Thursday, February 19, 2015

Homemade Pasta Roni Shells & White Cheddar (A non-processed version of one of my faves)

I gotta say first off, thanks a TON for your brussel sprouts ideas from Tuesday's post! I feel slightly hopeful now that we could possibly like that veggie. (haha, because that sentence sounds so convincing right?!)

I'm going to take your ideas and give them a go later this week, but TODAY, today y'all, I am just a little too excited about this recipe I came up with for homemade shells and white cheddar.

Here's how it started:

Ryan started solids, which inspired me to read this book, which got on this kick to eat healthier and "real"-er (i.e. more veggies and less processed food), which then made me pay attention to the ingredients section of the foods we eat most often, and it was then that I had a major moment where I realized there were not a ton of things that I was eating that I would feel comfortable giving to Ryan at this point in his early eating life.

The main meal I eat often and LOVE as a side? (or a lunch... love it as a lunch):

Gah, I love that box of powdery pasta goodness.

In fact, if you scroll through my recipes, you'll see it as a side in a LOT of our meals.

So last night, I was making my sloppy joes:

(Oh, what do you know?! Look at what side is sitting right there next to those joes)

And I decided to make my own shells and white cheddar.


I realize I'm totally tooting my own horn here, but they were SO good! 

And it didn't take any longer than it does for me to make the boxed version. I mean, I really don't know that I ever need to buy the box again, they were so delish! 

So, even if you're not on a crazy ingredient-reading kick like I am, you still need to give this recipe a try. I'm pretty positive you and your kiddos will love it!

1/2lb pasta shells
2T butter
1/2 cup pasta water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup 6-cheese Italian shredded cheese (I buy Publix brand)

Bring salted water to a boil (maybe 1/2T of salt or a little less). Cook pasta according to box directions. Right before the pasta finishes cooking, reserve half a cup of the pasta water before draining. 
(I do this by transferring the pasta to the colander and quickly holding the colander back over to pan to catch about 1/2 cup of the water back into the pan, but you could also just scoop out 1/2 cup if you want an exact measurement.)

Return the pan to the burner (on medium heat at this point), add butter and cream, and bring to a rolling boil. Add cheese and stir immediately, continuing to boil for about 30 seconds while you stir. 

Reduce heat to low, add pasta back to the pan, and stir. 

Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for a couple minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken as it sits.

That's it! 

I've also done this with other cheeses like shredded sharp cheddar (shown in the picture above with creamed spinach and Publix marinated steak kabobs). 

The only one that gives me trouble is mozzarella or a blend that has mostly mozzarella in it because it makes the sauce stringy.

Hope you give it a try and love it!

Tomorrow I'll be back with a non-food-related post. ;)

One more day til the weekend!!



  1. Oh man, shells and white cheddar used to be a favorite of mine! I gave up all that processed stuff (the best that I could) and now that you shared this recipe....I really think I am going to have to try it!

  2. Woohoo! We speak the same love language for pasta! I used to love powdery Mac and cheeses until I read an article and kicked it fast!! Isn't it so easy to make yourself! And as an added bonus, you forget about all those carbs because you made it from scratch! ;-)

  3. I can attest that this is even better than the box! Deeelish!

  4. We eat boxed meals soooo much in our house. I should really follow your lead and try to make my own.