October 21, 2013

A New Kind of 'Mac' & Cheese

Hello from Lansing, Michigan!  On the campus of Michigan State University to be exact.  If you follow me on Twitter (hint hint, maybe you should, Abigail_Lemon) you know I am in Michigan for approximately 30 hours.  This is my first time in the state and even though I haven't been able to explore that much it's always fun to go new places.

Since I've on doing 'The Challenge' and have been staying away from pasta, mac and cheese in the traditional sense has been completely off limits.  I have only eaten pasta once in the last 6 weeks - and that was at an Italian market in NYC where duh, you have to eat pasta.  Now we all know that I LOVE mac and cheese, but let's be honest - mac and cheese does not love me, especially in the waist and love handle area.

Now I am aware that this recipe is not exactly the picture of health due to the cheese but it is low carb, made with coconut milk instead of milk/cream and it's a far cry from eating a plate full of pasta!  I found the recipe here and figured I'd give it a try (I did modify the original recipe slightly).  It was a success!
'Mac' & Cheese
1.5 bag of frozen (organic) broccoli (I used Trader Joe's)
1/2 pound bacon, sliced into bits
1 tbsp  butter
2 cloves garlic
1/2 - 3/4 can coconut milk
4 oz full fat cream cheese
1 tsp nutmeg
1 TBS flour (for thickening)
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees ~ cook the bacon in large skillet until browned ~ once cooked transfer to plate with paper towels to drain ~ while bacon is cooking steam the broccoli until tender then drain ~ place broccoli in an 8 x 8 baking dish (sprayed with coconut oil) ~ in a small saucepan heat butter over medium heat ~ add garlic and cook until fragrant ~ then add the coconut milk and cream cheese ~ stir frequently until cream cheese is melted ~ add salt, pepper and nutmeg to sauce and mix well ~ add the flour to slightly thicken the sauce ~ chop up the cooled bacon and sprinkle over the broccoli ~ pour the sauce over the florets and then sprinkle the dish with the cheddar cheese ~ bake for approximately 20 minutes, broil for the last 2-5 minutes (make sure you watch it so it doesn't burn) ~ serve and enjoy!

This dish was a hit and went really well with grilled chiken!  The coconut milk added an element of sweetness that is unique to a mac and cheese-esque sauce.  I will definitely make it again next time I have a craving for mac and cheese but want to avoid the pasta!

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