Let’s talk Mac n’ Cheese. If we’re being honest, it’s a staple in most households, whether it’s Kraft or Annie’s. And if I’m being honest, Big M has had Annie’s Mac n’ Cheese a few times, until I started making it from scratch, including shredding the blocks of Cabot cheddar cheese (Cabot cheeses are certified halal due to the lack of animal rennet). However, we’ve been cutting dairy out for the last two years since Little M was born, since I had an inkling that he was dairy sensitive from birth. So, without dairy (and nuts), how do we enjoy Mac n’ Cheese?
Tis the season for all things squash-y. Last year was our first year as CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) members, and we received so much squash every week, that I truly didn’t know what to do with it. This year, my goal was to make sure we ate all the squash, not get bored, and actually enjoy it. Let’s just say last year’s spaghetti squash “pasta” was not enjoyable for anyone in our family.
Mac n’ Cheese and squash. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Insert vegan and nut free Mac n’ Cheese. Whaaaaat? I made this recipe, plated it and served it to my family excitedly and my husband said Mac and cheese? (He’s a cheese hater, he says it smells like dirty feet.) I insisted he try it before turning his nose up at it. And guess what? He was practically licking the bowl, Little M was definitely licking the bowl, and Big M said “it’s so-so, it’s not bad, it’s not good” but she still finished her bowl. What was the secret ingredient?
School is back in session, sports are picking up, and parents are running around like crazy! We’re dropping off there, picking up here, there’s back-to-back birthday parties, and school events. Is there even enough time to make dinner??
During Amazon’s Prime Day I ended up buying one of my (now) most favorite kitchen gadgets. It doesn’t really need a drum roll because I imagine by now you know I’m talking about the Instant Pot. I was wary of purchasing one really because I was concerned about the potential nutrient loss, but after speaking with other nutritionists, and doing my due diligence, I learned that all the delicious nutrients are actually preserved in the Instant Pot!
The day it was delivered I went out and purchased a whole chicken. I had never cooked a whole chicken before. This was GLORIOUS. The chicken was melting off the bone like butter. The flavor was amazing and, best of all, the children were eating it like I had served them a bowl of candy. Seconds? No problem! Thirds is when my husband and I made eye contact and silently knew this recipe (and the Instant Pot) would be an integral part of our lives.
• 1 – (3-4 pound) chicken, skin on, giblets removed
Spice Rub (Double, triple, quadruple to have some on hand for next time!)
• ½ tsp basil leaves
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp powder
• ½ tsp lemon pepper
• ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ½ tsp paprika
• 2-3 medium carrots, sliced
• 2-3 celery sticks, sliced
• 2 large potatoes (any kind), cubed
• 1 ½ medium-large yellow onions, diced
• 1 lemon, cut into eighths
• ½ bunch of parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
*Option * throw any vegetables that you have in the fridge. I’ve added yellow squash and bell peppers.
• 1 cup water/broth/stock
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil