March 24: Mac & Cheese, Greek Salad & Protein Cookies

It is officially spring and I am so excited! The sunny days make me feel so inspired and alive. Plus, now that the time has changed for daylight savings time, sunset is at like 8pm which is amazing. Anyways, I hope you are just as happy about warmer weather as I am, and now let’s get on to the food of the week!

Baked Mac & Cheese:

I made this on the weekend to celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary. We had brunch and this was the perfect side dish for bagels and lox. I usually prefer regular mac and cheese – without the baking – but this one was pretty amazing. Recipe is from The Chunky Chef website (link here).

It starts off pretty normal with a roux and then adding milk (and cream) and then a ton of cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar). The sauce is flavoured with garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper.

Once the cooked macaroni is mixed with the cheese sauce, it could be eaten like that, but like I said, this one is baked. You put half of the cheesy pasta in the bottom of a baking dish, sprinkle cheese, put the rest of the pasta then more cheese. I also added a little panko bread crumb on the very top for extra crunch.

It only has to bake long enough to melt all the cheese and get golden brown on top. This turned out incredibly. It was so indulgent and my whole family loved it.

One note on the recipe: I made half of the written recipe because I used a smaller baking dish BUT I used 50% more pasta. The ratio of cheese sauce to pasta would have been way off so I’m glad I made this adjustment.

Greek Salad:

I think Greek might be my favourite kind of salad. I love the salty feta and kalamata olives. It’s also just so colourful with the veggies. I omitted red onion because I didn’t have any and I just don’t love the flavour of them raw. This was so delicious and colourful. I had this as a side dish but you could also add some protein to make it a meal in itself – I would suggest cooked chicken breast or chickpeas.

I also prefer to make my own dressing because I really believe homemade tastes better and it takes 5 seconds to make. Mine has olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, oregano, salt and pepper. The ingredients are very traditional and it is all nicely balanced.

Protein Cookies:

I’ve been looking to do more baking with my protein powder. I haven’t done anything since I made the protein oat bars back in January (post here). I found this recipe for protein cookies from Chocolate Covered Katie (link here) and it seemed easy enough to make.

The recipe is simply peanut butter, protein powder, sugar, salt and chocolate chips. The dough wasn’t coming together nicely – very crumbly – so I added a splash of water just so it would hold together. Plus, the amount of chocolate (1/2 cup) was a huge amount for this so they were all falling out when trying to form the cookies.

They baked up well I guess, they didn’t spread or flatten like a regular cookie would. Once cooled down, they firmed up but they were still quite crumbly and messy to eat. I think this dough needed more moisture to come together better but the taste was pretty good. It just tasted like a peanut butter cookie.

With all the chocolate in here though, these cookies come out to almost 300 calories (based on the ingredients I used) and I think that’s pretty high for a little snack like this. If I were to make these again, I would severely cut down or omit the chocolate and that would make these a healthier snack. I did appreciate that they didn’t taste like chalky protein though, the peanut butter did a great job of covering up that flavour.


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