Cauliflower Mac n Cheese
A number of weeks ago, I had posted a delicious Eating Well video showing an awesome cauliflower “mac” and cheese. It looked amazing and like it would be the ultimate comfort food dish. I tried the recipe but think it needed a little boost in flavor and, for me, a decrease in the fat content. I’ve modified this great idea for my better health. I think it still delivers a belly-warming comfort vibe.
I’ve made a reduced fat cheese sauce, added some ground spices, and swapped out the fatty bacon for lean grilled ham.
In one version of my recipe, I added some broccoli for a slightly different texture and a pop of color. I really liked both!
Cauliflower Mac n Cheese
1 large Cauliflower
1 six ounce pre-cooked Ham Steak
2 tablespoons Butter, or Butter substitute
2 tablespoons all purpose Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups milk (Fat Free or Low-Fat)
1 tablespoon of dry Mustard
1 teaspoon of Paprika
1 teaspoon of Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon of Nutmeg
2 tablespoons of Low-Fat Cream Cheese
1 1/2 cups of shredded Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Let’s get started.
Pre-heat your oven to 350.
Prepare you baking dish with Cooking Spray.
Cut your Cauliflower into bite size pieces. If it fits on a fork, you’ve got it right.
Place the cut Cauliflower into boiling, salted water until crisp-tender. It will give gently when pierced with a knife. The Cauliflower will cook again in the oven so don’t let it go mushy.
Drain the Cauliflower and place in your baking dish. Set aside.
In a skillet, over low-medium heat, melt two tablespoons of butter, or butter substitute.
Whisk in two tablespoons all-purpose Flour, or whole wheat flour.
Cook over low heat for two minutes to get that raw flour taste out. You will smell the difference.
Add one tablespoon of dry mustard
Add one teaspoon of onion power
Add one teaspoon of paprika
Add 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, especially nice if freshly grated
Whisk to combine.
Add two cups of low- fat milk (your choice, I used Fat Free with great results).
Whisk to combine and let simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally. I don’t leave the pot, as it only takes a few minutes.
Tip: If you heat the milk before adding it to the pan, the entire mixture will thicken faster. Not in a rush? Don’t dirty an extra pan just keep stirring.
Whisk in 1 ½ cups of low- fat cheese. I used a combination of Cheddar and fat-free Mozzarella.
Whisk in two tablespoons low-fat Cream Cheese. Stir until melted into sauce.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Pour the cheese sauce over the ham and cauliflower. Stir to be sure everything has been covered evenly.
Pop into a 350 oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the top is lightly browned.
Tip: You can add additional cheese over the top, or for a crunchy top, sprinkle one tablespoon of bread crumbs evenly over the baking dish. Very lightly spray the crumbs with cooking spray. It will crisp the top without having to drench it in butter.