Cauliflower – Sausage Mac and Cheese

For those that include some carbs in their diet, this is a really good dish to try. I wanted to make a pasta dish but with some added protein and veggies to give it a healthier twist. So I came up with this….

Cook any Mac and Cheese pasta of your choice as directed on the box. I picked out a gluten-free brand.

I cooked some Al Fresco Sausage on a skillet until brown. Chopped in small cubes. Add in the sausage to the already cooked pasta with cheese sauce.

Steam cauliflower until soft. Let it cool some and then chop into tiny pieces. You can also put it in the food processor and chop.
Add in the cauliflower to the pasta and sausage.

Next, sprinkle with some low-fat cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. I used this gluten-free brand.

To finish, bake at 350 until cheese has melted and bread crumbs have browned, about 20 minutes. For the last 5 turn on the broil for a better crisp.

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Healthy Mac and Cheese

Carb loading is very important when running many miles in order to fuel the body pre workout and replenish afterwards. One can do this by choosing complex carbs that won’t jeopardize staying on track when it comes to meal planning. Here’s a great recipe I found for one of my favorite comfort foods.

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt
4 ounces whole wheat macaroni
1/2 cup onion-garlic puree (see substitution for Bechamel sauce below)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mist an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set it aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions, drain.
Meanwhile, bring onion-garlic puree, mustard, and cayenne to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in cheddar until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt.
In a medium bowl, toss the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Season with salt to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle panko over the top. Top with Parmesan.
Bake until Parmesan is melted and macaroni is hot throughout, about 10 minutes.

Bechamel sauce (a mixture of milk, butter, and flour) plays a starring role in traditional mac and cheese recipes. Instead use this aromatic blend of onion and garlic to build flavor and texture without fat (makes 1 cup).
Step 1
Combine 1 large Vidalia onion, 9 garlic cloves (roughly chopped), and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Step 2
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high 10 minutes.
Step 3
Pour the mixture into a blender; blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. (Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 72 hours.)