Thursday, January 30, 2014

Birdie Bites - Cooking Classy's Caprese Mac and Cheese

Thursday evening. Only 8 working hours separate me from the glorious, glorious weekend. We're in the home stretch, people. It's time to get excited.

Or, being a bit more realistic, it's time to want to take a nap, because I am exhausted.

These past few months have been a bit hectic for me (hence my total lack of blogging). I'm no stranger to the busy life, but it seems that post Thanksgiving things have been a bit absurd. My dad decided he needed a home remodeling project while he had extra time off around the holidays, and chose my guest bedroom and bathroom to be the lucky victims. Trust me, it's awesome that I have such a handy father, but his timing is not always the best. Between work stress, holiday stress, and being put under the gun to pick out flooring my brain basically felt like it was running at max capacity 24/7 until after the beginning of the new year. 

Fortunately, in the past couple of weeks I've had a bit of a chance to recover. I'm really excited to get back to blogging, both about the beauty world (which I have also sadly been neglecting) and new things too.

Speaking of which, what better way to introduce a new segment of my blog than to write my first non-beauty related post?

I actually did not make this recipe tonight, but I thought it would be the perfect kind of meal for a Thursday. It's not too complicated, not too time consuming, but all the way delicious - i.e. the perfect totally-feeling-the-end-of-the-week-burn-out dinner.

I made this not too long ago for a friend with a known affinity toward Caprese salads and we both enjoyed it immensely. I don't know why I never thought to transform said beloved Italian dish into mac and cheese, but it seems like a no-brainer. Classic cozy comfort food meets summer-reminiscent flavors...what more could you ask for on a chilly January evening?

Cooking Classy obviously has more culinary brilliance than I.

(Sidenote, the recipe on their homepage right now is Nutella Stuffed French Toast with Macerated Strawberries. If there is such a thing as food envy, I think that's what I'm experiencing right now.)

So if you're looking to spice up one of your weeknight meals without simultaneously making yourself a slave to the kitchen, give this recipe a whirl! Also, I highly recommend checking out their other recipes, because there are quite a few delicious looking ones.

One last note. I am so not a food photographer. At least not yet. On the list of things to work on.

Caprese Mac and Cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 3 - 4 servings

  • 8 oz dry elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta according to directions listed on package to al dente and drain. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add in flour and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Slowly pour in milk and cream while whisking. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture just to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to low. (I think I let my beschamel base go a little too long before I added the cheese. The consistency should be a bit thickened, but the cheese will also thicken the sauce.) Stir in mozzarella, and cook, stirring constantly until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss in drained pasta and let rest over warm heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Plate pasta and top with tomatoes and fresh basil.

Adapted from: Cooking Classy