I am a big pasta lover, but I try to only eat it on occasion in an attempt to avoid a carb-overload (don’t get me wrong, despite the beliefs of many, carbs ARE good!). When I saw Iowa Girl Eat’s blog post for a Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese (http://iowagirleats.com/2012/10/08/broccoli-chicken-mac-cheese-30-minute-meal/), I was inspired to create this dish:
Lightened-Up Veggie Mac & Cheese
This dish makes 2 to 4 servings. I ended up with 2 very large servings, but each serving still came in at only approximately 275 calories each…aka you get a lot of bang for your buck, so to speak!
2 servings (follow the serving size on your box of pasta) of whole wheat pasta- I used rotini
1/4 tsp fine sea salt (for boiling the pasta)
2 TB water, more as needed
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 clove of minced garlic
4 to 5 Weight Watchers OR Laughing Cow garlic and herb cheese wedges (depending on how creamy you want your sauce)
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup unsweetened original (not flavored) almond milk OR dairy milk (depending on how thick you want your sauce)
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
black pepper, to taste
1 cup of chopped broccoli and cauliflower
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1. Following the package directions, boil your pasta in salted water in a medium sauce pan.
2. While pasta is boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of water (instead of oil) in pan over medium-high heat. Once water is hot, add in onions and garlic and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until onions soften. You will likely need to add a bit of additional water if the pan starts to dry up.
3. Add almond milk, cheese wedges, Italian seasoning, and black pepper to onion and garlic mixture. I used 4 cheese wedges, but I think next time I would use 5. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer and stir for approximately 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the sauce begins to thicken.
4. When the pasta is in its last 2-3 minutes of cooking time, add in broccoli and cauliflower. Add Roma tomatoes to your cheese sauce.
5. Drain pasta and add it to your cheese sauce. Stir to combine and serve.
This dish made a great deal more than I expected, so as I said before, you will end up with 2 very large portions or with 3 to 4 smaller portions. Either way, expect some yummy leftovers!
I served my Lightened-Up Veggie Mac & Cheese with a side of cooked green beans. Delicious and nutritious = one happy cook!