Sunday, October 16, 2016

Stouffer's Made Vegan!

Keeping an eye on things
None of the cupboards in my kitchen close all the way. Well, they close all the way, but they open very easily. Most mornings I wake up and every cupboard is open, and it looks like someone was desperately trying to find something. So, I caught little miss thing on top of the cupboards trying to open them from the top. Cats!!
When I was a kid, I never ate the mac and cheese in the blue box. My mom was a "clean eater" and avoided "processed" foods long before it was a thing. It's so funny, as a kid I HATED it, I wished so hard that I could have a "normal" mom who served food out of boxes and cans like everyone else. So, as a vegan I never crave the blue box mac and cheese, but as an adult in my pregan days I did fall in love with first Stouffer's, then Amy's frozen mac and cheese. Although Amy's does have a vegan variety, I don't buy it often because it's harder to find, and also it's expensive. But, when I crave the mac and cheese of my pregan days, this is what I want. I wanted to recreate that thick, rich, cheese-y sauce and plump, soft noodles.
I've made a lot of vegan mac and cheese, and I swear that coconut milk in the can is the secret. You can even use the light coconut milk, which I did here and it is still amazing. I think it's even better than a cashew based cheese sauce. Coconut milk has that rich fattiness that makes this so satisfying. I would serve this to any non vegan and watch their face light up with pleasure and surprise. I wrote down what I did, and even though it is very basic, it is sooooooooo good!

                                                      Stouffer's Like Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 T. tapioca starch
  • 3 T. nutritional yeast
  • S & P to taste 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 3 slices FYH American style slices (optional)
  • dash smoked paprika
  • 1/2 package pasta of your choice, I used classic macaroni 
While your cooking your pasta, mix together all ingredients except for the cheese. Make sure you whisk really well so there are no clumps of tapioca starch. Once the pasta is cooked, put it back in the pan on low heat. Mix in the sauce, and stir and simmer for two or three minutes. Tear the sliced cheese into small pieces and add them to the pot. Stir around, continuing to simmer. Turn off heat, and put a lid on your pot. Allow to sit for about five minutes. After the five minutes are up, take off the lid and enjoy the creaminess and richness.

Don't be scared when it seems like too much sauce at first. You want that extra sauce, because after it all blends, melts, and cools down it will be the perfect creaminess. This is the closest I've come to that traditional, creamy mac that every now and then I just crave. The American style slices helped give it that authentic, kid friendly taste I was going for. 

This is one of those meals I make myself when I need a hug. This is something I would make for someone who needs a hug. And it took under twenty minutes to make, and a lot of that time is downtime anyway. This is one of those meals you can whip up when you've had a long day and don't have the energy to cook an elaborate meal, but you still want delicious and comfort. This is delicious without the FYH slices, they just added a little extra love.
Etta interlude
I didn't show my grocery haul for this week, and even though it isn't super exciting, I thought I'd show it anyway.
Farro,red pepper, lemons, white beans, black beans, coconut milk, pears and 2 limes
green onion, ginger, parsley, cilantro, pineapple, spinach, bananas

coconut milk, garlic, dried cranberries, beets, and one jalapeno
Ginger, tofu, red onion and avocado
I've managed to find some great sales, so even though I'm on a budget, I'm not going crazy with boredom, and as we can all see I'm eating way less lentils than I usually do on a budget! One thing I've learned about shopping on a budget is to look everywhere for deals. I discovered three different areas at Natural Grocers where they put their clearance items. And you can find some out of this world deals there. And at Smith's, a lot of times they have things on close out sales, that aren't really advertised, you just kind of accidentally discover them as your milling around. So, always keep your eyes open, and put on your Sherlock Holmes hat when you're shopping, because sometimes these stores almost hide their sale items, so you have to really LOOK!
Today is going to be a rainy day in Salt Lake City. What I enjoy about this city is that when it rains, it storms. It's only rained a handful of times since I've lived here, like under five. But, before it rains it gets super windy and blustery. It reminds me of the thunderstorms we had in Ohio when I was a kid, especially the summer thunderstorms. Power almost always went out, and we would get out the candles and bunker down for a stormy, rainy day/night. Although we don't lose power(knock on wood) it reminds me of those times. It's still warm enough that my windows are open, and my cats go INSANE  with the bluster! Anyway, it makes me have a lot of different feelings. I'm going to hunker down and spend some time adult coloring today, my fridge is kind of bare!
Happy Sunday!

10 comments:

  1. OMG - that mac n cheese looks amazing! I've tried a bunch of different veganized recipes over the years and, many of them are very good, but none of them completely hits the sweet spot. I'm definitely going to try this one this week (I'm off to the grocery store momentarily).

    Etta sure it a beauty. It can be so difficult to photograph black cats to showcase their good looks, because their features can get obscured.

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    1. This is the closest I've come to a vegan version of super creamy mac and cheese. I seriously think the secret is the coconut milk from a can. I think it's the right kind of fattiness. And the FYH slices are perfect. Chao would be amazing too, especially since it's made with coconut oil.
      I have so many pictures of Etta that are just like one big blob, so I was happy this one turned out .

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  2. Ooooh, I will definitely have to try this; the coconut milk sounds like it will be great instead of a cashew base! Enjoy your rainy day & coloring! :)

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    1. I do love cashew based mac and cheese, but I seriously think coconut milk, or lite coconut milk makes the creamiest mac and cheese. And I was surprised by how well the lite worked here.

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  3. I love mac and cheese, though I am a devoted cashew-base fan. I have a low tolerance to coconut fat, so I need to be careful about how much coconut stuff I use in cooking. I only use light milk and in small amounts.
    I love finding great things on sale! I always try and remember to look at the clearance section in the supermarket, because I have got some great things there for cheap!

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    1. I love cashew based cheese sauces too. I actually thought of you when I made this, because I remembered that you can't have a lot of coconut.
      I love sales too, especially when it's food that is normally too expensive, or something that I've been wanting to try.

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  4. I really like the sound of this. I've been using the same recipe for a few years and have been trying to look for different ones. I tried the sunflower mac n cheese from Isa Does It last week but I wasn't keen. This sounds much more to my taste.

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    1. I tried the sunflower one too and it definitely was not my favorite. The coconut milk is just so rich and I think it really makes a very satisfying mac and cheese.

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  5. Mmm.... that mac and cheese looks good. I should pin that recipe because my nieces LOVE stoffers mac and cheese. Any birthday party they have my sister buys the huge family pack for all the kids to eat. Maybe it would be a great meal to trick any omni kids XD

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    1. Out of all the plant milk, and cashew based sauces I've tried, this is the closest to that thick sauce that I loved in Stouffer's. And it is so easy to make. I think the American style slices help too.
      I hope you make it and they love it!

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