Not that we’re anywhere near a big holiday dinner, but I know for me I always have an issue with not having enough dishes for everything I’m planning to make. Enter Chinet:
Quick disclaimer – I did not receive compensation for this review, although Chinet gave me free products to test out. But all of the opinions, photos and the recipe expressed here are still mine, mwah!
When I first took the bakeware out of the box, I was impressed by how sturdy but light it felt. I mean, I wouldn’t cook a roast in it, but I felt like it could handle a decent amount of weight. In fact it seems perfect for casseroles, etc.
The bakeware comes in 4 different sizes and as a bonus, lids are included. The 9” x 13” includes two separate dishes, there’s a 2 quart oval size, that includes three pans (and is what was used in the recipe below), a smaller 1.5 quart oval size, which comes in a three pack and finally a square 8” x 8” which also comes in a pack of three.[divider_flat]
The bakeware is actually a paper based product, and the outside is a light green with a textured, paper feel. I’ll admit that when Chinet first contacted me to ask if I wanted to review the product, my first instinct was to say no. I try to be aware of how much trash/waste I’m generating, so it wasn’t until after I found out it was made from 90% post-consumer recycled materials that I agreed to do it.
As a bonus, since the bakeware is made from paper, it’ll work in the freezer, oven and microwave. One caveat is that it’s only oven safe up to 400 degrees F so don’t risk using it at a higher temperature or under the broiler. Another caution is that you can only bake in it once versus the typical disposable aluminum pans that you can wipe out and re-use over and over again.
Although I can definitely see how these pans would be perfect for a potluck, work party or any other gathering where you bring a dish. It’d be great to bake it at home, pop the lid on and then bring it to the party. And hey, if your dish is a tad bit cold upon your arrival, you can throw it in the microwave with no problems. When the night finally ends, there is no need to worry about leaving/forgetting your dish and having to go back to get it. If you do bring it home with leftovers, you can just put the lid back on and stick it in the fridge!
If you’d like to learn more about Chinet Bakeware – head over to their site and check it out.
But really, what it comes down to is how well did the bakeware perform? Now I obviously didn’t conduct super scientific tests, but I did decide to do one of the ultimate tests – macaroni and cheese which, in my world at least, is notorious with burning and sticking to the sides of the pan.
And I’ll admit – this bakeware performed fabulously, no sticking and I loved being able to put the lid back on and stick the whole thing in the fridge. So overall, this product is a recommend.
But let’s turn our attention to the food. To try out the bakeware I threw together a Chipotle Tomato Mac and Cheese to cook in it and said hello to super tastiness!
One quick side note – a chipotle chile is a dried smoked jalapeño canned in adobo sauce. It has nothing to do with the way a big well-known chain by the same name tastes. I say this only because I was out with some friends recently who were complaining that the chipotle sauce wings they’d gotten tasted nothing like the way the chain’s burritos do. Moral of the story – big burrito chain does not equal the taste of chipotles.
This macaroni and cheese gets spiked with tomatoes, chipotle chilies, green chilies and then rounded out with queso chihuahua and cream cheese to make a macaroni and cheese I wouldn’t mind eating over and over (and actually fought my husband for the leftovers of).
Note though, I personally find a lot of baked macaroni and cheese to be a bit dry (especially when they’re supposed to be healthy versions) so I made sure this one was anything but. After baking the Chipotle Tomato Mac stays pretty saucy, which I loved, but don’t expect it to really “set up” like a typical baked macaroni does.
Even though it’s a pretty generous portion size, I served mine with a small side salad just to get my veggie count in.
But enough of me talking – let’s get to the dish!
Chipotle chilies come in a 6 oz can. After I open them I like to take whatever is left in the can and blend it all together then pour it into an ice cube tray. Let it freeze and you've got perfectly portioned chipotle chilies at your fingertips! To reheat, I'll throw a cube in the microwave for 10 seconds before using it in any recipe.
- 6 oz uncooked pasta (penne, bowties, elbows, etc.)
- 1 ½ Tbsp white whole wheat flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- 5 oz queso chihuahua, divided (if you can't find queso chihuahua substitute full fat cheddar)
- 2 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
- 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
- 1 - 2 chipotle chiles, minced + 1 – 2 Tbsp adobo sauce (use more chipotles + adobo sauce for more heat)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tsp Mexican oregano
- ¾ tsp each: cumin, dry mustard and onion powder
- ½ tsp each garlic powder and soy sauce
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup whole wheat panko
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Shred cheese and set 1/4 cup aside for later. Set out cream cheese and cut into smaller pieces. Allow to come to room temperature while you continue with the recipe.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain but do not rinse.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, milk and bay leaf in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook 10 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; add cheeses, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Discard bay leaf then stir in seasonings (Mexican oregano through pepper). Taste and add salt and pepper or any other seasonings to taste. Add cooked pasta, stirring to coat. Spoon pasta mixture into a 2 qt baking dish coated with cooking spray and sprinkle reserved 1/4 cup cheese over the top.
- Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs until well combined. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
This recipe will be linked at the Newlyweds Recipe Linky