Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mah-valous Mac N Chee (and slow cooker black beans!)

This is something I created for my son, and ended up LOVING it myself!! Logan is super into food these days, and I am enjoying it because I know it may not last- kids will be kids and there could be an "I'll eat nothing but PB&J 3x a day" phase right around the corner. His very favorite foods are avocado, hummus, banana, blueberries, black beans and of course #1: CHEESE.

I started making the black beans in our crock pot because they are really way less expensive that way and I have a TON to make freezer meals and usually a whole weeks worth of food with em each time I do a batch! (I just made another batch today and will do a post soon to show you how much you get for very little $$)

For the love of cats, feel free to use a can of black beans for this recipe- pre-child I sure as heck would have, it definitely cuts down on the time/work involved a bit. However, if you wanna give it a whirl, it is pretty easy. One of my all-time FAVORITE sites explains it best: A Year Of Slow Cooking: Dried Beans in the Slow Cooker Tutorial . Also, I had no idea kidney beans had a funky toxin, so the post was helpful and learned somethin' new!

Also- I sometimes use broth instead of water when cooking the beans, I've used the organic chicken and veggie broth from Trader Joe's and love both. Just an option.

Here is what you will need to make the Mac N Cheese:

1 16oz bag of Organic Brown Rice or Whole Wheat pasta
6-8 mushrooms, chopped in to little bits
1/4 of a white or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 BIG handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
1 cup or 1 can cooked black beans
2-3 cups shredded cheese
water to boil noodles
Olive oil

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan, add onions, and mushrooms- keep on med/low heat while you make the pasta.
Bring water in a medium sauce pot to a boil on the stove & add pasta- cook according to package directions for the little ones so it's not to tough to chew or for grown-up pasta, about 1 minute less than max cooking time recommended on the package.
When the pasta is ready, reserve 1/4 cup of the starchy water then drain the pasta.
Add the black beans to the onions- add salt & pepper to taste- stir about 5 minutes, till everything is hot.
Put the  pasta in a large bowl add the 1/4 cup of pasta water.
Add everything from the satuee pan and the spinach and the cheese- stir til melty delicious & enjoy!

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