So… do you love me yet? 🙂
Well, wait until you try this mac and cheese. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. No, seriously. I’ve had this dream. You know, the one where I unlock the secret to the perfect Mac & Cheese. Cheesy, creamy, velvety Mac and Cheese. I’m not even talking about the perfect healthy Mac and Cheese. I’m talking I’m never making another Mac and Cheese recipe again ever.
First, I’d like to have a moment of silence for all of the mac and cheese recipes that I’ve made over the years in search of that “perfect” one…
Ok, now… There was the one with the roux – actually many variations of the one with the roux (which all came out slightly grainy). There was the one with the velveeta (a flavor that I liked as a child, but as a grown-up, just tastes kind of fake). There was the one with the cream cheese (which tasted kind of weird). That one that used the eggs (the eggs separated as they cooked and it was… gross). Oh, and the one that I tried out on the same day that I made this one that had blended cottage cheese in it (not bad, but definitely not perfect either). This is just an off-the-top-of-my-head account, I’m certain there have been many more. Like many of you, I’ve been looking for the perfect mac for a long, long time.
I had been thinking about working on a 21 Day Fix Mac and Cheese for a little while now, but lately I’ve seen a ton of people in search of one so I set out to make it happen. I’m here for ya, peeps! I had two ideas to test out. One that included blended cottage cheese and greek yogurt – cottage cheese is cheese after all and I’ve had yogurt in Mac & Cheese before and I really liked it, so I was pretty sure that it was going to be my winner. The other was to make a sauce that had a cauliflower puree base. I have to tell you, I was skeptical about this one, but after using cauliflower puree in my freaking fantastic Individual Potato Gratins I wanted to give it a shot. I added some chopped cooked broccoli to both of them to get some veggies in and bulk them up a bit.
So my daughter and I set to work, made and ate them side by side and I have to say, there was a clear winner. The one with the cottage cheese was really good. We both liked it. It was cheesy and tasty, but it had nothing on the cauliflower version. NUH-THING. One bite of it and we both looked at each other like “are you freaking kidding me?!” It’s all about the texture, people! That velvety smooth cauliflower puree really adds something special to this 21 Day Fix Broccoli Mac & Cheese. It just feels and tastes cheesier. My kids couldn’t get enough of this one – and let me tell you, my youngest is pretty hard to please! I have a feeling we’re going to be making this a lot.
Ok, so, we’ve already made this a lot 🙂
Hope you love it!
P.S. – Looking for a super easy and quick Instant Pot version of this family favorite mac and cheese? Click here!
For the mac & cheese:
- 6 cups cooked whole wheat elbow macaroni (about 3 cups or 11 1/2 oz dry)
- 4 cups frozen broccoli florets, cooked and chopped smaller if they're in large pieces (a 16 oz bag ought'a do ya)
- 1 1/3 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt
For the cauliflower puree:
- 4 cups roughly chopped fresh or frozen cauliflower
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- While your pasta is cooking, steam your cauliflower - I have a steamer basket that I put over a pot of water on the stove, but you could also put the cauliflower in a microwave safe lidded container (I use a glass one if I'm doing this), put a few tbs of water in the bottom, cover and cook in the microwave for 5-7 minutes or so. Once that's done, put it in a blender with the 1/2 cup of chicken broth and blend until it's very smooth. Should only take a minute or two.
- Once you've drained your pasta, put it back in the pot it just cooked in on the LOWEST heat setting, add the cauliflower puree, the cheeses, the broccoli and 1/8 tsp salt and stir until everything is heated through and the cheeses have melted. Taste it, if you feel like it needs that extra 1/8 tsp of salt then add it in and serve!
21 Day Fix Container Counts: 1 1/2 YELLOW, 1 BLUE, 1 GREEN
Weight Watchers Freestyle Points: 9
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups per serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 334 Total Fat: 13g