Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dinner Dilemmas: Mac & Cheese With Beans

I'm all for eating healthy, but come on Jessica Seinfeld, skim milk and no butter for mac & cheese? Help a girl out. What the heck is wrong with you? Kid's need fat. Kid's like to eat food with a little butter. Cream. Half & Half. Bacon. For the love of God, give them the butter.

But that is not Ms. Jessica's style. No sir. She is hard core. I actually have enjoyed her cook book in the past, which provides recipes with a secret pureed healthy ingredient. Think sweet potatoes, spinach and beans. It is a bit of work, making the purees before you even start the actual dinner, but it gets the kid's to eat their veggies. (Without knowing it, so I ask, is it really teaching healthy eating habits?)

The Seinfeld's are not overweight, their children look fantastic and healthy, so what is all the fuss? Do they really need to be drinking fat-free milk? I for one, do not believe in putting my children on a low-fat diet. Have you seen Zack? He is all skin and bones and runs about a million miles a day. He needs his creamy mac & cheese.

I'm getting off track. Today's Dinner Dilemma is Macaroni and Cheese with Beans, adapted from Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook Deceptively Delicious. In addition to the main course I made Carrot Ribbons, a recipe suggested by a friend. I will tell you now, the dinner went down well. Hallelujah.


Macaroni & Cheese (with beans):

1.5 cups elbow macaroni

1 cup skim milk (I used 2 percent, that is what we have on hand)

Half cup canned white beans

Nonstick cooking spray (I used a tablespoon of BUTTER)

1.5 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese. (I used full fat cheese, because why the heck not?)

Half tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder (I used a clove of real garlic)

1/8 tsp paprika, didn't have it, didn't use it.

1/8 tsp pepper.

Cook macaroni al dente. Drain.

While macaroni is cooking, combine the milk and beans in a food processor and process until pureed.

Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. (nix that, melted butter in pan and sauteed garlic.) Add the bean mixture to pan and cook over medium heat stirring until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cheese and cook until melted and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add in salt and pepper. Stir in macaroni and serve warm.

Carrot Ribbons:

2 Carrots peeled into ribbons with a carrot peeler.

1-2 Tablespoons Butter.

Boil a pot of water

Place ribbons in water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain.

Toss carrots with butter.

Zachary gave the dish an unprecedented double five stars! He said he loved it the whole thing. He did a happy dance. That's about it.

Evan did not want to be generous with his stars. He was waving two fingers in the air with one hand, but shoveling mac & cheese in his mouth with the other, so I didn't believe the low score. I eventually convinced him to award the meal.... FOUR STARS. Evan liked it! He really liked it!

And me? Well, I thought that the macaroni and cheese was quiet good. I did not notice the beans, it was plenty creamy and tasty, quick and easy. The carrots were pretty and would make a nice side dish to any meal.

Hurray for me, a success at last. Note to Jessica. Butter baby.

Just butter.


  1. Can't live without my full fat cheese and have more tastebuds than we do....we slowly lose them as they die and are not replaced..

    They know what the good stuff tastes like...haha!

  2. I have been mixing purees into our mac and cheese 9even the store bought kind for lunches) and so far, Finn has not noticed!