Velvetta Tomato Mac and Cheese

Velvetta Tomato Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Mac and Cheese is very popular right now. You go to almost any restaurant and it’s on the menu. This recipe is actually quite old. I’ve used variations of this recipe for at least 40 years. It is economical, relatively healthy and can be modified in so many ways, we could probably fill up a whole recipe book with all it’s versions. You can use this as a base or as is.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of elbow macaroni
  • 300 g of velvetta light cheese chopped into small pieces (11 ounces)
  • 1 cup of low fat milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 can of tomato condensed soup (I used Alymer low sodium)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of butter or margarine
  • 1 tbsp of cajun spices

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente and drain (reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
  3. In the same pot, melt butter and add onion. Stir until translucent and tender.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low, and add milk, water, tomato soup, and cheese.
  5. Stir until cheese is melted and this is a nice smooth sauce. If too thick, add a little milk. It might seem a little runny but don’t worry it will get absorbed into the pasta,
  6. Add spices, salt and pepper.
  7. Add pasta and stir to cover all of the pasta and make sure that the pasta is warm.
  8. Serve. That easy.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 437
  • Fat 8 g
  • Sugar 12 g
  • Carbohydrates 67 g
  • Protein 19.5 g
  • Fibre 5.1 g

So as you see this was easy peasy. This is a very economical meal. I looked at the prices for the cheese and the pasta vs Kraft Dinner. Mind you there is nothing wrong with Kraft dinner but there is more sugar, less calcium and vitamins and if you are not using generic mac and cheese, can actually be more expensive with Kraft Dinner. I’ve written a comparison between Kraft Cheez whiz, Kraft Velvetta light and Kraft dinner, see Economical Comparison of Velvetta, Cheez Whiz and Kraft Dinner. On the average you can make this for approximately 1.10 a plate. Now is the fun part, I was asked what about veggies. This is not a balanced meal and they were right. I suggested a nice green salad with this, or you can add spinach, steamed broccoli or streamed cauliflower. You can also add drained canned veggies or thawed and drained frozen veggies. All depends on your budget and/or tastes. If you want to add protein feel free to do so, including a very economical black bean or white kidney bean drained. This is where I tell you have fun and make it your own.

Gouda Mac ’N’ Cheese

Gouda Mac ’N’ Cheese

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A young chef (OSM) asked me if we could try this recipe together. Who doesn’t like Mac ’N Cheese? I said sure, why not. This turned out pretty good. We adjusted from the original recipe to reduce the fat content. This was made with left over cooked chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked chicken (1.5 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas (thawed)
  • 5 ounces of Gouda grated (just under 1 cup)
  • 3 ounces of Sharp Cheddar grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 avocados smashed
  • 1/4 cup of light margarine
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of milk (used nonfat)
  • 1/4 cup of panko
  • 1 lb of macaroni (454 g)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parmesean grated or shaved to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a large deep dish baking dish
  3. Cook macaroni until al dente and set aside in a very large bowl.
  4. Add chicken, avocado and peas. Stir well.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place margarine in skillet, add flour and make a roux. Whisk until smooth.
  7. Add milk and chicken broth, keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of skillet until thickened.
  8. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. (if sauce is too thick, add a little broth)
  9. Add in chicken, veggie and pasta and stir well to coat the pasta.
  10. Pour into baking dish.
  11. Sprinkle the panko on top evenly and add Parmesean if desired.
  12. Bake for 45 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 567
  • Fat 23 g
  • Sugar 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 54.3 g
  • Protein 43.3 g
  • Fibre 4.9 g

You can serve this with a nice salad. If you don’t have cooked chicken, you could use cooked turkey and if all else fails, use drained canned tuna. If you want some spice to it, add some cayenne or hot sauce. This recipe has so many possibilities. You can change the cheeses, the protein, the spices, so it’s all up to you. Have fun and make it your own.

Pasta Genovese CG Version

Pasta Genovese CG Version

  • Servings: 6 portions
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I always try a recipe as written the first time. Then I have fun and make it my own. One of the last recipes I posted was a recipe I found, Pasta alla Genovese. It was good, nothing wrong with it but it lacked a little something. Here is my version.

