Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No "Blue Box Blues" Here!

Macaroni and cheese is often a kid’s favorite side dish. Even as an adult, I enjoy a mac and cheese, especially with ketchup! Packaged mac and cheese mixes usually do not provide much nutrition. Though this recipe has quite a different flavor, it provides some great fiber, vegetables and calcium.

What was one of your favorite dishes as a kid?

I was able to find higher fiber pasta and lower fat cheese for this dish. One caveat to using a lower fat cheese is like Laura experienced, it is not the best melting cheese. Luckily this dish was cooked in a Crock Pot and had a little bit longer to melt and combine with the other ingredients.

If you look at Paula’s original recipe, she has this dish cook in a Crock Pot for 3 hours. I typically don’t have 3 hours to let a side dish cook when I get home from work. To make this a friendlier working girl recipe, I tried to cook it on high for only 1 hour. The dish cooked just fine!

One mistake I made when making this was forgetting to cook the cauliflower before I started making the dish. Once I remembered that the cauliflower needed to be prepared, I quickly cut it into tiny pieces, tossed them into a bowl of water and zapped them in the microwave. The cauliflower was softened but not quite cooked. Because of this, the cauliflower did not puree well and the “puree” had a much stronger flavor when it was added to the dish.

Overall, the macaroni and cheese was pretty good. The texture was very unique with the egg…very fluffy. The fluffiness of the egg combined with the creaminess of the cheese and other dairy products made this a delicious macaroni and cheese dish. All I would have done differently to make it superb would be to cut back the cauliflower to ½ a cup and to cook the cauliflower correctly!

Here are the nutrition facts:

Lower Fat Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups uncooked, whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 tbsp Smart Balance Light
2 ½ cups grated 2% Cheddar cheese
¾ cup egg substitute
½ cup low fat sour cream
½ cup Cheddar cheese soup
½ cup steamed Cauliflower, pureed
¼ tsp salt substitute
1 cup 1% milk
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp black pepper

Boil the macaroni in water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
In a medium sauce pan, stir cheese and Smart balance over medium heat until cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine the cheese mixture, egg substitute, sour cream, soup, cauliflower, salt substitute, mustard and pepper, stirring to combine. Add cooked macaroni and stir well. Set slow cooker to high and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.


  1. Are you sure 2 cups of uncooked macaroni will make 22 servings. I am a big fan of crock pots, and I am looking forward to trying this recipe.

  2. Macaroni Cheese (the Kraft variety) was definitely one of my childhood favorites. I love this adaptation though...I think adding cauliflower is a brilliant way to get more fiber and nutrition into this yummy casserole.

  3. How big is a serving of this recipe? Is it 1/2 cup?? Just curious. Thanks!

  4. Umm...Mac & Cheese with ketchup?? Just kidding :)
    My favorite childhood food is chocolate chip cookies. And microwaved s'mores. Yum...

  5. That is a great question! The macaroni almost doubles in size when cooked. The egg ingredient also expands and with the other dairy ingredients adds quite a bit of volume. I would say that 1/2 cup is one serving. For calorie comparison's sake I used the same serving number as Paula did. If it helps, this filled a medium sized crock pot to the brim.

  6. I tried this recipe and really liked it. It was creamy and delicious. I served it to my neighbors (aged 5 and 7). I thought they would love it, but they liked the pizza and strawberries I served with it much better. Oh well.