Last week I was really craving macaroni and cheese. My issue with macaroni and cheese is that it's usually a billion calories per serving.
So I was thinking of a way I could possibly make it healthier. I've tried the skim milk macaroni and cheese, but it was not the same. I've tried adding greek yogurt to make up for the cream, but the tanginess was just not right.
I've seen some recipes that call for adding cauliflower florets in with the pasta noodles, but I wasn't sure how Brett would feel about the texture. Then it hit me, what if I pureed the cauliflower and added it to the cheese sauce?!
The result was actually really delicious. The pureed cauliflower gave the macaroni a creamy texture without the fat and calories of real cream. The macaroni was gooey and cheesy on the inside, with a crispy, cheese crust on top.
I used a bit of half and half in the cauliflower puree, because let's be honest, macaroni and cheese wouldn't be the same without it. I also made it gluten-free by using brown rice pasta noodles, and topped it off with hickory smoked bacon.
I'll admit, these aren't the best photos. They honestly do not do it justice. But Brett got off work late, and by the time the macaroni was out of the oven it was dark out, so I had to take them in our poorly lit kitchen.
If you're wanting to cut calories or sneak some veggies into a meal while still digging your face into some comfort food, I highly recommend this recipe. This macaroni and cheese is around 400 calories a serving!
Ingredients: serves 4
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white onions
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup half and half (or milk of choice)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt (depending on your taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups dry brown rice pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used a light version)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a small pot add cauliflower and 1 cup water, and steam cauliflower until tender. Drain and add cauliflower to blender. Meanwhile, sautee onions and olive oil on low heat. Once onions become translucent add minced garlic and sautee for one more minute.
Add onions and garlic to blender with cauliflower as well as half and half. Puree cauliflower mixture adding water as needed until mixture is smooth, then pour back into a pot on low heat. Mix the two cups of cheese together in a bowl and add half of the cheeses, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth.
Boil pasta as directed and drain once pasta is al dente, about 6-9 minutes. Add pasta to cheese mixture, mixing well, and pour into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top and bake on 400 degrees until cheese starts to bubble and turn golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Serve with crispy chopped bacon for an extra kick.