Tag Archives: mac n’ cheese

Whole Wheat “Mac” and Cheese Bake with Bread Cube Topping

5 Apr

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What to do when you have a nearly full jug of milk in the fridge and you have to use it before it goes bad? Mac and cheese.

I tried to balance the heaviness of a dish like mac and cheese by using whole wheat pasta and 1% low fat milk instead of whole milk. Serve with lots of colorful veggies to further balance out the full-fat creamy delicious cheeses, butter pats, and bread cube topping.

I roasted carrots and parsnips in the oven (cover them for the first 15 minute so they get nice and tender and glazed). For the broccoli, I rinsed it, and with the water still clinging, placed it on a plate , covered it with another plate, and steamed it in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes. And for fun, I sliced a few quick-pickled kirby cucumbers. Veggie Love!

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Not pictured, but leftovers reheat well with a little hot sauce dabbed on top!

Whole Wheat “Mac” and Cheese Bake with Bread Cube Topping

adapted from Smitten Kitchen, Originally from Martha Stewart

Serves 5-6

1/2 stick of butter (4 tablespoons), divided

3 thick slices bread (I used sourdough), crusts removed (I like to nibble on the crusts later, so I save them!), cut into bite-sized cubes

2 3/4 cups milk (I used 1% low fat milk)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon course salt

pinch of each: ground black pepper, fresh grated nutmeg, old bay

roughly 3 cups shredded cheese: I used a mix of Gruyere cheese and a fancy smoked Gouda (cheddar is more classic mac and cheese)

1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (I used fusilli)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a pie dish or 8 in x 8 in pan; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the bread cubes aside.

2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, old bay, 2 1/2 cups  of the cheeses. Set the sauce aside.

5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta until the outside is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pasta to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the pasta into the reserved cheese sauce.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining  1/2 cup cheese and the bread cubes over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes (or until browned). Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.

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(Almost) Vegan Baked Mac n’ “Cheese”

30 Sep

With a chill in the air and the leaves blowing, there is nothing like a cozy pasta dish to rear in the season. This baked pasta casserole is almost, but not exclusively, vegan.

The non-vegan part of the dish comes from using a bit of butter to make the roux, as well as some nonfat dairy milk (you could easily use vegan margarine/butter and unsweetened soy, almond, or rice milk).

I was just using up what I already had in the fridge…baby steps…

BUT, instead of cheese, I used nutritional yeast. All hail nutritional yeast. Gettin’ in some B vitamins and protein with significantly less saturated fat and cholesterol than your typical baked mac.

There’s a dash of tomato paste (I already had some in my freezer ready to go) and a bit of garlic powder, with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of agave. These flavors come together and taste just. like. cheese.

There’s also some spinach in the mix to balance this carb-tastic meal with a vegetable.

What’s that crazy-looking stuff on top? Triscuits. I had the crackers laying around and they added a great salty crunch. You could crush up any cracker you like, or you could use bread crumbs for a more classy aesthetic.

I shared a vegan mac n’ cheese recipe on the blog before, but I think this one is way better. I just prefer baked mac…creamy and crispy all in one.

You may also want to check out this Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo that I made from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook. I kid you not, it tastes like traditional fettuccine alfredo. Vegan magic!

Almost Vegan Baked Mac n’ “Cheese”

adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen

makes a 9 x 13 inch pans-worth

1 pound elbow macaroni (you could use whole wheat if you find a version, I also think shell-shaped would work great)

1/4 cup vegan butter/margarine (I used regular butter)

1/3 cup flour (I used all-purpose)

3 cups unsweetened soy/almond/rice milk (I used nonfat dairy milk)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons salt

fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon agave

5 oz fresh spinach or a bunch of chard or kale

2-3 tablespoons crushed crackers or breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, make a roux by whisking the butter and flour over medium heat until the mixture forms a paste. Add the milk, and keep stirring to avoid clumps. Add the nutritional yeast, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice and agave.

Toss the noodles with the sauce and the spinach and transfer to the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the crushed crackers or breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Chloe says that the unbaked macaroni and cheese can be refrigerated for 2-3 days until ready to bake.