Recipe 64: Stovetop Avocado Mac and Cheese

I’ve talked before how certain foods and I have strained relationships.  These foods are ones that I want to like more, but struggle to get my brain and my palate to meet.  Avocado is one of those foods.  I never liked guacamole, and only recently am I trying to nourish a pleasant relationship with this super-food.  This mac seemed like the perfect chance to try to make things right.

Stovetop Avocado Mac and Cheese (by Two Peas and their Pod)

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces dry elbow macaroni (I accidentally cooked the whole bag of corn elbows, so I eye-balled 10oz)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    Fresh avocado chunks, for garnish, if desired

Directions

Place macaroni in a large bowl. Pour the avocado sauce over the macaroni and stir until well coated. Add the cheese sauce and stir until macaroni is coated and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh avocado chunks, if desired.

Note-the lime juice keeps the avocado from browning. The mac and cheese is best eaten the first day, but it is still good the second day. The pasta may turn slightly brown, but not bad. If you want a milder flavor, you can use Monterey Jack or White Cheddar Cheese

VERDICT: 2.5/5 – Due for a Do-Over: Here’s the thing about avocados: They really need to be ripe.  Not thinking this recipe would be made for another few days, hubby bought under-ripe avocados.  This really detracted from the enjoyment of the dish – just big, unripe chunks that the food processor couldn’t manage to chop up because it was over-stuffed already.  The flavors were good, but the texture was just mealy and unpleasant.  I would try this again with ripe avocados.  It still doesn’t compare, in my mind, to the other mac we had that featured avocado, but it still has the potential to be a good dish.

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Recipe 63: Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

You know me.  I make no secret about the fact that I’m gluten-free.  Heck, I have a whole heading where I talk about different gluten-free pastas.  But what might not have noticed is he fact that most of the recipes I make I’m adapting to be gluten-free from “normal” recipes.  Sometimes that makes things go funny.  Remember the mac and cheesecake?  That was probably the disaster it was because of gluten-free pasta.

But every now and then I’m lucky enough to find a recipe made especially for those of us of the gluten-free persuasion.  A recipe which takes into account the quirks of gluten-free pasta.  And when it’s nice and easy like this one?  How could I say no?

Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese (by Gluten-Free Girl and Presented by Parade Magazine)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb gluten-free macaroni, elbows or shells (DeLallo, for example) – I used Wegman’s brand of corn shells
  • 1 cup (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese or cream cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste – I suggest a heavy hand with these.

Directions

 

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  • Spread cheddar in bottom of a large bowl. Dot with goat cheese. Drain pasta, reserving ¾ cup pasta water. Add drained pasta on top of cheeses. Pour ½ cup pasta water over pasta. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until pasta is coated with sauce. If you’d like it creamier, add more pasta water, 1 Tbsp at a time. Season with salt and pepper.

 

And here she is!

And here she is!

VERDICT: 3/5 – I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical of how the mechanics of mixing the sauce would work, but it worked like a charm.  The texture is a little one-note since there aren’t any mix-ins, but this is a great flavor.  This would be one of those that serves as a great base for other flavors.  I think chicken or mushrooms would be at home here, maybe even shrimp.  It withstood warming up in the microwave, but by then it was a bit bland.  I think use this as a base recipe and you’ll be much happier.

 

I made this recipe a few days ago, and already tonight I have a new recipe to update you with!  We’re rich with mac and cheese in this house!