To be honest I never knew mac&cheese existed before my own kids discovered it at a birthday party in a restaurant a few years ago. They loved it, of course. Since we often try to recreate our favorite restaurant meals at home, mac&cheese was destined to become one of the most popular dinner options the whole family enjoys.
To make it healthier AND tastier, we experimented with different sauces and finally found this easy and nutritious way of making it. Steamed cauliflower as a base, mixed with some cheese and butter, creates a luscious sauce with a hint of flavor coming from cauliflower, but without the off-putting smell of cruciferous vegetables many kids do not like. The most appealing part to me, as a busy mom, is that I can use only one pot if I steam the cauliflower on top of the cooking pasta and that it takes only about 20 minutes from the beginning to end.
We share it for dinner with a simple green salad and some fruit for dessert. Yum!
If you are interested to find out how to add nutrition to popular kids dishes, read this post.
Mac and Cheese
- 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 4-5 cups of cauliflower florets)
- 8 ounces of whole-wheat elbows macaroni, dry weight
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 spoon grated nutmeg
- pepper, to taste
- ½ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cups parmesan
Preheat the broiler to 350F
Cook the elbows macaroni according to the instructions
While the macaroni is cooking, steam the cauliflower florets until soft and then puree in a blender.
Add the grated cheddar and butter to the hot cauliflower puree and stir until it melts. If it does not, heat the mixture on the stove.
Season with salt, nutmeg and pepper.
Fold the cheese mixture into the cooked macaroni.
Pour the mac and cheese mixture into a baking pan.
Mix the parmesan with the breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the top of the mac and cheese and place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until the top is browned.