Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Mediterranean Macaroni and Cheese

I wanted to make dinner for Maw and Paw (my husband's grandparents) while we were visiting, so I brought along a recipe to try. They enjoyed being a part of my cooking endeavor. My friend Shannon came to eat with us too. It was a great dinner.

Mediterranean Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 6

If you like, add canned tuna, browned ground meat, or cooked chicken when you stir in the feta. This dish is delicious right out of the oven or at room temperature.

* Course salt and ground pepper
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
* 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
* 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 8 ounces elbow macaroni
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 cups whole milk
* 8 ounces feta, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large pot of salted water to boil and butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, and oregano.

2. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions; drain pasta and return to pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens, 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in 4 ounces feta. Stir in tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over pasta; stir to combine.

3. Pour pasta mixture into dish and top with 4 ounces feta. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese begins to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

found in Everday Food Magazine April 2010

From My Experience:

This recipe appealed to me because I LOVE olives! When I was pregnant, I craved salty things and green olives hit the spot. For this recipe, I didn't have Kalamata olives plus I wanted more of them in my dish so I used 1/3 cup each of black and green olives, sliced. I also always try to cut calories whenever I can, so I used 2% milk instead of whole and reduced-fat feta (which still has the tangy bite I love). I didn't see the need for more fat by buttering my dish so instead I used plain old cooking spray. I served it with seasoned chicken tenders, salad, and garlic bread.
Overall the macaroni was very easy to make and quite tasty; everyone loved it! I think I needed some more salt on my portion and Jake (my husband) ate his 3 helpings with chicken on top. Maw thought it would be an excellent dish to take to a potluck get-together. Paw didn't have much to say, but he enjoyed in nonetheless. And Shannon said she was surprised, she liked it more than she thought initially. She said the black olives won her over. So my taste-testers agreed that the recipe was delicious and the hubby said I could make it again for us at home. I'd say it was a success!

1 comment: