Mac-n-cheese is purely a comfort food. It is one thing that is always in stock in my home and one of the few things that I can count on my toddler readily filling her belly with - without any epic battles.
This was also one of the most popular requests made when I asked family and friends what they would like to see lighter versions of. Seriously? One of the hardest dishes to make healthy since it includes basically nothing other than milk, cheese, and noodles.
I'm up for a challenge.
I've seen a few healthy versions floating around, but nothing which had that ooey-gooey rich and creamy appeal that we all know and love. It's what we crave. Admit it.
Even the parmesan is sweating in these pictures... that's just how delectable this dish is.
I kept this recipe light by avoiding heavy cream like it was the plague and adding in half a head of pureed cauliflower. It was perfect. The addition of the cauliflower bulked up the sauce and gave the illusion of that cheesy goo which we all hate to love.
No one noticed the cauliflower. No. One. It also got a big thumbs up from the mac-n-cheese expert of the house, A.K.A. my daughter, and let me just tell you.. she is a mac-n-cheese snob. Can I say this was delicious? Oh. Yes.
Healthified Broccoli Mac-N-Cheese
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 Cup • Calories: 339.6 • Fat: 10.6 g • Carb: 42 g • Fiber: 3.2 g • Protein: 419.1 g • Sugar: 3.9 g • Sodium: 559.4 mg
12 Oz. Noodles, Dry (I used some fun shapes that my little one picked out.)
2 Tbsp. Light Butter
1/4 C. Flour
1/4 C. Onion, Chopped
2 C. Fat Free Milk
1 C. Reduced Sodium Fat Free Chicken Broth (Or Vegetable Broth)
1 1/2 C. Broccoli Florettes, Chopped Roughly
2 C. Cauliflower Florettes, Chopped Roughly
1/8 C. Parmesan, Shredded
.5 Tsp. Paprika
Pinch of Nutmeg
Pinch of Cayenne
Salt & Pepper
Cook pasta, cauliflower and broccoli together in a large stock pot of salted water, according to package directions for al dente. Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon and place into a blender along with milk. Blend until smooth and set aside. Leave Broccoli and noodles to drain.
In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add onion and cook over low heat about 2 minutes, add flour and cook another minute, or until the flour is golden and nutty. Add milk mixture and chicken broth and stir constantly, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil; cook about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add in paprika, nutmeg, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the sauce is thickened, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked macaroni and broccoli. Mix well and serve!