Creamy French Onion Mac and Cheese – Gluten Free

I must admit something to you, blogworld: Despite my love for fine food, my favorite meal is still the same as most four-year olds’. To say I love macaroni and cheese is an understatement. For my entire first grade year, I refused to eat anything but macaroni and cheese for both breakfast and lunch. My more mature second-grade self made the sacrifice of adding PB&J into the mix now and then (in the name of nutritional balance, of course) but I have never tired of this delicious comfort food. This recipe uses three types of cheese, including one that is infused with French Onion flavor to give it a unique and savory taste.

Creamy French Onion Mac and Cheese

Creamy French Onion Mac and Cheese

2 servings quinoa pasta shells (or any pasta will do)
2 ounces swiss gruyere, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp cream cheese (gluten-free)
1 wedge Light French Onion Laughing Cow cheese
3 tbsp half and half
1 tsp butter

  1. Cook pasta as directed and drain.
  2. Place pasta back in pot.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pasta and cook on low, stirring continuously until all ingredients are melted and evenly distributed. If your sauce is too thick, add more half and half as needed.

You can also add some great mix-ins to this classic mac: caramelized onions, broccoli, peas, stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. What’s your favorite mix in?

Gluten-free mac and cheese

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Cilantro Cumin Potato Salad

It’s not very often that I am inspired by a meal I have during a meeting at work, but today was an exception. An outside caterer brought us a salad in a cilantro cumin dressing, and it was such a great combination that I had to make my own version. Here is a southwestern spin on the classic potato salad, made with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise to save some calories and add protein.

Cilantro Cumin Potato Salad

Cilantro Cumin Potato Salad

2 sweet potatoes, cubed
6 red potatoes, cubed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 avocados, cubed
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved long ways (I also squeezed the juices out)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Dressing Ingredients
1 5.3 ounce container of Greek yogurt
2 tbsp half and half cream
1/4 tsp cumin
5 tbsps fresh cilantro, minced
1 tsp minced garlic (you may want more, but start with this)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp white vinegar
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro Cumin Lime Potato Salad

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Put the red potatoes and sweet potatoes in a roasting pan. Cover with the olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and slightly brown on the edges.
  3. While the potatoes are roasting, make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients and whisking until smooth.
  4. When potatoes are done, combine all ingredients, cover with dressing, and mix until evenly distributed.
  5. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!

Watermelon Feta Mint Salad

The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer, which means it’s time for the beach, flip flops and barbeques. This is one of my favorite, Greek-inspired recipes that takes a summer staple and makes a unique and refreshing side dish for an outdoor party.

The combination of ingredients may seem a bit unusual, but the sweet and salty flavors of the fruit and cheese blend naturally, while the mint adds a subtle, refreshing finish to each bite.

I recently served this to my Yia-Yia, who looked surprised and told me, “You know, this looks really odd, but it’s so delicious!” I hope you think so, too.

Watermelon Feta Mint Salad

Watermelon Feta Mint Salad
1/4 watermelon, cubed
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
6-8 leaves fresh mint, cut into small pieces

Combine all ingredients and enjoy!

Food for Thought: Produce Labeling

produce labelsYou know those little stickers on fruits and vegetables ? Well, as it turns out, the numbers printed on them have a meaning beyond price. Here’s a trick I just learned:

If the sticker has…

four digits, it is a conventionally grown product, meaning that it is grown with all the pesticides and fertilizers that organic produce lack
five digits and begins with an eight, it is a genetically modified food
five digits and begins with a nine, it is organic

I think this is especially useful for the genetically modified food groups, since grocers don’t put up signs for that the way they do for organic produce. You will also be able to tell if some produce is mislabeled as organic.  Be aware that there are some grocers who don’t follow these guidelines – but it’s a good rule of thumb!