There are a lot of food bloggers with blog hops, challenges, linkys and other recipe idea. I like to join in a few to challenge myself to think of things to make other than just the usual. I tend to get stuck in a rut or look for one type of recipe or just stick to my normal blogs or magazines for ideas. So I like the idea of going to a specific blog or to have a specific monthly theme, just to get the brain cells moving a bit more.
It's time for the Crazy Cooking Challenge. This month she asked us to find the Ultimate Macaroni & Cheese recipe.
I giggled when I first saw that. I remembered my FIRST attempt at creating Mac and cheese when I was a teenager with my brothers. Here's the story:
We were raised on Kraft Mac and Cheese. It rocked and it still rocks. We decided to make REAL macaroni and cheese. It HAD to be better than Kraft, right? We followed no recipe, we knew how to make it, how hard could it be? So we cooked the pasta and melted the cheese. Stirred it together and saw that it wasn't orange enough. Kraft was really, really orange. Ours wasn't orange so clearly we didn't add enough cheese. We added more. And more. We never got that orange color that Kraft had so we were a little disappointed. It also didn't taste like Kraft. We were disappointed. Especially after it started cooling and turned into a thick, BRICK of cheese! Yea, it was pretty much a disaster. We stuck to the blue box for many, many years after.
As an adult, I did try several recipes for mac and cheese and have loved them. Though, I have to admit, I do still love Kraft. :-)
This was a recipe I recently saw on Finding Joy in My Kitchen. It is an adaptation of Jamie Olivers Food Revolution Mac and Cheese. I loved her changes and decided to make mine just like she did. I loved the idea of more veggies. Yes, it STILL is mac and cheese even though it has veggies! Sheesh!
I used the picture from Finding Joy in My Kitchen as my pictures are awful! It looks freakishly green. I promise you, it was NOT really that green and the veggies didn't overly stand out. It was delicious.
Considering there was a LOT of veggies in this, it really DID seem like mac and cheese. The cauliflower seems like pasta and I used chopped broccoli so that really blended in and it didn't taste like a pile of veggies. I would use broccoli florets next time rather than the chopped though. I would also add a bit of onion to the cooking water with the veggies next time as well.
Is it the ultimate? I don't know about that but it is a delicious, healthy option that we all enjoyed and I will for sure make it again and again. Below there are the other macaroni and cheese recipes, vote for the one that YOU think is the ultimate!!
Check out The Crazy Cooking Challenge and join in on the fun! Next month we're out to find the ultimate chocolate chip cookie!
Food Revolution Mac & Cheese Recipe
Adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen & Jamie Oliver
1 (14) oz. bag of frozen Cauliflower florets
1 (14 oz) bag of frozen broccoli florets
7 oz. pasta, I used small shells
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried parsley (I didn't add)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to directions. The last 5 minutes of cooking time, add the cauliflower and broccoli to the pasta. Drain when done, reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
Carefully melt cheeses and sour cream in a heat proof bowl over a slightly steaming saucepan of water. BE CAREFUL of it boiling to hard so it doesn't splash, use caution here. Or do what I did and just stick the cheeses and sour cream in the microwave, I did about 4 or 5 rounds of 22 seconds. Be careful you don't over cook it, you just want it melty. Add the parsley, salt and pepper to the melted cheese mixture.
Place noodles and veggies into a large bowl. Carefully add the cheese mixture to the noodles and stir to coat. If it seems a bit dry, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water to increase the creaminess. I used about 1/4 cup of water. Sprinkle with additional parsley, salt and pepper if desired.
Optional: Broil until lightly browned and bubbly if desired. Add some grilled chicken breast to make it more of a meal too!
Total calories = 2138
6 generous servings = 356 per serving
Calories calculated from calorieking.com. Some numbers are approximate and rounded.
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