Folks, as diet meals go, this isn't bad. I was getting sort of tired of eating vegetable soup. Yes, I like vegetable soup. Yes, it is good for me. Yes, vegetable soup is low cal. But, after about 8 meals of vegetable soup, I wanted something that didn't scream, "You're on a Diet!"
Enter Super Creamy Mac and Cheese, or cauliflower and cheese as I like to think of it. This took a leap of faith on my part to make. Why? Because I have never. In my entire adult life. Purchased. A head of cauliflower.
There, I said it.
I didn't want to buy something that most people smother in cheese to make it taste better. But I was desperate for some comfort food. I found myself in the produce department mulling over white heads of broccoli wannabes.
Say what you will, I will make this again.
Weight Watchers Super Creamy Mac and Cheese
1 t salted butter
1/3 c Panko breadcrumbs
2 T grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 head uncooked cauliflower (2 lbs)
4 medium uncooked carrots, thinly sliced
1 c reduced sodium vegetable broth
1/4 c low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1.5 t Dijon mustard
1/2 c low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, sharp variety recommended, divided
1.5 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded (1/4 cup)
1 t table salt
1/4 t hot pepper sauce
8 oz uncooked macaroni
2 sprays cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.
Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat; add panko and cook, stirring occasionally until toasted, about 4 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and let cool; stir in Pecorino and set aside. (Just as a head's up here, I didn't use this butter and I didn't toast my panko. I simply sprinkled the panko mixture on the top of the casserole once I got to that point. I'm not washing more dishes.)
Cut 3 cups small florets from cauliflower; set aside. I used 4. Cauliflower is BIG. Cut remaining cauliflower (including stem) into 2 inch pieces. Add cauliflower pieces and carrots to boiling water; cook until very tender, 10-12 minutes. I forgot to set the timer, so it went 20. No biggie.
Meanwhile, combine broth, cream cheese, mustard, 1/4 c cheddar, gruyere, salt, and pepper sauce in a large blender. With a large slotted spoon, transfer cooked vegetables to blender, puree into a creamy sauce. Can we say thank goodness for the Ninja blender?
Add pasta to same pot of boiling water; cook half the time of package directions, adding reserveed cauliflower florets during last minute of cooking. Drain pasta and cauliflower, return to pot and stir in pureed sauce.
Coat a 2.5 quarter shallow baking dish with cooking spray; spoon pasta mixture into prepared pan in an even layer. Sprinkle dish with remaining 1/4 c cheddar and reserved crumb mixture; bake until golden on top, 25-30 minutes.
Here's what you get.
Here's what you get.
Serving size: 1 c.
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6