Ingredients


– 1 tbsp of olive oil
– 1 blade roast or cross rib roast of approximately 2 lbs or 0.8 kg
– 2 onion thinly sliced
– 1 onion soup mix package
– 1 tbsp of steak spice
– 1 tbsp of chilli powder
– 1 can diced tomatoes 16 oz or 540 ml(I used aylmer accent chilli, if you do, omit chilli powder)
– 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. In a stock pot heat oil.
  3. Brown meat on all sides.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cover with onions, spreading this evenly.
  6. Add onion soup mix.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix flour and beef broth until smooth.
  8. Add broth, steak spice, canned tomatoes, and chilli powder if you are using.
  9. Cover and cook for six hours.
  10. Once cooked shred meat with forks.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 260
  • Fat 10.9 g
  • Sugar 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates 9.6 g
  • Protein 29.4 g
  • Fibre 1.2 g

You can serve this over a pasta of your choice (or someone told me over rice is nice too), not calculated in nutritional facts. A nice green veggie or salad complete the plate. Now is your turn to have fun and make it your own. Let me know how you have changed it.

Pasta alla Genovese

Pasta alla Genovese

  • Servings: 8 generous portions
  • Difficulty: Easy
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You find recipes in different places, different books, for different reasons. This book was created as a fundraiser for the Fondation du CHUS during the pandemic. This is a University Hospital in Sherbrooke. The recipes were contributed and paid for publication by doctors, students, and celebrities. This one is from Neurologist Sylvie Gosselin.

Ingredients


– 2 tbsp of olive oil
– 2 tbsp of butter
– 1 blade roast or cross rib roast of approximately 2.2 lbs or 1 kg
– 10 cups of thinly sliced onions, approximately 10 large onions
– 5 ounces of prosciutto, or 145 gr chopped
– 8 cups of large pasta as fettuccini or spaghettoni (2 lbs or 1 kg)
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Parmesean grated or shaved to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. In a stock pot heat oil and butter.
  3. Brown meat on all sides.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cover with onions, spreading this evenly.
  6. Top with prosciutto.
  7. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 hours. Baste meat occasionally.
  8. Once cooked, remove from broth. Remove bones and shred meat with forks.
  9. In a separate pot, heat salted water and cook the pasta, per package instructions.
  10. During that time, put stock pot on ring and bring to a boil and reduce the broth to approximately 3 cups. Return meat to broth (if necessary).
  11. Serve over pasta and sprinkle parmesan over it.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 435
  • Fat 14.7 g
  • Sugar 9.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 38.9 g
  • Protein 40.3 g
  • Fibre 5.6 g

You can serve this with a green veggie or a nice salad. I always make a new recipe as indicated the first time. Then I adjust to our tastes by adding spices and such. That’s the way to have fun and make it my own. Your turn to do the same.

Ham Linguini Tetrazzini

Ham Linguini Tetrazzini

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This is a feel good recipe that is quick, serves quite a few or has quite a bit left over. This is actually a pretty light version of this recipe. Some of us have to watch how much fat we take in.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of 1lb or 450 gr of catelli linguini
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 cups of ham chopped
  • 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (low fat)
  • 1-1/4 cup of skim milk
  • 1/4 cup of coffee cream (10%)
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of grated low fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp of parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika

Directions

  1. In a large pot, cook pasta as indicated on package.
  2. Once cooked, drain pasta and return pot to stove.
  3. On medium heat, put 1 tbsp of oil in pot. Add onion, garlic and peppers and cook until almost tender approximately 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining tbsp of oil and add the ham. Stir around for about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add milk, cream, both cheeses, cayenne and stir well.
  6. Add flour and stir constantly, bringing up the heat. If too thick, add a little milk a tablespoon at a time.
  7. Once at desired consistency (saucy but not too thick), add pasta and stir. Make sure to coat completely.
  8. Sprinkle smoked paprika on top and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 424
  • Fat 13.9 g
  • Sugar 6.3 g
  • Carbohydrates 55.2 g
  • Protein 20.6 g
  • Fibre 3.3 g

This is a versatile recipe. You don’t have ham or you need to watch your sodium, you can sub for cooked turkey or cooked chicken breast. You can even do it with left over pork chops. You want creamier, and you don’t mind the fat or calories, change to whole milk and heavy cream. I serve this with a nice green salad on the side and it’s a great meal. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I like tacos, I like pasta, I had no tortilla shells or wraps, so I thought, what the heck. How can I go wrong. Here is a quick meal, hearty meal, a fun meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of penne 454 g or 1 lb
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 2 branches of celery
  • 1 cup of packed spinach
  • 1 cup of packed torn kale
  • 1 can of diced chili tomatoes (you can use standard but add 1 tbsp of chili powder)
  • 1 envelope of taco mix
  • 1 tbsp of white sugar

