Making Macaroni cheese is a regular meal in our house, its easy, delicious and is that all round comfort food I remember fondly growing up - don't tell mum but it was her best dish by far too! What's honestly better than an oozing bowl of golden flecked cheese loaded pasta?! With this particular version I kept it very simple - its cooked all in one pan - always a winner when there is less washing up - and made a few little extra additions in the form of stuffing some gorgeous giant red peppers I had picked up with it, along with adding a packet of ready to use shredded Ham Hock I bought from Aldi! Its the first time I'd picked it up and it was such a handy cheat ingredient!
You might notice the peppers in the photo above are in a loaf tin - its the best way I find of baking stuffed peppers, it keeps them upright and the filling on the inside!
Now I did make a bit of a boo-boo with my grocery shopping - after getting everything ready I went to get some greenery from the fridge and I had completely forgotten to buy any green or similar veggies! My friend C who lives next door also had nothing of use, we tend to go shopping together so had both failed by weird coincidence! After rummaging again through the fridge we quickly discounted the vac-pack beetroot as being a bit odd as a side, same with the sweet potatoes as not really going either and in the end I cooked some part-bake rolls and in fact, they were great as I ended up using them to make a stuffed sandwich with the cut open stuffed pepper. Yes its a bit carb on carb but it was oh so good too!!
This batch of mac n cheese makes quite a lot - I only had two peppers to be stuffed, the rest of the pasta got baked as normal in an oven tray - I reckon it would easily fill at least 6-7 peppers if wished!
1 pint milk
1 pint vegetable stock (I always use Marigold Bouillon)
110g ready Ham Hock
2+ large red peppers1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
60g grated extra mature cheddar
35g chopped butter
35g plain flour
20g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pre-heat oven to 180o (Our thermometer is long time not accurate - it should be fairly hot!)
In a large saucepan, bring the milk and vegetable stock to the boil, add the macaroni, cover and simmer for 12 minutes or until packet states.
Turn the heat up slightly, stir in the butter and flour until thickened, then stir in the mustard and ham hock, season to taste, then add 3/4 of the cheese and the parsley.
Meanwhile, carefully remove the lid off the pepper, remove the seeds, return the lid, spray with oil and place inside a loaf tin. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
When the macaroni is ready, carefully stuff the peppers and sprinkle a little extra cheese on top and put the 'lid' back on.
Return to the oven for 25 minutes or until the peppers are cooked through and softened.
Serve with er, greenery. Or go carb on carb with a bread roll!
The best way I found to attack the peppers was halving them then eating in chunks!
Many thanks to Aldi who provided vouchers to cover the cost of my ingredients - the Ham hock is great!
Parsley is a herb I buy and sometimes struggle to finish using up but I had some spare and it seemed to work well with the cheese and ham flavours, so I have entered in this months Cooking with Herbs from Lavender and Lovage, this month its hosted by Lancashire Food:
A relatively new linky to me is also #CookBlogShare, this week held on Hijacked By Twins (such a cute blog name I think!)
If you fancy also stuffing some peppers, do check out these delicious links!
Red peppers stuffed with veggie haggis & Mushrooms from Planet Veggie
Or if you have no peppers, how about some chillies why not try these intriguing sounding Chocotos - Chocolate stuffed chillies from Tin and Thyme?
Keeping on the chilli theme you could also try these Creamy stuffed Jalepenos from The Veg Space