Homey Mac ‘n Cheese
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon flour
1/4 cup nonfat milk
3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons shredded gruyere cheese
1 clove minced garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
3/4 cup cooked macaroni pasta
1 cup steamed and mashed cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon whole wheat bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together butter and flour. Stir in milk and cook until slightly thickened. Add in cheeses, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together until melted. Stir in pasta and cauliflower.
Transfer mixture to a small casserole dish or divide evenly among 4 ramekins. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
I tried to plan ahead the day I made this, so I cooked the cauliflower and pasta earlier in the day. I steamed the cauliflower and then mashed it with a fork. I was out of macaroni, so I used wagon wheel pasta. Love these!
All that prep work really helped at dinnertime, because the kids were a little cranky and very hungry! It was very easy to make, and I really liked how I could just put everything in one pot. I did not have any gruyere cheese, so I substituted cream cheese (3 tablespoons) and that seemed to work just fine. I also only had plain bread crumbs in my pantry. My sister even went so far as to use whole wheat pasta, which I think is a fabulous idea.
I decided to make the mac and cheese in individual ramekins because my children always love it whenever I make mini-chicken pot pies in them. So, that was definitely a hit. No one could guess that the secret ingredient was cauliflower, not even my husband, who I thought had seen me mashing it up earlier. My children ate their mini-mac-and-cheeses heartily!
Now, I will readily admit that I am not a huge mac and cheese fan. Something about all the cheese and pasta together just is not that appealing to me. But I LOVED this mac and cheese! The cauliflower taste is very subtle, but I think what I really liked about it most was the texture. It was absolutely delicious! Somehow knowing that it was healthful too made it even more so. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!
Until next time,