Just Another Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday doesn’t have to be boring. As a matter of fact, it is anything but boring at my house. It also doesn’t have to mean Vegan either. Give me all the cheese, please! Mmmm, cheese… Macaroni & cheese…

Years ago I received a copy of Cooking with Friends cookbook based on one of my most favorite series, F•R•I•E•N•D•S! I distinctly remember when this series came out in 1994, I was in the fourth grade and had a huge crush on Joey and wanted to be Rachel (now I’m more of a Monica). My late father and I would watch this together and watching the show now brings back those warm memories. Needless to say, I have cherished this cookbook.

It’s no secret that I meal-plan and make a grocery list (World Market has a good and simple one!) because no one has time to leave anything up to chance! The Mr coaches soccer most evenings during the week, so this baked “Adults Only Macaroni and Cheese” was not only a perfect fit for the chilly Monday evening, but since mac & cheese is one of his absolute favorites, he was happy to have a warm, filling meal before he braved the wind and cold of the open soccer fields.

What makes this dish an “adults only” macaroni and cheese? It starts, not from a box, but with a creamy béchamel sauce. It gets its robustness, not from a neon powder, but from real sharp grated cheddar. It finishes with a gentle sizzle of cayenne and buttery toasted bread crumbs. The only thing that could possibly make this better would have been garlic, but we like garlic on pretty much anything savory.

The recipe says it serves 2. Two! There’s a reason they didn’t list calorie counts. There’s no way we could have eaten the entire dish and felt well. Ha! Instead, we ate half and accompanied it with a salad and a couple small chocolate chip cookies.

What different ingredients have you added to macaroni & cheese to make it more “grown up”?

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