5. Stuffed Shells
Stuffed shells are kind of like the grown-up fancy version of macaroni and cheese. If you were one of those weirdo kids who put ketchup on their mac'n'cheese, it's even closer. Either way, they're delicious and feed a million people. An important thing to know is that, even though they're easy, they take an hour to bake so you should definitely plan ahead.
1 box of jumbo shell pasta
1 jar of marinara sauce
2 (15 ounce) containers of ricotta cheese
4 cups (16 ounces) of grated mozzarella
1 and 1/2 cups of grated parmesan
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Boil a humongous pot of water and cook the shells according to the directions on the box. If the package says something like "cook for 12-14 minutes," go with the shorter amount of time because you don't want these babies falling apart on you. When the shells are finished cooking, drain them and then line them up on the counter so the open side is facing up.
While you're doing that, grease the bottom of a 15x20 baking dish with a bit of olive oil. Spread two cups of the sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the ricotta, 3 cups of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the parmesan, and the parsley. Fill each shell with the cheese mixture by taking the easy way out: scoop the cheese into a big plastic baggie, cut a hole in one corner, and pipe it into each shell icing-style.
Arrange the shells in the pan and top them with the remaining sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan. It's important to cover the shells completely with sauce to keep the pasta from getting hard in the oven.
Cover the entire pan with aluminum foil and bake for about an hour. You'll know it's time when the top's all bubbly. Take the foil off and let it cook for 5 more minutes so that the cheese melts. You're done! Invite 7 or more friends over and eat until you want to explode.
6. The Perfect Sandwich
by Emily Choo
This sandwich is perfect.
2 slices of bread
cheese (I like to use goat, cheddar, and jarlsberg)
balsamic vinegar (optional)
Do whatever you do to prepare to fry an egg. For me this means olive oil, a pan, and a stove set to medium-ish heat. On the side somewhere, prepare your sandwich.
Fry your egg. Now this is an important part: I like my eggs over-easy with a runny yolk, but in this sandwich you can't have a runny yolk because it'll just be too messy. So I usually let the yolk harden (is that the right term?) so that when I put it in the sandwich and press down it doesn't explode everywhere. I like to put salt, pepper and dried basil leaves on my egg.
Remove the egg from the pan and place it in your sandwich. I usually put a little bit of balsamic vinegar on the egg now.
Grill your sandwich until the cheese melts or you get too hungry.
7. Vegan Mac & Cheese
My basic philosophy with a lot of vegan cooking is that the recipe shouldn't differ too terribly much from what nonvegans were going to do anyway. My mac and cheese is a perfect comfort food for days when you cannot be bothered to eat healthy.
1 box elbow macaroni (a classic)
2 pkgs Follow Your Heart soy cheddar, or 20 oz or so of a a comparable and melty vegan cheese (Daiya, Teese, etc)
3 tbsp vegan margarine
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (Red Star brand preferred)
a dash of soy/almond/rice milk (UNFLAVORED)
First of all, boil water for your macaroni. You know how to make pasta, yeah? You're gonna want to do that.
While your water is boiling, slice your soy cheese into small cubes and add to a large pan on medium low heat. I use a wok because I follow the traditional Asian art of mac and cheese. I threw in some leftover Daiya just to see what would happen (not much).
As the cheese melts, add margarine and soy milk. When mixture is smooth, add nutritional yeast. I like nutritional yeast because it adds a little of that baked cheesy flavor, and also because it's so full of nutrients that I feel like I'm eating something healthy even if it is just pasta and fake cheese. Look at all that thiamin! If things start getting a little too thick, throw in a bit more margarine and/or soy milk to loosen the mixture up. You should end up with a smooth cheese sauce.
Cook your macaroni, following the instructions on the package. All the while, mix up your cheese sauce.
When your macaroni is cooked, strain it and then pour it into the cheese sauce. Stir generously. You will thank me.
Sometimes I garnish this dish with a little steamed broccoli or diced tomato. My ex used to add ground up Ritz cracker crumbs for a more homemade baked taste, which is nice. For this particular occasion, I added leftover asparagus cooked in truffle oil and lime, which was pretty damn delicious. This mac and cheese is also absolutely lovely when served plain.
8. Vegan Mac & Cheese #2
Originally via VegWeb
Stef's mac and cheese looks incredible, but not all of us live in the urban jungle of food options that is NYC. I am hard pressed to find any kind of vegan cheese worth eating, and so instead I go with this recipe, which doesn't require anything you can't find at even the quaintest small-town grocery store. Also, it's fucking delicious.
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon sea salt
8 ounces macaroni
4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Cook the macaroni as one cooks macaroni. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Pulverize the bread in a food processor or blender, and then use a fork to blend in the 2 tablespoons margarine. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the vegetables and 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. (It took me like a half hour.)
In the meantime, blend together the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add the cooked vegetables with remaining water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth. The carrots will make this turn out surprisingly orange, like a pretty authentic Kraft-style cheese.
When the sauce is ready, put the pasta in a casserole dish (I used a 9x13 inch pan and it was pretty shallow; you can use an 8x8 or something if you want a deeper, gooier macaroni dish) and mix well with the sauce. Top with the breadcrumb mixture and a dusting of paprika and/or fresh herbs, and bake for 30 minutes.
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