One Pot, Healthy Cauliflower Mac n Cheese

You know who’s been a lazy blogger recently? THIS GIRL! And, who’s been a lazy cook lately, too? THIS GIRL!

This isn’t a soup recipe, although I do have a few soup recipes that I need to blog before I totally forget about them. Have you made my Asian Chicken Chili soup recipe? I’ve made it a few times in the last few weeks, using bok choy, carrots, bell peppers, and cooking a big pot of rice that people can add as they want. If you want a fast and healthy meal, give it a go!

In the meantime, here is a recipe that the kids and I have been enjoying about once a week. They like it because it’s mac n cheese; I like it because it’s whole foods (I consider cheese a “whole food,” don’t rain on my parade if it’s not, please?) and full of veggies.

No specific recipe, but here’s the idea. In a medium-sized pot (I use one with a heavy bottom because otherwise milk tends to burn on the bottom), add as much chopped cauliflower and pasta as you want, keeping the ratio at at least half-n-half, if not more pasta than cauliflower. This is important because as the pasta cooks, it puts off starch that is the basis of the cheese sauce. Pour milk over it to cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. I also add a sprinkle of onion powder, pepper, powdered mustard or a squirt of the yellow stuff, and sometimes some paprika or garlic powder. Cook over medium-low until the pasta and cauliflower are cooked, stirring regularly so milk and pasta don’t burn or stick on the bottom (I use whole grain pasta, so that’s usually about the same time – if you use white pasta, you might want to pre-cook the cauliflower a bit. By the way, this also works with all the gluten-free pastas that I’ve tried; I mostly use the gf penne that Costco sells).

When the pasta and cauliflower are cooked, dump in a big pile of shredded cheese. You might need to fiddle around to get the flavor you want, but I use about 1 1/2-2 cups shredded cheddar in a pot that will feed the kids twice and me once (so, 4 “regular” servings?).

Stir over low heat until the cheese has melted into a sauce.

If I’m not using cauliflower, I often dump in some frozen peas at the same time as the cheese. The kids and I love frozen peas.

If you need precise measurements on the milk, pasta and cheese amounts, google “one pot mac n cheese.” This basic recipe idea is everywhere on Pinterest and I’m here to tell you, it works!

PS – You can totally fancy this up if you want to. I’ve made it before with bacon, Jarlsberg (on coupon at Costco right now!), goat cheese and shredded spinach. Get as fancy or as plain as you want once you’ve tried out the basic recipe.