It’s been raining relentlessly for the last few days. Not a drizzle but a consistent downpour. Doing anything outside is impossible, so I’m stuck keeping myself busy inside until the weather improves and I don’t anticipate that happening anytime soon.
I’ve been craving comfort food. Something warm, rich, and savory that I can eat while wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, binge watching my favorite shows. What’s more comforting and all American than baked macaroni ‘n’ cheese with BBQ riblets?
Both recipes are pretty quick and easy to make. Prepacked seitan can be found in most grocery stores but I think it’s way overpriced. It can be made at home for a fraction of the cost and you can customize it anyway your heart desires. Seitan is made from vital wheat gluten and can usually be located in the bulk section (I get mine from Fred Meyer) of your grocery store.
I start with the riblets first so they’re in the oven and done around the same time as the macaroni. Mix together the dry and wet ingredients separately before combining together. Use your hands and knead ingredients for a few minutes. It will form a very pliable dough. Press into a lightly oiled baking dish and cut into 16 pieces with a sharp knife. It’s not necessary to cut completely through the seitan. A rough score mark will help the pieces separate after being baking.
The riblets will start to brown and puff up during the first 20 minutes in the oven. Pull them out and generously brush with the BBQ sauce. It’s not necessary to use the full cup of sauce. Return to the oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Begin preparing the macaroni ‘n’ cheese while the riblets are baking. Boil about 3 cups of noodles according to the directions on the box. Drain and add to a 9×9″ baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients (expect bread crumbs) in a blender. Pour over noodles and top with bread crumbs. Cover and bake for 10 minutes. The riblets will be nearly done at this point. Turn on broiler, uncover, and bake until bread crumbs are brown and crispy – about 5 minutes.
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
- 2. In a blender combined nondairy milk, water, oil, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, paprika, garlic powder, tofu, mustard and salt until well incorporated. Set aside.
- 3. Boil noodles according to packaged. Remove from pan, drain, and transfer to 9x9" baking dish.
- 4. Pour sauce over noodles and top with bread crumbs.
- 5. Cover pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake under broiler for an additional 5 minutes until top begins to brown.
- 1. Preheat oven to 350° and lightly coat a 9x9" baking dish with oil.
- 2. Mix the dry ingredients together (vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and onion and garlic powders) in a bowl.
- 3. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, incorporate wet ingredients (broth, liquid aminos, tahini, liquid smoke).
- 4. Add the wet ingredients to dry and mix ingredients together for a few minutes with hands.
- 5. A very pliable ball of dough should form. Press it into the baking dish. Use a sharp knife an score into 8 pieces and then again across these strips to form 16 pieces.
- 6. Bake for 25 minutes. The riblets will begin to brown and puff up. Remove from oven and brush liberally with BBQ sauce. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- The riblets might be slightly soft if eaten after being removed from the oven. I find that they firm up nicely once they've had time to cool.