Monday, April 16, 2012

My Famous Macaroni and Cheese

What kid doesn't like macaroni and cheese?  Really, what adult doesn't?  It is one of the great comfort foods, but it usually isn't very healthy.  I have taken this meal to a new level by adding broccoli, cauliflower and quinoa.  Don't worry, it is still deliciously cheesy, but now it comes with less guilt - and the kids LOVE it!

2 cups uncooked small macaroni
2 heads of broccoli
1 large cauliflower
1/2 C uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/2 C whole milk
8 oz shredded cheddar
4-6 oz shredded Gruyere
1/2 C half and half
1/3 C bread crumbs
1/2 C grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the quinoa to a boil in 1 C of water.  Turn down the heat and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into florets.
  3. In a large pot, boil the pasta according to package directions along with the broccoli and cauliflower.  Drain and set aside in the large bowl with the quinoa. 
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  5. Once melted, add the flour, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes.
  6. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.  Simmer until slightly thickened.
  7. Add the cheddar and stir until thoroughly melted.
  8. Add the cheese sauce to the large bowl and mix together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Transfer to a 9x13 baking dish.
  10. Sprinkle Gruyere over the pasta and drizzle the half and half over the Gruyere.  (It can be prepared to this point up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator)
  11. When ready to bake, heat oven to 375.
  12. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over the pasta.  
  13. Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins (cook an additional 10-15 minutes if it has been refrigerated) until the top is golden brown.  Serve hot.
  14. If you like a little extra flavor, I like to add some garlic salt to my own plate.  :)

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