Lenten Dinner: Chunky Cauliflower Mac and Cheese8:24 AM
Mac and cheese isn't just a side dish at our house. In fact, if loaded with the right ingredients, this simple pasta dish can be a meal for noodle and cheese lovers. During the season of Lent, mac and cheese is especially appealing as a meatless option for busy families.
We customized this recipe using white cheeses, whole wheat pasta, and cauliflower for an extra-filling version that the kids enjoyed. Note that I made this "chunky", but you can also puree the cauliflower extra fine to create a more creamy texture to hide the cauliflower.
You'll need the following ingredients that I purchased at my local Walmart:
- 1 package whole wheat macaroni
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 8 ounces white shredded jack or cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
- 1/3 cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- 1/3 package cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- carrots for garnish
Cook the pasta as directed on the package. While that is cooking start your cheese sauce by putting the milk and flour in saucepan and cooking to a simmer -- stirring constantly. Add the cauliflower (make sure it's cut up into pieces first.) Cook the cauliflower for 20 minutes, making sure the milk doesn't burn.
Use a hand blender to crush up the cauliflower -- if you like it chunky. If you want to hide the veggie, pour the entire mixture into a blender with the steam valve open and puree until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan and stir in the cheese s and salt until smooth. Pour over the drained macaroni and top with the onions. Add the carrot as a garnish, if you wish.
Overall, my kids liked this dish. They knew it wasn't a typical mac and cheese, but even my cauliflower haters ate theirs. It was a filling alternative to boxed mac, so if felt more like a meal than a side-dish.
You can find all the ingredients for your Lenten recipes at Walmart!
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