Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Swiss Chard Mac and Cheese

I just wanted to thank everyone for all of the well-wishes.  I'm really excited about all the changes going on.  Currently the food I'm cooking and eating is my attempt to clean out my fridge before I leave....luckily, I have a healthy backlog of recipes for you and a guest post to get us all through this transition!

I'm sure I'm not the only one guilty of this one....

You start the week with the best of intentions.  The menu plan consists of lots of fresh produce, lean meats, and whole grains.  Maybe you threw in a few creative sauces and preparations.

Then your day starts like any other.  Wake up, drink some coffee, make lunch and head to work.
But then, the day turns cold and windy.  You get a paper cut, spill tea on your keyboard and get an ink stain on your blouse......you just want to go home, put on sweats, curl up on the couch and watch a movie.

Healthy food has no place in this day.

The sauteed chard on the pre-planned menu immediately sounds terrible.  Your mood can only be saved with pasta, bechamel, and lots of cheese.  Ok, so you can make room for the chard too, inspired by this post.  A little bit of health (and avoidance of wasting ingredients) is on this decadent menu now.

Swiss Chard mac and cheese
2 cups pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1 cup milk (I used unsweetened soy)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and fontina)
salt (to taste)
cayenne (just a sprinkle)
nutmeg (just a dash)
1 cup of chopped swiss chard
Breadcrumbs and shredded parm for topping

Start by filling one saucepan with water and setting it to boil.  In the other saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Once it is melted, add the flour and stir to create a light roux.  The flour should be creamy but not brown.  You just want to cook until the flour is no longer raw and is just slightly nutty.  Whisk in the cup of milk and bring to a simmer.  Once the milk is hot, add your cheese and continue stirring until the cheese has melted with the milk into a creamy sauce.  Add a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne (or more if you like a little more heat- the pinch just gives a little depth) and salt to taste.  Reduce the heat to low.

By now your pasta water should be boiling, so dump your noodles in.  When they are just about al dente, drop your chard in.  It only needs a minute or so.

Drain the noodles and chard in a colander, and fold into the cheese mixture.

Pour the cheesy mac into a buttered casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs and parm.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are browned.

While the pasta is baking, put on those comfy sweatpants, cue up a chick flick, and if that paper cut was exceptionally bad, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of wine.

Sorry for the gratuitous pasta shots.  I couldn't help myself!

I can't get my mind off of moving.....Do you have any packing tips??


  1. Want. That is all. Just, want.

  2. Awesome photos! You're making me hungry..

  3. great photos. looks ridiculously good and fitting for a cold, dark night!

  4. I love it. There are definitely nights when my great plans fall through and we have carbonara or mac and cheese. It's necessary sometimes.

    The photos look awesome!

  5. This looks fantastic and I totally agree - pasta is the ultimate comfort food!

  6. officially starved. great shots of the dish.
    packing tips...well you already did good on saving the boxes. for clothes in my closet I just put a plastic bag over a bunch of them and call it a day. you don't even need to take them off the hangers.

  7. Oooh I am sooo cold and craving something cheesy! This looks delicious.
    My only tip is to get rid of as much as possible. And don't just toss stuff into boxes like I do! I just got another box, so I have about 5 that I can bring by this wknd.

  8. Yeah, comfort food is the only thing fitting on days like that. Hope that made you feel better and today is less stressful :)

  9. After a long, rough day at work not many things make me happier than pasta - and perhaps some wine to wash it down with. ;)

  10. Hmmm, not too sure the chick flick would really be my thing, but love the rest of the post! The pasta shots are really cool and this is perfect winter food after a long hard day. And so easy to make as well, bravo.