It's been about 2 years since I had to give up dairy due to my IBS. Even though it's been worth it to avoid terrible stomach aches, I do miss some of my former favorite foods. My list of favorites used to include lasagna, ice cream, and most of all... mac and cheese. Homemade, Stouffers, out of a box... I'd take it anyway I could get it. My mom would often make me a big pan of mac and cheese for my birthday each year.
It had been over 2 years since I'd tasted my former favorite food.... until the other night. The only difference is that this mac & cheese didn't give me a stomach ache for 24 hours after eating it. This mac & cheese doesn't have any dairy in it at all but you could have fooled me. It had that thick, creamy feel of the real thing. It had noodles covered in a savory sauce. It had crunchy, buttery breadcrumbs on top. I looked forward to the leftovers as much as I had with the original. While I wouldn't say this mac & "cheese" tastes exactly the same as the original, it's so darned close that I nearly cried when I took a bite. I haven't been this excited about a meal/recipe in a long time. It's like spending time with a good friend that you haven't seen in years. Mac & cheese, oh, how I've missed you!
Charlotte, a fellow mac & cheese fiend, declared it "delicious"! We named it Magical Mac & "Cheese" because it has butternut squash in it but you can't taste it at all. Since Charlotte doesn't think she likes squash but she liked it in this dish, she thought that was magical.
Just before adding the buttery bread crumbs.
Magical Mac & "Cheese" (adapted from this recipe)
Preheat oven to 375*. Spray 9x13" pan with cooking spray. Put cooked noodles into the prepared pan.
Stir together the almond milk and the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, stir together squash, Earth Balance, almond milk/cornstarch mixture, nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture gets thicker, resembling cheese sauce.
Pour "cheese" sauce over the noodles in the pan and gently stir together to evenly distribute the sauce.
Melt the remaining 2-3 Tbsp. of Earth Balance and mix it together with the bread crumbs. Spread the buttery crumbs on the top of the noodles and "cheese". Bake until the crumbs start to brown (about 20-30 minutes).