Monday, December 10, 2012

Runaroni and Cheese (+ Giveaway)

by Meghann on December 10, 2012

Do you know what’s better than a big bowl of pasta before a big race? A big bowl of pasta shaped like runners and running shoes.

Introducing “Runaroni” from your friends at Brooks, where “Run Happy” and “Carb Happy” collide!

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How awesome is this?!

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Reason why I am a marketer’s dream: I’m not even a huge fan of pasta, but as soon as I saw the Brooks Facebook page post about their “Runaroni” handouts at the Chicago marathon last October, I instantly wanted it. The pasta was part of Brooks new Carb Happy, Run Happy-themed race expo booth that is now making its way to different race expos around the country.

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You’ve got shoes and you’ve got carbs – what more does a runner need?

Brooks took notice of my mini freak out of the Runaroni picture (there were a lot of exclamation points involved in my excitement) and sent me a package of the Runaroni as part of the ambassador program with the challenge of making something fabulous with it.

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First thing that came to mind?

Runaroni and Cheese!!

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I quickly googled “healthy macaroni and cheese recipe” to make sure I nailed the mac and cheese baseline of this dish. Ellie Krieger’s Macaroni and 4 Cheeses won me over in the search results. I had all the ingredients on hand, and I appreciated the addition of the squash to the sauce to lighten it up a bit.

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I used Ellie’s recipe as a base, but made a few changes:

  • I halved everything. The initial recipe made enough to feed an army; I just needed enough to feed the two of us and not leave us with a month’s worth of leftovers. Even after halving the recipe, more than half the dish is still remained.
  • This was a two cheese dish, not four. I had cheddar and ricotta on hand, so that’s what I used.
  • I added sumer squash and ham to bulk the mac and cheese up a bit.

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I also added an additional 5 minutes to the prescribed baking time and added green onion to the top when everything was done.

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The final results:

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I tried really hard to find a cooked running man or shoe shaped pasta to put on display, but the shapes were sort of deformed after the cooking process.

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The dish was delicious. The addition of the butternut squash prevented the mac and cheese from being too rich or cheesy and gave it a nice balance of flavor.. I’m also happy I added veggies and ham, they gave the meal some much needed staying power. Without the veggies and meat, the pasta wouldn’t have been enough on its own.

This might be too heavy of a dish to eat before a big race, but I’d say the night before a 4 mile run was just right. I just wish the shapes would have kept their shape through the cooking process. :)

Runaroni Giveaway

Have a big race coming up and need some inspiration in the form of pasta in the shape of running shoes? Need a good gift for that special runner in your life? Just like pasta? Well… look no further – I’m your girl.

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Brooks has given me one package of Runaroni to give away to a lucky reader. I think this pasta is just plain fun and worth putting on display at any runner’s kitchen (or eating for luck before a big a race!).

To enter to win the package of Runaroni, just leave a comment below with what you would do with the Runaroni (art project? soup? I mean, it is macaroni x-mas ornament season after all! ;)).

You have until Wednesday at 8:00am to enter, this is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

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