Every year after Valentine’s Day ends I have a few days where I’m bursting with excitement at the prospect of spring. The cherry blossoms start to bloom and a few brave daffodils begin to appear. It feels like spring is just around the corner. I start fantasizing about fresh cut flowers and outfits that don’t revolve around huge woolen sweaters. And then…nothing happens. The days roll by and the sun continues to set early and it rains and rains and rains. Only by this point I’m more aware of how wintery it is and each gray day feels like it’s adding insult to injury. I guess this is what they call cabin fever. After years of repeating this cycle, I’ve found that the best thing to do with the winter blahs is to lean into it. Put the kettle on, update your Netflix queue, and serve up some comfort food. In my household there is no greater comfort food than macaroni and cheese.
My favorite recipe for macaroni and cheese comes from Vancouver blogger Everybody Likes Sandwiches. Her one pot mac and cheese recipe is the simplest and most delicious I’ve ever encountered. All of the ingredients are mixed together in one baking dish and thrown in the oven. You don’t even have to cook the macaroni ahead of time, it gets thrown into the pot uncooked with the rest of the ingredients. I also love that this recipe has one cup of cottage cheese in it. It’s a good way to sneak some protein into an otherwise carb heavy meal. I usually make this dish with gluten free macaroni so that Jonathan can enjoy it and add a dusting of gluten free breadcrumbs to the top to make it a little bit crunchy. The only other modification I’ve made to the original recipe is replacing the nutmeg with cayenne pepper.
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 – 4 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 1/2 cups gluten free macaroni, uncooked
1 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 375 F. Using either a food processor or an immersion blender, blend together the cottage cheese, milk, mustard powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. In a greased baking dish combine the milk mixture with the uncooked pasta and most of the grated cheese. Mix together well and bake covered for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes remove from the oven, stir and sprinkle the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Bake uncovered for another 30 minutes or until the pasta is fully cooked and the top is golden brown. Let stand before serving and enjoy!