Baked Mac & Cheese

Sometimes nothing in this world can fix a bad day like comfort food. I know, I know, don’t eat away your sorrows but let’s be real here, I’m not the only one that’s ever turned to an entire pan of brownies when I’m in need of a little pick me up. (Yes, that has actually happened.) Regardless of your weapon of choice, comfort foods are different for everyone. I have several foods that I would consider to be things I crave on occasion, bad day or not. Generally these also wouldn’t be foods I eat on a regular basis but since I’ve started getting creative with ingredients when I do decide to indulge it’s nice to know I can enjoy them sans the guilt. In turn, this allows me to indulge a little more frequently. Pretty clever if I might say so myself…

…and if you need a little comfort food without the guilt you should also try my Cinnamon Roll Muffins, S’mores Donuts, Paleo Fish & Chips,  Double Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies or my Avocado and Artichoke Dip!

I digress…back to THIS amazingly delicious comfort food at hand…

Take your traditional mac and cheese. It’s a dish that just about everyone has had at one point or another. It’s also prepared in countless ways making it easily customizable to your taste buds. It’s as if mac and cheese could literally be ANYTHING you wanted it to be…oh my! However, call me boring, but my taste buds (and my waist line) prefer a lighter version that doesn’t skimp out on all that cheesy goodness and flavor. So, with that in mind I created a healthier interpretation of this loved dish. The best part is it makes a perfect stand alone meal since it’s filled with tons of protein, a whopping 28g per serving when you use a high protein pasta made from quinoa and brown rice! It also contains a healthy dose of fiber, calcium, iron and is even acceptable for those meatless Mondays (as if you really needed an excuse to eat mac and cheese). This simple dish is also full of flavor and makes a healthy alternative the whole family will enjoy!

I mean really, who would ACTUALLY pass THIS up?!

Baked Mac & Cheese

Gluten-free/Nut-free/Soy-free

Serves: 2*/ Total cook time: 30 minutes

  • 2 cups Trader Joe’s Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli, uncooked
  • 3/4 c mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 c non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 c broccoli florets
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  1. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring pasta to a boil and cook about 8 minutes or until al dente. Rinse and add back to the pan along with 1/4 c of the pasta water.
  2. Turn stove top to low and stir in the cheese, greek yogurt and spices to combine and melt cheese.
  3. In a separate saucepan, add about an inch of water along with broccoli. Cover and let steam over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. When fork tender, remove from burner and drain water.
  4. Once cheese is melted over pasta, fold in the brocolli.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Lightly coat two medium ramekins or oven-safe individual dishes with cooking spray. Divide pasta mixture evenly between the dishes and sprinkle with a little extra cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until top is bubbly and crisp.
  8. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

 

Nutrition (per serving): 442 calories, 15g fat, 49g carbs, 3g sugar, 28g protein 

*To serve more than two, double or triple the ingredients and bake in an oven-safe casserole dish rather than the ramekins. Add an additional 10 minutes to the baking time.

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