Cook Outside the Box
Last week I received a Change.org petition to ask Kraft to stop using dangerous food dyes in our mac & cheese. Apparently Kraft does not use Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 in the mac & cheese they sell in other countries, including the UK, because of consumer outcry. I signed the petition and you can too at http://www.change.org/petitions/kraft-stop-using-dangerous-food-dyes-in-our-mac-cheese. There is also an interesting video you can watch by the organizers of the petition. According to their test, the UK version and US version look and taste the same, so why do we need dyes? You might also want to educate yourself about the reasons food dyes aren’t good for you. Reasons like “hyperactivity in children.” You definitely don’t need that. And, they may be contaminated with known carcinogens (a.k.a. an agent directly involved in causing cancer).
Instead of waiting on Kraft to change their product, you can make your own mac & cheese at home. Yes, you can cook outside the box! I did on Sunday and thought I’d blog you my results. As you can see from the picture, it looks great! I served it up with a spinach salad and a grilled organic chicken sausage.
Here’s the recipe, slightly changed from the one I found on Pioneer Woman’s website called Spicy Macaroni and Cheese. The whole meal took me 45 minutes to prepare—a little longer than my desired 30 minute meals, but worth the effort. You can even leave out all of the extras like red onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and chilies for the kiddos if you want and it would take less time to make.
Mac & Cheese
4 cups cooked macaroni (rice or wheat)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 finely diced red onion
Equal amount diced red bell pepper
1 finely diced jalapeno
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup half and half
1 to 1-1/2 cups grated cheese (Pepper Jack, Cheddar, or any other favorite)
2 tablespoons butter
Boil pasta until al dente. In a large skillet, add olive oil and saute garlic and vegetables over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add in canned chilies and stir around, then turn off heat. Drain pasta and add it to skillet. Pour on cream, add cheese, then add salt and pepper to taste and stir gently. At the end, add 2 tablespoons butter and stir again. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
The meal I made falls into my category of “healthy fast food.” Just as a reminder “healthy fast food” has the following requirements.
- Doesn’t take a lot of time.
- Has to be EASY!
- Not expensive. (this recipe was less than $5 per serving!)
- Tasty and delicious.
- Good for you (loosely defined on purpose)
- When possible, it includes ingredients that can be found locally and are seasonal.
If you have healthy fast food recipes or suggestions, please send them my way.