With the start of the spring semester, my research assistant position, Quire rehearsals, and other miscellany in my life, it's been important for me to come up with some good, nutritious lunches that are easy to pack and reheat in the law building. For the first half of the week, I went with what is probably the best meal you can eat as a vegetarian (beans, brown rice, and steamed mixed vegetables), but after a few days of that I was craving something slightly more exciting. The great thing about this pasta recipe is that it's cheap, easy, and very easy to alter. Admittedly, fresh veggies would have been better than canned and frozen, but nevertheless it was tasty and probably cost less than a dollar per serving.
So here's the basic idea. First, I put some water on to boil and cooked half a box of mostaccoli pasta until just tender. While that was happening, I cooked a package of frozen broccoli in the microwave according to instructions. You could also do it on the stove, honestly I think it takes the same amount of time either way. When the broccoli was done, I threw it in my pasta drainer, along with a can of mushrooms. Fresh really would have been better, again, but beggars can't be choosers. Then I tossed my cooked pasta in and gave it a nice shake to make sure everything was well drained before returning it to the pot over low heat.
Next, in went the last of a bag of shredded cheddar, a healthy handful of grated Parmesan, and maybe about a third a cup of sour cream. Everything got stirred around until well mixed and the cheese was melted, and there you have it. The ideal version of this recipe, incidentally, comes from my mother. You want to use plenty of Cheddar instead of a cheese mixture, and she uses spaghetti usually for the pasta. The veggies are some sauteed onions and fresh mushrooms, and it's absolutely magnifique. One of my favourites growing up as a kid. You could also substitute spinach and garlic, fresh tomatoes, or a mixture of different coloured bell peppers. Whatever floats your boat, really!
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to readers in the States, and Happy Human Rights Week to everyone! If you have anything to spare, Amnesty International can always use your help.