My kids have always been big fans of mac n’ cheese – making it a regular entry on the weekly meal plan. We have played with many different “versions” over the years. Annie’s out-of-the-box was a big hit for a good long time. And then we started experimenting with our own homemade recipes. The girls loved the chance to cook. I was eager to find a healthier alternative to their old stand-by.
The search for a “perfect” mac n’ cheese recipe has not been without incident. Up to this point, the girls and I have struggled with conflicting agendas. They just wanted it to be yummy and fun to cook (the more cheese grating, the better). I was all about making it the MOST nutritious mac n’ cheese recipe EVER. Those weren’t always the same thing.
Last week, the girls met me at the door with a recent issue of Cooking Light. There on the cover was the plate full of piping hot mac n’ cheese. They were absolutely committed to making it for dinner. In the end, we were able to scrape together the ingredients, having to swap in only a few substitutes. It was delicious! The girls loved it, both of them asking for seconds. And I loved it. Not only was it tasty, it was good for us as well. It may not be the MOST nutritious mac n’ cheese recipe EVER (is there such a thing with mac n’ cheese?) but we have certainly found our happy (and healthy) compromise.
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 1/2 cups organic milk
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Add the sweet potato, veggie broth, milk and garlic to e medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Remove from the heat.
- Place the hot sweet potato mixture in a blender. Add the salt, pepper and the Greek yogurt. Be sure to remove the center piece to the blender lid to allow the steam to escape. Place a towel over the blender lid. Blend until smooth.
- Place the blended sweet potato mixture in a bowl. Stir in the Gruyere, Romano and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Add the pasta to the sweet potato mixture and combine well. Spread mixture evenly in a 13×9 inch baking dish.Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the top.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
Inspired by “Mac n’ Cheese: The Creamiest Ever”, Cooking Light, September 2011