Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cauliflower mac and cheese

I confess I appear to have become a "slacker blogger". Not for lack of trying recipes, but because life is just crazily busy right now. All our other commitments are admittedly (and rightfully) more important than writing up my trials with E. Lately we are also going through a phase of pickiness in my younger daughter and I have been discouraged and drained by dealing with tantrums from her about food.
On our spring break trip recently, I was determined that I was going to cook up a storm. I had ten recipes to try and did one! My mind and my body chose the easy life for that week, and the enjoyment of my two girls' company. The wonderful part is the recipe I tried was a success - a cauliflower based macaroni and cheese. E liked it enough to eat 2 bowls the first time around. The recipe says 4 servings, but it lasted us as a side dish for about 3 dinners. Nutrition information is also for the original recipe for 4 servings. I did not change that much - I used 1 teaspoon mustard versus 1 tablespoon, and omitted nutmeg and the bread crumbs. I also added a little turmeric to get that faux orange color that "preschool mac and cheese" has, per special request of the younger one: "I'll eat it if it looks like preschool mac and cheese, mom." I'm sure one day she will be a food snob and tell me that mac and cheese is for babies!

CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE (adapted from Runner's World/Mark Bittman)
E took the photo for me! 

Trust me, this expression of "so yummy" does not happen often with her



  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (such as sharp cheddar, Gruyere, or Emmental, or a combination)
    • NOTE: I used 4 slices of American cheese, torn into squares, and added it when processing the cauliflower, and then added about 1/4 cup of shredded Monterey Jack
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • up to 1 teaspoon turmeric (this was just enough to make it slightly orange/yellow without the taste of the turmeric overwhelming it)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Boil a pot of salted water. 
  2. In a saucepan, warm stock and bay leaves on medium-low heat for five minutes; turn off heat. 
  3. Cook cauliflower in boiling water for 25 minutes. Put cauliflower in a food processor. 
  4. Cook pasta in boiling water for five minutes. Drain and rinse to cool; put pasta in a greased, nine-inch square baking dish. 
  5. Process cauliflower with stock (discard bay leaves), cheese, oil, mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, working in batches. 
  6. Pour sauce over pasta, toss, and spread evenly in dish. Top with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes.

CALORIES PER SERVING: 420 
CARBS: 57 G 
PROTEIN: 20 G 
FAT: 15 G

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