Tools: Saucepan, oven proof baking dish, cooking spray
Preparation time: About 10 minutes
2 cups pasta of choice, prepared according to package directions
2 tbsp. Spread/ butter of choice (plus more for breadcrumb topping)
2 tbsp. flour (See variations for gluten free method)
1-2 cups cheese of choice (Based on your tastes, I’m using Daiya Cheddar style shreds)
1/4 frozen mixed vegetables (optional)
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce (Or Coconut Aminos)
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon vinegar based hot sauce such as Tabasco
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs for topping
1 cup milk of choice (If using dairy free, use unsweetened only. I’m using cashew milk)
Grease oven proof baking dish, preheat oven to 350 degrees/180 Celsius. Melt spread and add flour, stirring to combine. When flour appears to be fully combined with melted spread, add milk. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Add seasonings and cheese. Please taste and season accordingly- this sauce needs to be FULL of flavor for all those noodles!
Add frozen mixed vegetables, fold in pasta. Pour in prepared baking dish. Top with Panko bread crumbs and more pats of butter/ spread. Bake in oven until topping is golden brown and delicious- about 10-15 minutes.
Gluten free: Use gluten free pasta of choice. Omit butter/spread/flour step. Combine milk, seasonings, and 2 tbsp. corn starch whisked into 2 tbsp. cold milk of choice. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Once sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add your cheese, fold in pasta. Top with gluten free breadcrumbs (Or crushed gluten free crackers.) Dot with spread, bake.
Buffalo Chicken Mac N’ Cheese: Add 1 cup shredded chicken (Or vegan chicken substitute) and 1/3 cup buffalo sauce.
Carmelized Bacon and onion Mac N’ Cheese: Saute 1/2 diced onion in butter/spread until golden brown and caramelized. Add 2 slices crumbled bacon. Fold both in when you fold in cheese.
Gruyere and Onion Mac N’ Cheese: Saute 1/3 diced onion in butter/ spread until golden brown and caramelized. Fold in 1 cup shredded Gruyere instead of cheddar, continue with recipe as directed.
Pizza Mac N’ Cheese: Fold in 1/3 cup pizza/pasta sauce of choice and 1/4 cup diced pepperoni when adding cheese. Continue preparing as directed.
Let’s be honest: I hate the Proverbs 31 lady.
Every Bible study brings her up as a flawless example of a wife and a mother. Let’s read, shall we?
“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
Proverbs 31: 10-30
I think if I had servants I could also laugh at the days to come! Tired from rocking baby at 3 in the morning? Ring a bell, in come one of your servants clothed in scarlet. Anytime this passage is brought up we all sit in reverence as it is read, nodding in quiet falsehood- thinking we have DONE enough or chastising ourselves for not DOING enough. I actually memorized this passage when I was looking for a Christian husband, thinking quoting it would impress the right kind of man.
You know how I met my husband? A dance class I took for myself doing what I LOVED. I thank God every day my own attempts at righteousness did not win me a husband. You know why? I am loved for who I am and I don’t ever have to keep up an act. Very much like why God loves us.
For fun, I thought I’d write what the modern Proverbs 31 woman would be like. This has been done many times, it’s not new. But it sure is fun!
“A wife that looks good in leggings who can find? She is worth far more than good hashtags. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of clean laundry. She brings him Pinterest worthy meals, not takeout, all the days of his life. She selects organic fruits and vegetables, and works to make her own yogurt. She is like the locally sourced restaurants, bringing food farm to table. She gets up while it is still Saturday morning to cook a healthy well balanced breakfast for her family.
She considers a home business and starts it, out of her earnings she buys homemade wooden toys from Etsy for her children. She sets about her workouts vigorously, her arms are strong for Crossfit. She sees that her home business is profitable, she lives on Starbucks so her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the Pinterest app and grasps the freshly folded laundry with her fingers. She opens her arms to the school Booster club and extends her hands to the Bake sales.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household, for all of them are clothed in matching artisanal flannel pajamas. She makes cloth diapers for her baby, she is clothed in Lularoe and Gywneth Paltrow’s workout gear.
Honor her for all her sleepless nights, and let her works bring her praise at the Mommy and Me group!”
I hope you understand this for the humorous take that it is. It is certainly valuable to work hard for your family and bring honor to your husband. I sincerely hope this doesn’t offend my home business ladies either, I love my Lularoe and good probiotics! On days like this, when my baby is not adhering to a sleep schedule, this all seems like too much! This is a day to bury my face into a dish of crispy topped Mac N’ Cheese. In case you aren’t feeling like cooking, here’s a Vegan Mac N’ Cheese in boxed version.
If you ever have a day like mine (I’m sure you won’t!) let this bring you some comfort. Please have fun with variations too! If you can think of anymore, post in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with!
See my recipes on Pinterest!