Jamie says: I cooked a tasty and unique birthday dinner for my good friend Danielle. She was the first friend I made when I moved to my new city. I already had plans on the date of her birthday party, and I wanted to do something special for her, so I got cookin’!. (So now you know if you want me to prepare a meal just for you, invite me to something I can’t attend… just kidding.) Happy birthday month to my friend, Danielle! (Yes, you should celebrate the entire month of your birthday!)
I warned her that I’ve never made this meal before (I don’t often make exactly the same meal twice), but luckily it turned out quite good. Say hello to some Homemade Mac & Cheese with Pork ‘n’ Onions, Broccoli, and Balsamic Glaze.
This isn’t quite your boxed mac and cheese (although Kraft mac and cheese does bring me back to my childhood.)
Homemade Mac & Cheese with Pork ‘n’ Onions & Balsamic Broccoli
- 8 cups water
- 8 oz elbow macaroni (Publix)
- 1 lb bag chopped broccoli
- 3 Tbsp buttery spread (Smart Balance original)
- 1 3/4 cup shredded reduced fat colby & monterey jack cheese, with added calcium (Kraft)
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Filippo Berio)
- 3/4 lb pork sirloin cutlets (Publix)
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut (California Sun Dry)
- dash salt
- dash freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic glaze (Gia Russa)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large pot with a steamer basket, bring water to a boil. Add macaroni to water and place broccoli in veggie steamer basket. Steam broccoli for about 7 minutes or until broccoli is soft. Cook macaroni for 11 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain water from macaroni and discard. Place macaroni a baking dish. Stir in buttery spread and cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop onion. Pour extra virgin olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Brown onions, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes.
- Chop pork. Add pork to onions. Stir. Cook for about 4 minutes, placing lid over pan and stirring occasionally, until pork is cooked throughout. Add sun dried tomatoes, salt, and freshly ground pepper.
- Assemble meal: divide macaroni and cheese among four bowls followed by broccoli and pork with onions. Top with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Enjoy (and celebrate)!
- Nutrition note: Healthy choices and substitutions add up. To make this mac and cheese better for you, I choose a loin cut (like sirloin) for a leaner cut of meat and used a small portion (less than 1/4 lb per person); used a trans fat free buttery spread, selected a reduced fat cheese, and added vegetables. Did I mention 4 food groups are covered by this meal, too? (Hint: you may have read it in the last picture’s caption.)