After last night's vegan-licious dinner chili, I was craving something on the cheesey side tonight.
Hint: Think a little sharp cheddar, a load of veggies, some hearty pasta, and big smile on my face.
You guessed it: An innovative combination of grown-up mac n' cheese, and a vegetarian version of turkey tetrazzini (these are words Adam used to describe the dish after his first bite).
Let's get one thing straight: Mac n' cheese gets a bad name from the impostor "cheeses" that have invaded the inner shelves of grocery stores. With options like Kraft's orange cheese-flavored powder, and Velveeta's squeezable pouches of cheesy goo, it's no wonder most healthy adults run in the opposite direction of these boxed products.
Tonight's "Grown-Up Mac n' Cheese/Vegetarian Tetrazzini" recipe, inspired by Clean Eating, offers the perfect solution. All the goodness of a traditional comfort food casserole, without Sponge Bob shaped noodles, powdered cheese product, or meat. Just use whole wheat pasta, high-quality cheese, and loads o' veggies, and you've got a classy grown-up meal on your hand.
I would recommend using penne or rotini pasta for this casserole. I resorted to spaghetti because it was the only lonely box of pasta in the cabinet.
So tonight, if you're shielding yourself from the outdoor temperature of 4 degrees like I am, bake up a batch of this warm and comforting casserole. Afterwards, I recommend a spirited present-wrapping session (Adam is currently sporting his Santa hat as he enthusiastically wraps the gifts).
Grown-Up Mac n' Cheese/Vegetarian Tetrazzini
(adapted from a Clean Eating Magazine recipe)
Nothing warms you up on a cold day like a warm, hearty casserole. The chopped almond topping adds a great healthy crunch, and a nice change from the traditional bread crumb topping.
- 1 cup skim milk
- sprinkling of flour
- 2 cups reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 8 oz. whole wheat pasta
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 - 1/2 cups broccoli forets
- 1 - 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 2 qt. casserole dish with cooking spray.
2) In a saucepan, whisk together the milk and a little flour over medium heat. Stir constantly and bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes. Stir in cheeses and salt, stirring until melted. Stir in yogurt, cover, and set aside.
3) Cook pasta according to package directions. Three minutes before pasta is done, add the carrots, onion, broccoli, and cauliflower. When pasta is done, drain veggies and pasta and return to pot. Stir in cheese mixture and parsley and pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle with almonds and bake for about 20 minutes, or until heated through.