Panera Inspired Vegan Mac + Cheese with Pico de Gallo

Recently I have been spending dedicated time on Sunday’s to meal prep our dinners, snacks, and lunches for the week. I always go shopping first thing in the morning, then I come home and get to work. It’s very therapeutic actually. Cooking is one of the ways I handle anxiety. It keeps me calm. Cooking a meal for someone is a sign of affection. I’m putting myself out there in the form of time and food.

Before I go grocery shopping I plan out our meals for the week. As soon as I return from grocery shopping I plan out what I want to tackle first and in what order. I usually spend about 2 hours prepping what I can for the meals we are going to have the following week.

This has saved us so much time and energy during our busy work week. By the time we leave work, get the kids from daycare, get everybody home and in the house, settle the kids down from whatever set them off, we are exhausted.

There were weeks when we let the busyness of life get the bet of us and we wold order take out. Those nights add up. We found that when we make a meal plan and build our grocery list around that, we stick to it better. Now I’m meal prepping everything that I can on Sunday and we haven’t really run into any snags!

The more I can do to ease my anxiety during the week, the better it is for everyone.

Ingredients for Mac + Cheese:

  • Pasta of your choice
  • 1-2 cups of unsweetened nut milk
  • 3/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for Mac + Cheese:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Run cool water through it. Drain again. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter on medium heat.
  3. Add the unsweetened nut milk to the pan and whisk together. Reduce heat to low-medium.
  4. Add in the nutritional yeast and flour. Whisk together well.
  5. Add in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.
  6. Whisk together well. Add more milk if you want a thinner substance. Add more flour if you want a thicker substance.
  7. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  8. Pour over pasta.

Ingredients for Pico de Gallo:

  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • Juice from a lime (fresh squeezed)
  • bunch of chopped cilantro

Instructions for Pico de Gallo:

  1. Dice the roma tomatoes into small chunks. Place in bowl.
  2. Dice the onion into small chunks. Place in bowl.
  3. Add garlic and chopped cilantro.
  4. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the bowl.
  5. Stir everything together and let stand in the fridge for at least an hour.
  6. Once Mac + Cheese is cooked and ready, add the pico de gallo and enjoy!

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