You can do this!" So, I started looking at some of my old favorites from last year. Rarely do I go back and make the same thing again. This recipe is sort of the same recipe as my Broccoli Penne Mac, but with a fun twist- sun dried tomatoes!

Tomatoes are not that great this time of year, but I absolutely love them. Sun dried tomatoes are all of the tastes of a summer tomato concentrated into one small, condensed raisin-like tomato. Here, I served the broccoli on the side and was able to sneak in even more veggies to our meal by replacing the broccoli in the mac with sun dried tomatoes. The result was fantabulous! I know, not really a word. It is a word I made up with my students by combining the words "fantastic" and "fabulous." It is really catchy. So catchy, that one of the students in second grade told her teacher that her mom came up with a word for when a "crappy" day doesn't turn out so bad after all- "craptastic." This recipe is not "craptastic" in any sort of the word because it was never "crappy" to begin with. Unless you didn't like broccoli to begin with:) Instead, it is fantabulous!

Make Ahead Sun Dried Tomato Mac'n'Cheese
inspired by my Broccoli Penne Mac

1 tablespoon butter
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese
8 oz. 2% Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
2 cups brown rice elbow noodles
1/2 cups diced sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
More whole sun dried tomatoes to top and garnish if desired

Spray a 9' x 13' baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion becomes translucent. Pour in the milk and cheeses. Stir constantly until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Toss the noodles and tomatoes together in a large mixing bowl. Add the cheese mixture, stir until evenly coated (the mixture will be soupy), and pour into the casserole dish. Cover and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake and serve. When you are ready to bake, remove the dish from the refrigerator and let set at room temperature for at least 15 minutes while your oven preheats at 350 degrees. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly in the middle. Give the pasta a little stir before serving and enjoy!

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