Macaroni and cheese is one of those foods that I can totally go overboard on. (Meaning: I have no self-control when it comes to macaroni and cheese.) My neighbor Kelly makes the yummiest homemade mac and cheese with jalapenos and bacon. I knew my kids wouldn’t touch it if it were spicy so I omitted the jalapenos and added cauliflower. Maybe cauliflower is a strange thing to add, but it’s white, it blends in, it’s delicious smothered in cheese – and I thought I could trick my kids into eating hidden veggies. Yep. That’s why.
It was delicious. If you’re a mac and cheese enthusiast like me, I strongly suggest you try it, too!
- 1 package of whole-wheat shell noodles, boiled according to package instructions
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups grated cheese (I use sharp white cheddar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets and steamed
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped
- Optional toppings: grated cheddar cheese and whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. Steam your cauliflower until tender, and set aside to cool. While cauliflower is steaming, cook your bacon slices. Once cooked, crumble bacon and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat add your garlic and cook until browned.
4. Whisk in the flour and continue stirring for 1 – 2 minutes until the roux (which is equal parts flour and butter or oil) starts to darken. Be careful not to let the roux burn.
5. Add the milk to the pan on low heat, stirring continuously. Turn the heat back up to medium and keep whisking until the mixture starts thickening and all lumps of flour are dissolved.
6. Stir in the grated cheese until melted, then mix in the cooked noodles, steamed cauliflower and bacon. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
7. Dump everything into an 8 x 10 baking dish, sprinkle with extra grated cheese and whole wheat breadcrumbs (optional) and bake until the top starts browning (about 30 minutes).
8. Serve while nice and hot!