I am looking for the quick and easy dinners right now. As we have two weeks left before heading back to school we are trying to cram every last minute of fun we can into summer. I have been forgetting about dinner until 30 minutes prior to when my kids want to eat, which is 8-9 pm, so I can’t blame them for being hungry. This is so unlike me but I still have my list of menu options I can pull out when needed.
It is getting to be close to the end of the month so supplies in my pantry are starting to run a little low. I usually keep a three-month supply of items I use regularly on hand but during the summer I have been trying to shop less and use all the supplies we have to use the extra money for summer fun. We get paid on the last day of the month so I only have a few more days to make it through. I last bought groceries on the last day of July before my son declared he was becoming a vegetarian so I wasn’t fully prepared for this.
We still have 2-3 boxes of pasta and Aldi’s had a sale on cheese. $1.59 for an 8 oz block. So, I picked up a few bricks. We eat lots of cheese in our house. One jar of prepared pesto and we have dinner!
This was a yummy dish. It had tons of flavor and a refreshing basil taste. My children each ate two servings but were divided on whether or not they preferred stove top (creamy) macaroni and cheese to baked (custard or Southern style) macaroni and cheese. My daughter prefers the baked saying she believes it has a stronger cheese flavor and my son likes the stove top better because he prefers the creamy texture. To each his own.
Best part is this dish was on the table in well under 30 minutes! Love that I could start this last minute and it was ready in no time.
I served this dish with a substantial green side salad.
- 1 (16 oz) box pasta
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- 2 cups half and half (I used fat-free and it was fine)
- 3 cups cheese, shredded (I used 1 cup Parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup sharp cheddar)
- 5 Tablespoons flour
- 1 (6 oz) jar of pesto prepared or 1 1/4 cups homemade pesto
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil pasta according to package directions to al dente.
- While pasta is cooking in a second sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is completely melted add flour and whisk together for 3 minutes. Mixture will be thick and start to turn golden in color.
- Add the half and half to the flour mixture and continue to whisk. Return mixture to a slow simmer. Allow to simmer 5-10 minutes until mixture starts to thicken. Be careful NOT to rapid boil. Just when you think the mixture will never thicken, it will.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cheese to just melted.
- Pour sauce over drained pasta. Add pesto and stir well. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary, Serve immediately.