Now this is an idea I had been saving for a really busy time. Recently, I have been extra busy with another one of my coaching jobs starting. I knew that I would want some good old home cooking. I must admit, I don’t recall a time my mother made mac n’ cheese (she may have), but I do know that I love me some mac ‘n cheese. While in the store, I saw some gluten free pasta, and I knew that I would want mac ‘n cheese this week.
Here came the first mistake, in my hurry, the recipe I pulled up was a) for an oven, and b) for normal/non-gluten free pasta. I bought everything on the recipe, but on the day off I realized – this was not the right recipe for my goal. Instead I choose this recipe, which I quickly bought just the evaporated milk.
- 8 oz quinoa gluten-free pasta
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 cup 2% evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 4 tbsp light butter melted
- 1-2 tbsp light butter (for greasing the crock pot)
- 2 cups light sharp cheddar
First you are supposed to cook the pasta for as long as the box says. I still find this idea to be a bit confusing, because I thought the crock pot cooks the pasta. I did bring water to a boil and cook the pasta for 4 minutes (quinoa only takes 4 – 6 minutes to cook – that seemed like the flash to me in terms of pasta cooking), but I am still dubious that this needed to happen.
While I was waiting for the water to boil (and yes a watched pot never seems to boil), I melted the butter in the microwave. I then added all the other ingredients to this mix. I also buttered the sides of the crock pot to reduce the chance of the cheese and the pasta sticking to the edges. After the pasta was cooked, I put it in the crock pot, followed by the butter and more mix and lastly by the cheese. I gave it a quick stir and then set it on low for 2 hrs.
The recipe called for 2.5 – 3.5 hrs of cooking on low. The issue I came against, was I only had a 1 hr window right before I wanted it done or a 2 hr window to start cooking in the morning. So I put the crock pot on low for 2 hrs when I could, and then put it on warm for the rest of the day (from 11 am – 6 pm). Now in this time period is when I think the dish became less like mac ‘n cheese and more like a yummy cheese dish.
Next time, I will make sure to cook all at one time so I can stir the dish. This dish is a high maintenance dish. I prefer more low maintenance dishes, as I cannot always be present as much as this version of mac ‘n cheese needed. As the only adult to eat the mac ‘n cheese, I like it! It feels very light, while most mac ‘n cheeses feel heavy. I did give the mac ‘n cheese to the twin two-year olds and one seemed to like it, while another proceeded to say, “No thank you, I want chocolate.” I am not sure if he is a good source.
The Nitty Gritty:
- Total Cost: $22
- Total Time: 3.25 hours – 15 minutes for prep
- Serving Size: 8 people