Thursday, February 16, 2012

I LOVE Mac & Cheese

Recipe Under Review:  Too-EZ Mac & Cheese from
First impression: please taste good, please taste good!
Verdict: Almost perfect mac & cheese swap!

I'm going to have to preface this post with the fact that I absolutely adore macaroni and cheese, and could easily eat it for every meal of every day.  Obviously this is a problem if you are trying to be healthier since it's traditionally white pasta and full-fat cheesy sauce.  I'm constantly trying to figure out how to keep my love of mac and cheese but not destroy my body at the same time and it's a much harder process than one might think.

I've known about this recipe for quite some time.  I found it one day and filed it as a "must try ASAP" and then just kept putting it off (cauliflower scares me!) until a friend of mine mentioned that she was going to try to make it.  Then I decided a vegetable shouldn't scare me enough to stop me from my love of cheesy goodness, so I scrounged up the ingredients the best I could and had at it!

Disclaimer: I did NOT do a good job getting the right ingredients, oopsie!

First step: boil water and pasta.  I used Ronzoni Smart Taste Elbows instead of whole wheat blend rotini...
If you haven't tried this pasta yet and are still stuck on white pasta, I HIGHLY recommend it.  I've converted my entire family to it, it's packed with good for you things and you seriously can not tell the difference!  
So boiling water and putting in pasta is all good and fine, but elbows do not take that long to cook.  This is the first snag in the recipe.  You have to microwave the cauliflower and cheese for 12-14 minutes, but the recipe says "while pasta cooks" to do it.  I ended up waiting around for an extra 8 or so minutes for the microwave to finish.  I would definitely put the water on, then immediately put the veggies in the microwave and get them started.  
I was surprised at how much pasta this recipe really called for, a ton!
 So back to the veggies, I definitely hit a snag here.  So you can find big family size bags of this stuff, but I could not.  So I ended up getting ...
Three 10 oz boxes!  Which, according to serving sizes, is only 4.5 cups (30 oz) even though the recipe says 24oz is about 6 cups... curious.

Anywho, I microwaved these bad boys anyway, thinking nothing would go wrong.  Then there was cheese sauce everywhere.  Fantastic.

It looks gross, I know.  It's also quite a pain to transfer all the contents of the packets into the pasta bowl without getting messy after this fact.
 Moral of the story: FIND THAT 24 OZ BAG!

I forgot to stir my laughing cow before transferring, but it stirred in okay anyway.  
 Done!  Seriously simple stuff, she was not kidding there!

Far away and close up.  See the chunks of cauliflower?  Yeah, me too.  A little bit scary.  I think it might be worth it to try to mash up the cauliflower into smaller pieces before adding pasta (but I also used tiny little elbow noodles when I wasn't suppose to, totally my fault I'm sure)
 Time to eat!

One serving in a normal sized bowl, pretty decent right?  Oh look, more giant cauliflower.
So I had this for lunch with a side spinach/strawberry/ham (AKA food that needs to be eaten in my fridge) salad.  Definitely a struggle to finish this bowl!  I was not expecting that, so a great serving size overall.  I think it would be fine by itself for lunch, maybe with an apple or banana or something small like that.  For dinner I think pairing it with a salad makes a great well-balanced meal.

How does it taste?  Great!  I was pleasantly surprised.  It's not overly mac-and-cheesy but it will definitely do in a pinch!  I still don't think I like cauliflower, it just seems so out of place in this dish.  I do think if it was smaller or if I microwaved it a minute or two longer it might be better though, because if it wasn't so firm I don't think it would have been so obvious!

THE DOWNSIDE:  I went to log this recipe on my calorie counter, it was about 100 calories higher than HG suggests.  I'm sure some of it had to do with my substitutions, but that seems a little much to be off by.  A little disappointing but still completely reasonable stats I think!  This recipe will definitely be filed away for future use though!


  1. Yum! This sounds like something I should try asap. I miss mac and cheese...pretty sure I would downsize the recipe, though. How many servings did it make?

  2. It makes 4 generously sized portions. But it also holds up in the fridge well :)