“Deeeeeelicious Mama! Are you going to put this on Facebook? You really should!”
WOW – Jacob (7) complimented my cooking! He apparently loved my Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake! The fact that he wanted me to put it on Facebook was hysterical too. Does he really think that I put our lives on display for the world to see?! It was as if he was begging for me to blog about it – well challenge accepted little man, challenge accepted!
So here goes my first Pinterest-worthy blog post – and it is a recipe of all things! I do not consider myself one of those well-put-together moms who cooks, wears matching clothes and blow-dries her hair. I am quite the opposite! I told my husband for the first few years of our marriage that I couldn’t cook, I rarely have to worry about matching my clothes because EVERYTHING goes with black yoga pants – and I only have my hair styled four times a year – when I get my hair cut!
So for me to start “pinning” ANYTHING is a monumental move in a new direction – not necessarily a better direction – just a new one! I am challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone – next thing you know, instead of bringing a pack of cheese sticks to the class party, I will get up early and make little cheese origami flowers for the group – I am SURE those can be found on Pinterest – or Etsy – I may have to order them from Wisconsin though… so any way…
I got home from work the other day after eight hours at the office, wearing a suit and heals (I didn’t have to match anything… it was all black! The granimals of corporate attire). Jonah (4 months) was napping and the three others were playing nicely, so of course I decided to whip up a home cooked meal right then and there. I have had this recipe for years, but had never actually tried it – which goes to show how dedicated I am to the whole “cooking dinner” thing. Last week I had decided to cook more meals at home, I was really going to give it a whirl, a good effort, the old college try – so I had picked up the ingredients for several recipes, which explains how I could be so carefree and impulsive when I got home from work – and decide to COOK!
By the time my husband walked in the door, I was putting homemade mac & cheese, chicken cutlets, warm bread rolls and fruit on 5 matching plates… He stopped, looked around to make sure he didn’t just barge into the wrong house and then asked me what was wrong! See – if you set the standard low from the beginning (like when I told my husband that I can’t cook) then things can only get better from there!
Our two oldest kids are really picky eaters, but Jansen (2) will eat anything you put in front of him. I am sure the picky eaters and the fact that I don’t love to cook is probably a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg. The evolution of a picky eater! Anyway – at this particular meal there was something for everyone – and enough to sustain life in even the pickiest of them all.
I am still baffled that Jacob was able to comprehend the magnitude of the fact that I just made mac & cheese from scratch. He was so sweet and encouraging. “Wow, mama, this is so good. YOU MADE THIS?” Should I be offended that a 7 year old was blown away at the fact that a blue box and bright orange “cheese” powder was not involved in this meal?! Any way – the recipe was not just good – it was great – and it can easily be modified to fit your family’s palette – which is hopefully more adventurous that our family’s.
So here it goes – here is my first shared recipe! (I am not adding any caloric values to this recipe – the amount of cheese in it speaks for itself. Perhaps my next recipe will be more healthy – but let’s just celebrate this meal for its deliciousness)
Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake
Prep time: 15 minutes, total time 40 minutes
1 (15 oz) jar Alfredo sauce
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 oz penne pasta (3 cups)
- Bring water to a boil for pasta (even I could do this step)
- Preheat oven to 400 F (it took me a few tries, but I figured out how to use the oven)
- Combine in large bowl: Alfredo sauce, 1 cup Cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, milk, salt, and pepper; set aside. (Of course I goofed and dumped ALL the cheese in there and then had to go fishing for some before it got all mixed with the liquids – I got carried away!)
- Cook pasta following package instructions; drain. Stir into cheese sauce until well blended. (Pretty straight forward)
- Transfer to 2-quart baking dish; top with remaining 1 cup Cheddar cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. (HERE is the last cup of cheese… well – mine had a little extra on top to make up for my mishap earlier in the recipe)
- Serve (& impress little boys and men!)