Wednesday, September 12, 2012


What is more comforting than a bowl of mac and cheese? It’s like a big ol’ hug for your belly.  Maybe a plate of chocolate chip cookies…mmm, cookies.  I am easily distracted by cookies, but that is not what this is about.
We loooooooove mac and cheese in this house, but only eat it every couple of months, cuz I ain’t making a low fat version, and I want more hugs for my belly, not more belly to hug.  This is full of cheese, tons of cheese, not to mention a splash of cream and a dab of butter.
So how am I going to “lighten” up the dish?  I feel like by replacing some of the pasta with cauliflower. I compensate for this super, duper dairy indulgence (I heart dairy, I’m so glad I’m not lactose intolerant.  Please Lord; don’t ever let me become lactose intolerant).  This mac and cheese is about half Mac and half cauliflower.  Cauliflower is low in calories, contains fiber, is high in antioxidants and nutrients; it’s even considered a Super Food because it contains phyto-chemicals which help in the prevention of cancer. 
There!  I’ve justified just why we should all eat Cauliflower Mac and Cheese more often!

Here’s what you need for the sauce…

  Cheese, lots of cheese. 
“American cheese?” you ask. Purists please don’t revolt. I keep trying to make cheese sauce without processed cheese, I really do. I’ll taste the sauce and think “something’s missing”, I add a couple of cheese slices, and all is right again in Cheese Sauce Land.


Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.

Add the flour to the melted butter, and whisk.


Add the dry mustard, and cook for a couple of minutes while stirring.

Whisk in the milk a little at a time…the cream

and the salt and pepper.

When the milk is hot, add the cheese a little at a time, whisking each time.

 Add a handful of salt to the boiling water before you add the pasta.  Yes really that much salt. The water is where the pasta gets its seasoning from; no salt in the water equals no flavor in the pasta.

Cook the pasta for only half of the time that it says on the pasta box. The box of cavatappi said cook for 8 minutes, so I cooked it for 4 minutes.  It’s going to finish cooking in the oven.

Add the cauliflower in for the last 30 seconds of cooking time.  My timer was going off to tell me my pasta was done cooking and I hadn’t gotten my cauliflower in the water, so I drained the pasta and added the cauliflower to the water on its own.

Return the drained pasta and cauliflower to the pot stir in the cheese sauce.

 Now pour the pasta and cheese sauce to an oven proof casserole dish and top with bread crumbs.
Top the bread crumbs with little dots of butter. 


Put into a 375 degree oven, and cook about 30 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden.

Truth be told, I usually make extra cheese sauce to serve over baked potatoes with broccoli the next night. 
Just thin the sauce out with a little milk or cream.  
 I’m always looking for dinner shortcuts.


I’m counting down the next 2 months.  I look forward to that big ol’ hug for my belly, which only Cauliflower Mac and Cheese can provide!

Serves 6
3              Tbsp                      Butter
2              Tbsp                      Flour
½             tsp                         Dry mustard
2  1/2     cups                       Milk
1/3         cup                         Heavy cream
½             tsp                          Salt
¼             tsp                          Pepper
8              oz                           Gouda cheese, grated
8              oz                           Cheddar cheese, grated
3              slices                     Processed American cheese, or about 3 Tbsp of Cheez Whiz
4              cups                       Cauliflower, about 1 head, broken into bite size pieces
½             package                Cavatappi, or Penne pasta, a box is 16 ounces.
                                                *If you don’t want to add the cauliflower, then add the whole box of pasta.

½             cup                         Panko bread crumbs, or regular bread crumbs
2              Tbsp                      Butter, cut into small cubes
1.        Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.       Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
3.       In a medium sauce pan, over medium-low heat; melt the butter, whisk in the flour and dry mustard.  Cook about 2 minutes while stirring.
4.       Whisk the milk and heavy cream a little at a time.  The mixture will appear to seize, but will loosen by the time all the milk is incorporated.
5.       Season with salt and pepper.
6.       When the mixture is hot, add the cheeses; again a little at a time whisking with each addition.
7.       Keep the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally.
8.       When the water for the pasta is boiling, add a big handful of salt to the water, add the pasta, and stir immediately to keep the pasta from sticking.
*Only cook the pasta for half of what the cooking time says on the box, the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
9.       For the last 30 seconds of cooking, toss in the cauliflower.
10.   Drain the pasta and cauliflower and return to the pot.
11.   Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta and cauliflower.
12.   Transfer the pasta and cheese sauce to a large oven proof casserole dish, about 11”x9”x2”.
13.   Sprinkle the bread crumbs all over the top of the pasta.
14.   Dot with butter.
15.   Put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden.

1 comment:

  1. I've always wanted to try this especially since we use less gluten in our everyday life. Love mac and cheese - and I'm with you - dairy is delicious!