Ask anyone their favorite childhood food memory and at some point they’ll come up with that classic blue box of mac and cheese their mom let them have once in a while. With over 20 varieties now available it looks like this retro favorite has moved into many people’s cooking repetoires because they know it’s something their families will eat.
We made a few easy tweaks to this perennial crowd pleaser so you can easily recommend it to your clients as a healthy family dinner. The cheesy sauce is the prefect vehicle to carry vitamin rich cauliflower and fiber packed whole wheat pasta so we used a full-flavored cheddar cheese and 2% milk. In the end, our revised recipe offers the nutrition trifecta of Vitamin D and calcium (milk), protein (milk and cheese) and fiber (whole wheat pasta).
Listen to the companion podcast 5 Things to know about vitamin D in bone health.
- 1 head (1½ lbs) cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets (4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound box whole wheat pasta
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss cauliflower, oil, ¼ tsp of the salt, ⅛ tsp of the garlic powder and the pepper in a large bowl. Spread onto a baking sheet; bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling.
- Add pasta to boiling water. Cook 8 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, make sauce: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, remaining ¾ tsp salt, the smoked paprika and remaining ⅛ tsp garlic powder and bring to a simmer. Cook 3 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar.
- Stir cauliflower and sauce into pasta. Spoon into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
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