“Black Dog” Mac and Cheese

Find recipe for GF “Black Dog” Mac and Cheese below.

I have a black dog. I think my black dog has followed me for most of my life; however, it’s taken until my thirties to acknowledge my constant companion for who they are and how they make me feel. Sometimes, the sheer consistency of my black dog makes me tired and I curl up into a ball and sleep for hours. Other nights, I’m hypervigilant because my black dog is so active that I can’t sleep (last night). Fear of my dog make me bite in self-protection and push other people away (i.e. today, with my partner). I don’t want them to have to pet my dog or worry about my dog jumping on their lap. Fretting about my black dog makes me cry unabashedly and at inopportune times (e.g., on the phone with my partner, today at work, while shoveling, and as soon as I walked in the door).

I know there are things I can do to stave off my black dog. They like to be well fed- I don’t necessarily mean steaks and caviar. Regular meals and snacks are necessary. I didn’t do that today. One waffle for breakfast, yogurt and granola for lunch, and nothing else until- well- now. Because my black dog was hungry, I felt pressured, hungry, irritable and sad. And, then, because I couldn’t articulate what was going on, I felt lonely.

It took me over 6 hours today to figure out that my black dog was tied to my waist with a very short leash. It wasn’t until I was walking in my front door crying while trying to figure out how to make it stop that I realized I needed to feed and take care of my black dog.

I used to self-medicate. Drink. Overeat. I try not to do those things now.

So, here I am: blogging and eating after cooking a healthy gluten-free meal. Instead of the papers I have to grade, I’ve planned to go to bed early with hot water and a book written by Jewish women across the world; it’s about defining/finding home. These themes are extremely important to me in life right now: Judaism, home, self-actualization, and community.

I will leave the grading for tomorrow morning  to complete while drinking coffee in my pajamas in bed, before I walk to work. And yes, to avoid the frustrations of the MBTA, I’ve decided to walk to work. The three miles would usually take me about an hour for a slow walk, so I’m banking on 90 minutes with the snow. But, my black dog loves exercise, so it’s not a bad idea. I’ll have to leave around 7:30am to make it work. So, early to bed and early to rise.

My meal tonight was inspired by a recipe from Running to the KitchenSweet Potato Spinach Mac and Cheese. I’ve had this comfort food in my sight and on my to-do list for a week now. Tonight, however, was the perfect time to make this meal. I changed it up to be quick, more plentiful in quantity (I wanted leftovers for this week and some to freeze), and gluten-free. So, here it is.

“Black Dog” Mac and CheeseMacaroni and cheese in cup with a fork

Ingredients

  • 2 medium/large sweet potatoes
  • I box (16oz) Gluten-free pasta (I used Barilla GF Rotini)
  • 2 cups unsweetened original almond milk (I used Blue Diamond Almond Breeze)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 cup low-fat mozzarella (shredded)
  • 1 cup smoked gouda (shredded)
  • 2 cups frozen kale (shredded)

Directions

  • Place the potatoes in microwave and cook until tender (about 6 minutes).Cup that says "Love my" and an image of a dog
  • Remove from microwave and, once cooled to touch, remove skin and place pulp in a large glass bowl.
  • Add 1/2 cup almond milk to sweet potatoes and mix in food processor or with a hand mixer until smooth.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the GF pasta and cook for 8 minutes (or until al dente)
  • Drain pasta and set aside in colander.
  • In the same large pan, over low-medium heat melt butter with garlic and red pepper.
  • Once melted, add chickpea flour, stir and cook for 30-60 seconds.
  • Add the remaining almond milk (1.5 cups) and whisk continuously until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add sweet potato mixture to the milk/flour blend and stir until combined.
  • Stir in both cheeses until they melt.
  • Add the pasta and the frozen kale.
  • Stir until the past is fully coated and the kale is mixed through.
  • Portion half into a container for freezing. Serve up dinner from the remaining Mac and Cheese. Refrigerate any remaining for lunches!
  • Note: Very yummy served with a couple of Al Fresco Apple Maple breakfast chicken sausage (chop up and mix in)
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Amanda Michelle Jones

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Connector of People & Resources

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