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Whole Foods Food Blogger Recipe Challenge

29 August 2008 2,018 views 3 Comments

As a new food blogger, I can’t seem to contain my excitement to tell everyone about this new project. I’m having so much fun! The other night I was at a happy hour and was talking to some folks about social networking, twitter, blogging, etc. when I learned that Whole Foods is having a contest for food bloggers to create a recipe for under $4.
Last night, my friend and colleague Lindsay and I met Statesman food reporter Addie Broyles and some other fun people at an “Apps with Addie” event at NXNW in the Arboretum. That’s Lindsay in the photo about to enjoy a flight of beer. We had a great time talking about the local food scene, brainstorming ideas for a “food triathlon,” and laughing like we were all old friends. I actually did see an old friend there, the wonderful Mary Louise Butters of local brownie fame!

From there, we stopped in to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for the contest. Lindsay has an awesome new blog called “Apron Adventures” and she is entering a mouth-watering recipe for Asian Ginger Steak.

I was too excited to sleep so I decided to just go ahead and make the recipe — I didn’t finish until midnight. It’s adapted from mom’s delicious and comforting baked ziti but I put my own spin on this crowd pleaser:

Midnight Mac ‘n Cheese
$2 or less/serving – 10 servings

16 oz. package organic whole wheat pasta shells
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz. monterrey jack cheese, grated
3 c. tomato juice
2 heads broccoli, florets only
1/2 c. butter
1/2 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. cornflakes, crumbed

stirringPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring 5 quarts water to boil in a large pot, add a pinch of salt, pasta shells, and stir. Boil uncovered for 15 minutes or until soft, stirring every couple minutes.

Strain and then pour pasta back into the pot. Stir together grated cheeses, broccoli florets, 2 cups of tomato juice, paprika, salt and pepper, and 1/4 c. butter.

Pour into a greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish or equivalent (I used two casserole dishes instead).

Melt 1/4 c. butter in large pot and mix in 1 1/2 c. cornflake crumbs. Spread mixture on top of casserole. Pour remaining cup of tomato juice and sprinkle remaining cornflake crumbs to finish.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes uncovered. You may want to turn on higher heat for last 5 minutes to crisp.
Note: Pasta, cheeses, tomato juice, and butter are all available in Whole Foods 365 brand. The paprika and cornflakes were from the bulk foods section. I used salt and pepper from home. I bought whole cornflakes, put them in a freezer bag, and smooshed the bag until they turned into crumbs. To save money, buy blocks of cheese and grate yourself or use frozen broccoli instead of fresh. One of my favorite things about this meal is that you don’t need to wash a lot of dishes when you’re done — you only need 1 large pot, a baking dish, a spatula, strainer, knife and cutting board and you are good to go.

Ingredient cost break-down:
Pasta, $2
Cheeses, $6
Tomato Juice, $1.15
Cornflake Crumbs, $2
Butter, $0.61
Broccoli, $3.69
Paprika, Salt, Pepper, $0.40
Total per person: $1.56 (serves 10)

UPDATE: I just learned that as one of the first 100 bloggers to submit a recipe, I won a $25 gift card to Whole Foods! Fun :-)

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  • Anonymous

    Hey cute food blogger,
    Midnight Mac-n-Cheese looks great! Way better than the bachelor chow I usually eat, plus, I think I can actually make it. Probably shouldn’t chance it though…I better just stick to your rendition instead.

  • Jordan

    This looks like the perfect dish for our family. Thanks, Ms. Food Blogger, you are the best.

    Btw, NXNW is like 5 min from my house.

  • Alena

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.