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef.
  2. Remove ground beef from pan and set aside. Put in vegetables in fat from beef and cook the veggies until still a little crispy.
  3. Add tomatoes and taco mix and stir until well blended.
  4. Add back the meat. Simmer on low heat.
  5. In another pot, cook pasta as per instructions on the box.
  6. Drain pasta once cooked, put back in pot and add the beef and vegetable mixture. Stir to coat completely.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 338
  • Fat 7.2 g
  • Sugar 4.3 g
  • Carbohydrates 50.2 g
  • Protein 20 g
  • Fibre 3.5 g

This is a quick meal. It is colourful. Nutritious. And most of all fun. If there are other veggies you’d rather, put them in. You can add jalapeño if you want spicy. You can sprinkle cheese on it if you want more of the taco feel to it. Serve it with a salad and you have a complete meal for 8. Remember have fun and make it your own.

Turkey Lasagna

Turkey Lasagna

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Lasagna is the true definition of comfort food in this house. Like most things, it is also so versatile. I love experimenting with it.

Ingredients

  • 12 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 30 ounces (2-3/4 cup) of béchamel or white sauce (see link), multiple recipe by three for lasagna dish
  • 16 oz of cooked turkey
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 30 spears of semi cooked asparagus
  • 4 ounces of shredded old cheddar
  • 4 ounces of shredded light mozzarella
  • 1/2 red pepper sliced thinly

Directions

  1. Cook lasagna noodles as required by package and rinse in cold water.
  2. Steam asparagus for approximately 6-8 minutes (until still firm but cooked)
  3. Prepare your white sauce (see recipe link)
  4. Shred your cheeses and mix well.
  5. Chop your turkey into small pieces.
  6. Put a small scoop of white sauce at bottom of lasagna pan.
  7. Place row one of three noodles, cover with 1/2 cup of sauce, add turkey.
  8. Place row two of three noodles, cover with 1/2 cup of sauce, add spinach and 1/3 of the cheese.
  9. Place row three of three noodles, cover with 1/2 cup of sauce, add asparagus.
  10. Place row four of three noodles, cover with remaining sauce, add cheese and spread the red pepper.
  11. Put in preheated oven at 350 for 30 minutes.
  12. If needed, put on broil for a few minutes if cheese needs to brown a little.
  13. Let sit for 5 minutes, cut and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 371
  • Fat 9.8 g
  • Sugar 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates 29.4 g
  • Protein 25.8 g
  • Fiber 2.6 g

I love lasagna. I’ve experimented a lot with this comfort food. This version has been a success. It is also quite filling. Serve it with a salad and you have a complete and healthy meal. Remember have fun and make it your own.

Lemon Vegetable Linguini with Salmon

Lemon Vegetable Linguini with Salmon

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A meal that looks good is always a sure way to make mouths water. The prep in this one is what makes the difference. I chop everything ahead of time because once you start cooking all three things cook at the same time. Multitasking is an asset here.

Ingredients bowl 1

  • 1 large onion chopped

Ingredients bowl 2

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients bowl 3

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 green pepper coarsely chopped
  • 1 red pepper coarsely chopped
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of lemon zest

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of linguini pasta
  • 1 1/2 lbs of salmon filet
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Parsley florets

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place fish on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put one tablespoon of lemon juice with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes. No longer.
  2. AT THE SAME TIME, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta per package directions.
  3. AT THE SAME TIME, heat oil in 6qt stock pot over high heat. Put in onion and lower to medium high.
  4. Once onion is softened, add bowl 3, cover and reduce heat to medium. Over the next 10 minutes stir occasionally.
  5. When spinach has reduced and peppers are a little tender add bowl 2 mix until heated through.
  6. Place pasta on serving platter. Top with vegetables. Remove the skin from the salmon and cut into serving sizes. I use 4 ounces per person. Add a floret for parsley on each salmon filet.

Nutrition Per Serving, 1 biscuit

  • Calories 546
  • Fat 14 g
  • Sugar 6 g
  • Carbohydrates 64 g
  • Protein 36 g
  • Fibre 6.3 g

It can be quite intensive doing all three at once. If you choose to do something ahead of time the best one is pasta. If you choose to do so, once the pasta is cooked, spray some cooking spray throughout so the pasta does not stick together. Just reheat before putting on platter. This has a very nice presentation. It’s relatively quick to make if the chopping is all done ahead of time, thus giving you time with your guests. Change the pasta, you can add kale, more lemon, less lemon, you can add some cayenne if you want some heat. Have fun and make it your own.