Last week I posted an amazing recipe for homemade, dairy free, gluten free, soy free ‘processed’ cheese. I say amazing not only because it tasted wonderful, but because it was also wonderfully easy to make and when it came time to put it to the test, it passed every one! In the week since my last post I have topped bowls of chili, made nachos and finally topped everything off with the delectable dish I will be sharing with you tonight.
I mentioned last week that I carefully make and design my dairy free daughter’s school lunches to match what is being served in the cafeteria so she can eat what all of her friends at school are eating, but in a way that is obviously safe for her to eat. As a mother with a child who has food allergies, I began to understand long ago the need for my child to feel ‘normal’, especially when it came to gathering with friends and breaking the proverbial (sometimes literal) bread. This task became seemingly more difficult when celiac became a reality for me, as I struggle with the idea of serving food to my children, much less other adults, which I have been unable to sample first.
How can I trust that what I am serving taste good if I am unable to taste it myself?
This consideration was just one of many that lead my family towards the decision to create a gluten free environment at home. As the primary cook for my family of 8, it is important that I be able to work freely and comfortably with the food I am serving my family. Like most, I do not have time to make two or three meals in order to meet the needs of our family, so instead, I must come up with ways to alter or ‘tweak’ our favorite foods so they are safe for everyone who will be eating.
Similarly, I do not have time for extensive or complicated recipes, though I refuse to become ‘stuck in a rut’ when it comes to the meals I serve. I suppose this blog is my way of helping others prevent the prevalent rut many of us get into when it comes to feeding our family, allergies or not.
Whatever reason you are here, I do hope you enjoy what I have to offer and look forward to hearing from you as well. Truly, this is an opportunity for a collective gathering of ideas and thoughts that can benefit many in ways we can only imagine.
Now, on to the food.
Mac and Cheese is one of those dishes that can be as extensive and gourmet as you wish it to be, but still just as delicious and comforting even in the most simple of forms.
This is not one of those extensive and gourmet versions of Mac and Cheese…I do have recipes for Mac and Cheese to that regard, and undoubtedly will share these with you in time. But tonight, let’s keep it simple.
As one of my readers mentioned last week, for many of us, it has been a long time since we have enjoyed the velvety creaminess products like Velveeta bring. I don’t know about you, but in my previous life, one of my absolute favorite comfort meals or simple side dishes was most definitely Velveeta Shells and Cheese.
Between my daughter’s milk allergy and my celiac disease, I thought surely this was one of those dishes that would simply remain a memory.
Sometimes life proves us wrong, and this is one of those times to be happy you were! This simple recipe proved the perfect solution to the Mac and Cheese side dish needed for my daughter’s school lunch earlier this week. At the end of the day, before even entering the car, Keili exclaimed “Mommy, that macaroni and cheese was THE BEST I HAVE EVER TASTED!! Can we have it again?” Ahhh the sweet sound of success…
Dairy Free, Gluten Free Velvety Mac and Cheese
8 oz Gluten Free Brown Rice Macaroni
6 oz Homemade Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free ‘Processed’ Cheese, cut into small cubes
1 Tbs Vegan Butter*
¼ c Dairy Free Milk**
In medium stock pot, cook gluten free brown rice macaroni according to box directions, drain well but do not rinse (macaroni needs to be warm for cheese to melt and the small amount of ‘pasta water’ that naturally remains will actually help the cheese to stick to the pasta). Return pasta to medium stock and over low heat, mix all ingredients, allowing cheese sauce to melt thoroughly. Remove from heat. Allow pan to cool for 5 minutes, sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve and enjoy!
Makes 2-3 main dishes, 6-8 sides.
Please note, there is no dye added to the recipe for the ‘processed’ cheese, thus the white creamy version pictured above. If you must have the traditional orange color to satisfy your visual needs (even though your taste buds will surely be satisfied without), simply use gluten free food coloring to change it up a bit. Anyway you look at it, a creamy satisfying dish awaits! Enjoy!
*Because margarine often has some form of milk protein in the mix, choosing a vegan butter which is free of animal byproducts is your best guarantee that your meal will stay dairy free. Our family enjoys Smart Balance Light not only because it taste good, it also provides additional nutrition not generally found in other margarines, and more importantly, is available at most grocery stores.
**Dairy free milk can be plain Almond, Rice, Soy or even Goats milk. For this, and many other recipes, I prefer Almond milk because of its smooth creamy texture and more traditional flavor.