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Recipe: Mac and Cheese

My husband has been craving mac and cheese for the longest time, so I decided to make it at home, from scratch. When I started going on about what vegetables I want to add in it, he insisted that it’s “mac” and “cheese.” No vegetables.

Eventually, he agreed to try it with a vegetable, with one condition: that he doesn’t see it.

I was initially going to add some chopped peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, or similar vegetables. But for a vegetable he can’t see, I couldn’t think of anything else but the white beautiful cauliflower. When mashed, it can be creamy, and it’s surely a vegetable with many health benefits to satisfy my health-nut cravings!

And If you watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, then you might have seen him make mac and cheese in the schools and offer them with the  healthy lunch options. Weird? Not really! If you start mac and cheese with real fresh ingredients–whole grain pasta, real cheese, and low fat milk–instead of the powder-based, artificial color and flavor-based mac and cheese, you will have a totally different meal. Even without the addition of cauliflower!

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 c dry whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 c low fat milk, cold
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 c low fat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cook pasta according to package instructions. No need to add extra oil or salt at this point.

Wash the cauliflower, cut into large pieces, and boil until very soft. Drain the water and mash until very smooth.

Mix the pasta and cauliflower in an 8×8 baking dish. Stir in the canola oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and flour. Pour into a saucepan and continuously stir on medium heat (don’t go away) until it starts to thicken. This is one of the methods for making white sauce but without having to add butter (the other method, making a roux, requires that you cook the butter and flour, then add the milk). When the milk thickens, add the cheese, and continue to stir until all cheese has melted. Pour the milk and cheese mixture on top of the pasta and cauliflower. Mix well.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. If you like, broil for 5 minutes or until the top layer has a golden crust.

Homemade mac and cheese. Served as side dish with talapia, flavored with Garlic Citrus Teriyaki Flavor Magic Portion Control Sheets (Review will come up next!)

The Verdict:

So, did my husband like it? Yes. He thought the taste was really good, but, not the same (I would add “junky”) mac and cheese he knows. He said the cauliflower changed the texture a little bit. I loved it.

Try it out. You or your family might not notice a difference. And even if you’re going to pass on the cauliflower, make mac and cheese at home!

What’s more?

As you read this today, I might be already in the air. I don’t usually report all my travel to the blogsphere, but this time is different. I’m going to spend some time with my immediate family in Jordan where I grew up. Why am I telling you this? Because it will be reflected in the blogs I post: different food! And I’m excited about it! I already can’t wait to eat some May fruits that we don’t know here in the US, and many other dishes that my mom makes or are common over there.

So I will be injecting some travel and ethnic posts to my blog! I hope you enjoy them. And I plan to bring back some spices to give away, so watch for that later in the summer but let me know if there’s something specific you would like to win as a prize–as long as the US customs would allow it back in the US!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Crystal's Cozy Kitchen May 17, 2010, 5:50 pm

    Mac and Cheese is one of my husband’s favorite meals. I actually made a Cauliflower and cheese dish a few months ago (basically cook the cauliflower in the oven in a mac and cheese sauce. It was pretty good.

  • Nicole, RD May 19, 2010, 5:44 pm

    Wow, that looks delicious! I’ll be trying that mac!

  • shayma May 20, 2010, 10:25 am

    mmmm great idea, Nour, sneaking that cauliflower in! i love this recipe. also, nour, do you think you can do a post on what sort of snacks are good for us? i usually get very hungry between meals and reach for nutri-grain which i know is processed and has a lot of sugar. would love to hear some advice from you. xxx shayma
    ps and i want LOADS of more ethnic posts. my neighbours are Jordanian, Nour- they have invited me for dinner and i asked the lady if i could watch her cook- i am really excited. she just came to my door, knocked and introduced herself. i love arab hospitality and their (your) culture!

    • Nour El-Zibdeh, RD May 21, 2010, 8:42 am

      Thanks Shayma… The mac and cheese was good…
      I’m glad this is what you think of Arab hospitality and culture… been busy with family events this week but planning on ethnic posts for sure…and will get that post about healthy snacks soon, I promise!