Herbed White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Herbed White Cheddar Mac 1

My morning routine is still evolving, but it has most definitely changed since having a baby and re-entering the work force. When my alarm goes off in the morning, should I be so lucky as to sleep that long, I immediately head to the bathroom in order to get my hair and make-up done for the day. I keep warm and cuddly in my PJ’s as I head down to feed the dog, make coffee, and get all of my many bags packed for the day ahead.

At some point, Shea generally awakes. Sometimes this is before I even have a chance to start on hair and make-up, in which case she is placed into her little bouncy chair thing-a-ma-bob (in the bathroom with me) with a singing crab that dangles in front of her face…but sometimes she sleeps until it’s nearly time to walk out the door.

Herbed White Cheddar Mac 2

The whole morning routine is about 90 minutes, however. So while my hair and make-up are ready for the day, it’s not until I’m nearly ready to walk out the door that I actually change into my work clothes. It only took one day of baby spit-up for me to learn this little timing trick. Regardless, the extra 90 minutes in my “softies” is glorious. In bitter cold Michigan winter, who wants to ditch the warmth and comfort for a suit and heels? Psssh.

Winter is all about comfort, but it’s also the time of year so many of us are focused on health and wellness. Naturally, we must find ways to include our most favorite comfort foods in a guilt-free fashion.

Herbed White Cheddar Mac 3

When I think of comfort foods, my mind immediately goes to cheese and more specifically, mac and cheese. To me, there is no dish more comforting than rich and creamy macaroni and cheese. However, the calories and fat can be a deterrent. However, with a few healthy tricks in place, mac and cheese can be transformed into a dish with a whole lot less guilt.

By using spices, you can pack big flavor punch without the fat. Spices, such as McCormick’s, also compliment the natural flavors of cheese and dairy in irresistible ways and with endless flavor combinations, such as in this Herbed White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. Learning ways we can reduce fat without compromising taste is essential to enjoying winter’s best comfort foods without sacrificing great taste!

Herbed White Cheddar Mac 4

4.5 from 2 reviews
Herbed White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package (16 oz) whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups reduced fat 2% milk
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ large head cauliflower, cut into florets (3½ cups)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz reduced fat white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz Neufchâtel cheese, (1/3 less fat than cream cheese), softened
Instructions
  1. Bring 5-6 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Once hot, add pasta and cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Set aside and keep hot.
  2. Meanwhile, mix milk and flour in medium saucepan with wire whisk. Bring to simmer on medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Add cauliflower florets; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until fork-tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. With center part of cover removed to let steam escape, puree mixture in batches in blender on high speed until smooth. Return pureed mixture to saucepan. (Or puree mixture in saucepan with an immersion blender.) Stir in remaining ingredients; whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour cheese mixture over hot cooked macaroni; mix well. Let stand 2 minutes before serving.
Notes
Recipe by Prevention RD, featured on McCormick.com

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post as a contribution to the 2015 McCormick Health & Wellness Blogger Insider Program. All opinions are my own.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 332 Fat: 8.0 Carbohydrates: 43.0 Sodium: 355 Fiber: 4.0 Protein: 22.0 Cholesterol: 25
Be well,

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5 Comments

  1. January 22, 2015 / 12:47 pm

    I love anything with cheese! I always put dried mustard in my mac n cheese – just gives it a bit of a bite. 😀

  2. January 25, 2015 / 7:49 pm

    Mmmm delicious cheesy ness and herbs. I recently made rosemary mac and cheese and after that wonderful experience would love to try another with thyme!

  3. Kel
    January 26, 2015 / 11:01 pm

    Unfortunately, I cannot trick my significant other in to thinking this is “real” mac and cheese. He thought this recipe had too strong of a garlic taste, but I think part of it is the “bite” from the cauliflower. I wonder if roasting the cauliflower would bring in a different taste. Going to try that next.

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