Where have I been? Living life and having fun. Where have YOU been? Hopefully doing the same.
Here’s a brief synopsis of what I’ve been up to lately:
Painting my ceilings, backsplash-ing my kitchen, painting my walls, painting my exposed wood beams, flirting with guys, painting my exposed brick walls, planning a super awesome trip with my super awesome friend Chelsea, playing with Sally, flirting with some other guys, building a team of super fierce women who help each other DIY (I’m up to 3, wanna join!?), and actively avoiding the whole cooking/blogging thing.
What’s that? You wanna hear more about my upcoming trip? Can you say… ICELAND!? That’s right, we’re taking ourselves to Iceland for a week to see the sights and experience all they have to offer- hot springs, waterfalls, snorkeling between tectonic plates, glaciers, and (fingers crossed) the northern lights. Oh, and Thor. I’m pretty freaking excited!
But that’s still a few weeks away, and in the meantime I still need to eat mac n’ cheese. This baked version is based on one from To Live and Eat in LA, and it’s the recipe my friend Lauren made for Thanksgiving waaaaay back in 2011. It’s the mac n’ cheese that broke my dry spell, which then led to my Chili Mac, Butternut Mac, and – the very best- Mac Stuffed in Bread Bowls.
I made my version a bit spicier, and I added Daiya shreds to the top and they got all crispy. It was totally an accident but I absolutely LOVED how it turned out!
I think baked mac n’ cheese is the perfect comfort food for fall/winter. Especially days like yesterday, when we just got 10″ of snow in Denver, yikes!
So go ahead and whip some up. I’ll be back soon with kitchen pics and updates on the trip! Muah!
- 1 16oz box shells
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (plus more for sprinkling)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (plus more for sprinkling)
- 1 1/2 bags Daiya cheddar shreds
- 1+ cups panko bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease or non-stick spray an 11x7 baking dish.
- Bring 3-4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta, stirring, and allow to boil uncovered for 4-5 minutes. Drain immediately and set aside, making sure to give it a good stir so it doesn't clump.
- In the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter then stir in the flour. Keep stirring 2-3 minutes until it's a nice thick paste - this is your roux. Slowly add the milk and seasonings, while stirring continuously. Let it bubble and it'll thicken nicely in a minute or two. Add the cheese, keeping a handful or so aside for sprinkling on the top, if desired. Pour the pasta back into the cheese sauce and stir until coated, then pour into the baking dish. Cover with the remaining cheese shreds and the panko crumbs, along with an extra sprinkling of the seasonings.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until you can see the sides bubbling, and serve hot!
- Serves 4-6, depending on appetite