From time to time, I like to cook a “grown folks” version of meals I loved as a child. This macaroni and cheese recipe turns a classic kids’ favorite to a meal suitable for adults, too. To make it into a main-course, vegetarian meal, I’ve added tofu for a boost of protein. Tofu also absorbs the flavors of the cheeses and enhances the creamy texture of the dish. Serve it with a spinach salad and whole wheat rolls, and you’ve got a meal that’s sure to please everyone in the family!
Mac and Cheese for Grown Folks
Makes 6 servings
2 cups (8 ounces) whole wheat or brown rice elbow noodles
1 3/4 cups low-fat or regular evaporated milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded, low-fat, extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 ounces soft silken tofu, drained, cut into dice-sized cubes
Cooking oil spray
1 tablespoon whipped butter
1 tablespoon paprika
In large pot of salted, boiling water, cook pasta for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat 1-1/2 cups of evaporated milk over medium-high heat until just simmering. In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, poultry seasoning, salt, and black and cayenne pepper until combined. Add flour mixture to simmering milk, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce is smooth. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cheddar, ¼ cup Parmesan, and mustard until the cheese is melted. Add in tofu cubes. (Note: The mixture will appear lumpy, but will combine when baked.)
Pre-heat oven to 375⁰F. Spray a 9” x 11” pan with cooking oil spray. Add pasta to the cheese sauce and pour mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese. Dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until sauce bubbles around the edges. Serve immediately.
The Kitchen Diva is Angela Shelf Medearis, a regular guest chef on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Today Show.” She is the author of many cookbooks, including, “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” She writes “The Kitchen Diva” blog for Vitacost.com on a weekly basis.