Lower-Fat High-Protien Mac and Cheese

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Thanksgiving has changed alot around my house since my entire family started eating better. I think between the 5 of us we have lost over 200 lbs.  Everyone is doing something different, vegan, low carb, p90x, etc.,  but there was one thing we could all agree on, the traditional thanksgiving fair would not suffice. I combined several recipes to come create something everyone could agree on. This recipe cuts the calories, replaces traditional white pasta with a whole wheat version to keep your fuller longer and ups the protein content with fresh tofu disguised as a creamy sauce.

But first… to understand the original dish, and what makes it 400 calories per cup. Only after fully understanding the beast can we tame it.

Macaroni is mentioned in various medieval Italian sources, though it is not always clear whether it is a pasta shape or a prepared dish. However, pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded in cookbooks as early as the Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks.

Macaroni and cheese is generally cooked macaroni with white sauce that has a cheese flavor. In the French style of cooking, such a sauce is called Mornay sauce. A white sauce, called Béchamel sauce in French cooking, is traditionally made by whisking scalded milk gradually into a white flourbutter roux (equal parts clarified butter and flour by weight). Another method, considered less traditional, is to whisk kneaded flour-butter (beurre manié) into scalded milk. Followed by adding copious amounts of cheese to white pasta.

Sounds like a great way  to achieve flabby arms and a fat ass. Thanks Julia Child.

Some of you may think that the boxed version is much better. Not only is it lacking in flavor, it’s seriously lacking in nutrition. It may take just a little more time to make a much healthier version, but believe me, it’s worth the effort.

This version replaces the butter and cream with tofu, nutritional yeast  and almond milk, cutting calories and adding protein. White pasta is switch with a whole wheat noodle, and white bread is switch for whole grain in the bread crumbs.

-1 box whole wheat noodles, pick a fun shape!

-2 Cloves Garlic

–3 T olive oil

-2T flour

-1.5 cups almond milk

-2 T fresh lemon juice

-2 T Dijon mustard

-2 T Sherry wine

-1 cup nutritional yeast

-2 Tablespoons Worcester sauce.

-1 quart (3 large blocks) Firm Tofu

-Teaspoon sea salt

-1 T hot sauce (I like Tabasco Chipotle sauce)

-Pinch Thyme

– 2 slices whole wheat bread

-6 oz of your favorite cheese (optional) I like sharp cheddar. Or try half Parmesan and half cheddar, mix it up!

-Cook pasta in salted water until aldente (just almost done) it will still continue to cook in the oven.

-Preheat over to 420

-Saute the garlic and the olive oil in a sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk with a fork, a few lumps are ok. Add the sherry, whisk, add Dijon, lemon juice and Worcester (use vegan version for vegans)  sauce, whisk.

Add the nutritional yeast, and whisk, yet again.

Squeeze the tofu between your fingers until it resembles cottage cheese, feel free to add in a little lemon juice if you have some left over. Layer half of the tofu on the bottom of a casserole pan, then add a layer of half the pasta. Cover with half the sauce.

Layer the other half of the tofu, then layer the other half of the sauce, seem familiar?

Dice the bread (cut it up into little squares) or tear them into tiny pieces, it’s your dish.

Sprinkle the bread and shredded cheese on top of the cheesy delicious in front of you and pop in the oven for 20-35 minutes until there is a crispy golden crust on top.

Feel free to bulk it up by adding lots of veggies like broccoli, peas, carrots or okra. Go the extra mile and bake them in individual ramekins for portion control. This dish has quickly become a comfort food favorite in my kitchen, and I am sure it will in yours.

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