When I was a child, my number-one requested dinner was shells and cheese. I loved the day-glo yellow cheeselike product that smothered the tuna and peas my mother mixed in, her attempt to add some nutritional value. I found the little shell pasta perfectly shaped to hold pools of sauce, and could eat three servings in one sitting. Unfortunately, as an adult, no matter how fondly I remember this popular kids’ meal, the reality just doesn’t measure up. I don’t know if the formula has changed or if my tastes have grown more sophisticated, but the same processed meal no longer satisfies and actually makes me feel a little sick. So of course I’ve been on a quest to create a healthy homemade version of this childhood favorite. I’ve learned that a simple butter roux makes a great base for a homemade cheese sauce. But I’ve spent quite some time searching for the perfect whole grain pasta shells. Imagine my excitement when I was offered an opportunity to review Barilla® Whole Grain pasta and opened my package to find a box of whole grain shells shining out at me like a beacon from the depths of packing paper and cardboard.
I’ve avoided writing about what’s going on in Japan. I want this site to be fun, informative and full of joy. Yet it’s hard to make your writing cheerful when your heart is breaking. I was planning a lighthearted post on picky eaters and vegetables, and playing with a way to make cauliflower appealing to children. Instead I just kept thinking “Comfort food, the world needs comfort food.” So I combined the two. This Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe is not only a kid friendly recipe, it combines cheesy cauliflower and macaroni and cheese, two of my favorite comfort foods. It’s also healthy, with cauliflower replacing the pasta and milk instead of heavy cream. If you just want the cauliflower recipe, feel free to skip to the bottom, I understand. If you want to read about my experiences doing disaster relief and how they’ve shaped me as a person, read on.