Who doesn’t like mac & cheese? Even when J still had a bit of intolerance to dairy, she managed to scoff down mac & cheese. An easy meal that with a few changes, becomes the quick go-to meal that you know your child will eat any time.
Instead of the cheesy buttery sauce, I’ve swapped that for some pesto and tomato-based pizza paste, which gives the dish a fresh, light and herby taste. The addition of milk is optional, it just makes a bit more sauce for the dish. I’ve added ham and sausages for protein (not too much as overdoing the processed meat is not a good idea either) and vegetables for fibre.
Keep some in your freezer for those emergency dinners.
2 cups macaroni or other medium shaped pasta (like shells or spirals)
3 tablespoons butter
4 tbsp pesto
4 tbsp pizza paste
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup ham slices and sausages, diced
1/2 cup vegetables – mushrooms, courgettes
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 200C degrees.
Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
Add the pesto, pizza paste, milk, ham and vegetables, mix.
Add half of the cheese, mix.
Spoon the pasta into little ramekins or a large casserole dish.
Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.
Bake for about 7-8 minutes, until it is brown on top.
It happened to be my work’s third birthday a few weeks ago and in celebration I made these aqua blue macarons and paired them with my all time favourite – salted caramel filling.
I might have to make a salted caramel cake next, such is my addition to the salty sweet caramelly flavours. Watch this space!
Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder
a few drops of blue gel colouring
Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
I paired these with a salted caramel filling.
200g castor sugar
125ml fresh cream
50g butter, cubed
5g good quality salt flakes
A few drops of vanilla essence
Heat the sugar in a wide saucepan until it is melted.
Be really careful and wait for it to turn amber/ golden and slightly smoke.
Carefully add the cream in slowly, continuing to whisk but be aware of the resulting vigorous bubbling.
Add the butter in gradually until it is melted and combined.
Add in salt flakes and vanilla essence.
Cool in the fridge for a few hours.
Fill half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
If your salted caramel isn’t thick enough, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar until it is thick enough to spread.
The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze really well (up to 3 months). Turns out they are even better after freezing as the gooey salted caramel hardens up a bit more!