Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Skinny Cauliflower Mac & Cheese Cups

All ages love macaroni and cheese!

Not only is macaroni and cheese a food requested by numerous children, but many adults prepare it when little time is available for food preparation or for a holiday.  A Macaroni and cheese recipe typically consists of elbow noodles in a cheesy cream sauce.  It can be prepared homemade, from a box mix, or from a pre-prepared frozen meal.

Most health conscious eaters limit their intake of macaroni and cheese due to the high calorie and fat content.  Typically homemade recipes offer more calories than the box prepared versions due to the high amount of cheese.  In some cases multiple types of cheeses are used for the recipe. Typically one cup of macaroni and cheese ranges from 300 to 500 calories.  Who can stop at one cup?!

A few simple recipe substitutions can create a significantly lower calorie and fat macaroni and cheese recipe.  For this recipe we  reduced the amount of butter and replaced it when a light buttery spread.  To create a creamier sauce and reduce the calories, Greek yogurt was added (and less cheese was used).  In addition of the yogurt lower fat dairy products were substitued. Lastly cauliflower was used as a substitution for 1/4 of the pasta.  Most will never know cauliflower is even added.

Although this recipe offers a lower calorie and fat content, when consumed in excess it is not longer a healthier food.  To ensure portion size control we baked the macaroni and cheese in individual portion controlled muffin pans.

What else have you cooked with a muffin pan?!

Your family's dietitian,Kristen Smith

Skinny Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese Cups

by Kristen Smith
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (12 Cups)
  • 1 ½ cup uncooked macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, cut to the size of macaroni pasta
  • 4 ½ tablespoon light buttery spread
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 ¾ cup low fat milk
  • 1 cup 2% cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • non-stick cooking spray
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; spray non-stick cooking spray onto muffin pan
2. In a medium saucepan cook macaroni as per directions
3. In a separate bowl bring 4 cups of water to boil and add cauliflower; simmer for 12-15 minutes; drain
4. In medium skillet melt buttery spread on medium heat; whisk in flour to make a roux; add milk (continue to whisk)
5. Bring to boil and reduce heat until mixture thickens; add yogurt, cheese, onion powder, salt and pepper
6. Mix in macaroni and cauliflower; spoon mixture into muffin pans (fill about ¾ to top)
7. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until top browned
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