My Recipe of Comfort and Love

by Carol Slager of Inkwell Healthy Lifestyles.

 Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

 

February is the month of love, valentines, romance, and (depending on where you live), extremely bitter cold days and nights. For many of us, nothing says love like real comfort food. By real, I mean made from scratch with no preservatives, chemicals, artificial colors, or trans fats.

Many health issues can be avoided by keeping food real. We are on a better path to improving our health and nutritional needs when we eat food that is not processed. Focus on ingredients that are familiar (no chemicals please).

I have been eating (and making) this recipe my entire life; a recipe my grandmother passed to my mother. It is my family’s go-to for comfort, love, and very cold February days. It is my pleasure to pass it along to you. Yes, it takes a bit longer than opening a box of the packaged variety, but I promise it is worth the effort.

 

 Photo courtesy of Carol Slager.

Photo courtesy of Carol Slager.

Real Easy Macaroni and Cheese

·         3 cups dry macaroni

·         8 oz Colby or Sharp Cheddar cheese (or your favorite), sliced thin

·         Butter

·         ¾-1 cup milk

·         Paprika (optional)

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Oil or butter an 8x8 baking dish.

3. Cook macaroni as directed on package. Drain and rinse with cold water.

4. Spoon about half of the cooked macaroni into the baking dish.

5. Dot about six small pieces (approximately 1/2 teaspoonful in size) of butter in various places on the macaroni.

6. Using 4 oz. of cheese, place one layer on the macaroni so it’s covered.

7. Add the remaining macaroni and repeat the butter/cheese process.

8. Pour the milk over the casserole.

9. Sprinkle the top with paprika.

10. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden and crisp.

 

Allergy friendly alternatives:

·         Gluten Free: Use your favorite GF macaroni or noodle. I have had good luck with quinoa pasta, as it doesn’t get mushy in a casserole.

·         Dairy Free: If goat milk is tolerated, use your favorite variety of goat cheese and goat milk. If using powdered goat milk, reconstitute enough for any recipe as needed. The powder keeps in the refrigerator for months. If goat milk is also a problem, use plain unsweetened almond milk and the vegan varieties of cheese. In lieu of butter, select balanced blends of oils (non-hydrogenated, dairy free, and vegan) that are available in sticks that taste like butter. You could also use extra virgin olive oil.