Boy-Approved Healthy Mac & Cheese

Hey there! Hope your morning is off to a great start. I have to admit, this blog post almost didn’t happen after my day at work yesterday. I was thrown into a few fire drills late in the afternoon and ended up on calls until 8PM, so I was lucky I already knew what I wanted to write about and was able to throw this post together before hitting the hay.

Today I’m bringing you my new favorite dinner recipe. As I’ve started playing around with different recipes and altering recipes I’ve grown up with to make them a little healthier, I’ve run into quite a few speed bumps. For instance, NEVER try to sub almond milk for regular milk in recipes you want to give decadent flavor to. And xanthan gum should be your best friend whenever you’re trying to bake something gluten-free.

Through all of my mishaps, I’ve been able to land on quite a few yummy recipes that are significantly better for you than their original counterparts. Now I’m not dissing on the original recipes; I’m all about the grease and fatty foods every now and then. But sometimes it’s nice to enjoy meals that you know are a little better for you, and it definitely makes it easier to reach for that slice of cheesecake afterwards 🙂

This Mac & Cheese recipe has been healthified with the addition of a cauliflower sauce rather than your typical cheese sauce and let me tell you, you can hardly tell the difference! Bart even went back for seconds, so it clearly passed the male taste test.

Boy-Approved Healthy Mac & Cheese

mac&cheese

Ingredients:

  • About 8 oz. elbow macaroni noodles (I used orecchiette noodles this time
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • About 2 cups sliced italian chicken sausage
  • 1 3/4 cups of shredded mexican cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • For topping: 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1.5TBS Grated Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 and spray down the pan you plan to cook your mac & cheese in (I used a 9×13).
  2. Add 2 cups of water and 1 cup of milk to a pot and add your cauliflower. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for at least 20 minutes until your cauliflower is very tender.
  3. While the cauliflower is cooking, cook your pasta noodles in a boiling pot of water. Make sure the noodles are slightly underdone as you will be cooking them again in the oven (I cooked mine for around 7 minutes).
  4. Also, slice up your sausage links and cook them on the stove top for about 6 minutes or until they are slightly crispy (depending on how you like your sausage cooked).
  5. After the cauliflower is done, strain it and throw the cauliflower pieces into a blender. Blend until you reach a creamy consistency and then add it back to your original pot over medium-low heat. Add in 1 1/4 cups of the shredded cheese, the ricotta cheese, the parmesan, and salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Mix until well blended and creamy.
  6. Add your sausage and noodles to the cheese mixture and mix together until well combined. Place your mixture in the pan. Top it with the remaining 1/2 cup of your shredded cheese evenly.
  7. Combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, and cayenne pepper in a separate bowl to make up your topping and then sprinkle it evenly on top of your mac and cheese.
  8. Bake for around 20 minutes until the cheese is slightly bubbly on top. Serve up and enjoy! 🙂

Well that’s all I have for you today. Head on back tomorrow for a look at some of my Friday Favorites!

Do you have a favorite healthified recipe?

Have you ever used cauliflower as a replacement ingredient? 

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