Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lightened Mac'n'Cheese

Tuesday I told you about my treadmill running.  Today, I'd like to discuss running outside!  Long runs are best done outside. The monotony of the treadmill would make any run longer than four or five miles a chore. Boyfriend prefers running outside.  Mostly because he falls off the treadmill.  His legs are too long.  He also likes running in the rain and cold.  Something about "earning it."

My 8am, 6 mile run this Saturday took my from my apartment, down a wide street and through the park. It was exactly six miles, an out and back run with a loop through the park. On my outdoor runs, I keep track of my pace and mileage with MapMyRun+ on my iPhone. It tracks me with satellites and records my route down to the closest 1/100th of a mile.

The nice lady in the app tells me when I reach each mile and how fast I'm going. I know that if my pace drops below nine minutes per mile, that I need to pick up my feet for the next mile. The mile callouts are helpful when I'm doing an out and back run, rather than a loop.

When my workout is over, the app shows me my splits for every mile I ran, along with a terrain map. That way I can tell that lost a minute from my pace when I was heading uphill.

This weekend I'm heading to Buffalo to visit my parents and the Perry's ice cream factory. This means that I will be doing my long run in the Buffalo cold. I bought a hat and gloves just for the trip! I will even show my mom how to track me on her phone, just so she can make sure I didn't slack off and stop at my brothers house for a break!

Three and a half weeks until my half marathon and I'm looking forward to it! We'll see if BF joins me on my run, he's been too busy to train with me! Silly work is getting in the way. Now I just have to find the perfect running outfit and I'll be ready to hit the starting line.  I can tell you one thing, it will be neon and you'll see me coming!

Today I made you something ahead of time!  I've been spending a bit of time each Sunday, preparing a meal that BF can just put in the oven.  This way dinner can be on the table when I get home, with minimal work from either of us.  Starting in April this will be a biweekly post, so stay tuned for Make Ahead Mondays!  This week, I made you some lightened mac'n'cheese.  Yum.

One year ago: Homemade Buffalo Sauce
Two years ago: Poppy Seed bagels

Lightened Mac'n'Cheese
Adapted from Everyday Food

Boyfriend isn't a fan of spending lots of time in the kitchen.  Making a dish ahead of time is a win-win for both of us.  Neither of us really had to make dinner, it's ready when I get home and it's homemade.  This weeks Make Ahead Meal is a vegetarean mac'n'cheese, which would be amazing with even more veggies.  Add your favorites, I kept it simple because someone is dubious of too many vegetables.  Hint - it's not me...

1/2 pound tubular pasta, I used cavatappi
2 cups broccoli, cut into trees
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 ounces Neufchatel cheese
3 cups skim milk
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook 3 minutes less than package instructions.  Add broccoli and boil for 3 minutes.  Drain pasta and broccoli and set aside.  While pasta is boiling, make your cheese sauce.

In a large saucepan, add olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add onion, ground mustard and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Saute until onion becomes translucent, 3-5 minutes.  Add flour and whisk into the oil and onion.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add Neufchatel cheese, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until incorporated.  Slowly whisk in milk and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 3 minutes.

Whisk the white sauce and add the cheddar and parmesan cheeses.  Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper.  Add pasta and broccoli and toss to coat.  Transfer to a 8x8-inch pan.

To eat now: Preheat oven to 350 F.  Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs over macaroni.  Bake for 25 minutes.

To eat later: Cover pan with foil (or the lid) and place in the fridge.  On the day you want to bake the pasta, remove from the fridge and sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake pasta for 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly.
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