Hey there 2017, how are you?
I am back. Back in the States. Back in Baltimore. Back to menu planning and food prep. Now I want to get back to sharing some of the things going on in my kitchen with you. Sounds like a plan!
Spinach cauli mac and cheese, Greek quiche, and African peanut soup…ready for the week ahead.
Getting back into the blog has been on my mind since the beginning the year, but my impetus for this posting is a request for a recipe I recently made. And if I am going to share it I decided I should do so here. I’ll get better the the pictures too. I only had one on my phone from this recipe.
I have been participating in challenge groups run by my awesome friend and BeachBody coach (and college roommate) Chris! She has been inspirational in her motivation, support and enthusiasm. But not in a too chipper-i-might-choke you kind of way. In a way that makes me so proud knowing what huge changes she has made in her lifestyle and perspective since I met her 20 (eek, holy shit!) years ago. Chris runs some great challenges with fun people that keep me on track and consistent in my daily workouts and eating. You can find her on Instagram or facebook.
While I am not currently participating in any challenges. I was sharing some of my weekly meal prep from Sunday with the group and someone asked for recipes. One recipe was a spinach cauliflower mac and cheese dish that I made up.
I started with Chungah’s recipe from her great food blog Damn Delicious. But I wanted to use the cauliflower to increase the creaminess of the sauce not just in place of some of the noodles. And I also wanted a full meal in one serving with this so I added in spinach. My version is below. She used panko instead of bread crumbs, which I would have done, but we were out.
Spinach Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
1.5 cups Elbow Protein Pasta
550g or 1 medium Cauliflower, chopped in florets (separate 2 cups to add to boiling noodles)
1 Tbs olive oil
100g or 1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
3/4 cup, Organic Whole Milk
1/2c 2% greek yogurt
1 tsp ground mustard
½ tsp turmeric
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
80g (3/4c) Gruyere, shredded
50g (1/2c) sharp cheddar, shredded
30g (1/3c) Parmesan, shredded
300g (~10oz) cooked spinach, well drained and roughly chopped
3 Tbs Italian Bread Crumbs (or panko)
4 Tbs parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray or grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook noodles using the shortest recommended cooking time (or decrease by 2 min). During the last 3 minutes of cooking time, add separated 2 cups of cauliflower florets. Drain well.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pot with lid. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, ~3-4 minutes. Add in remaining cauliflower and saute for 3-4 min before adding ½ cup water. Cover and steam until cauliflower is soft about 5 min. Turn off heat then puree** the cauliflower-onion mixture, adding in the milk, Greek yogurt, and salt, pepper, mustard powder, turmeric while blending. If using a normal blender return puree to pot and stir in shredded cheeses until combined.
Finally stir in boiled noodles and cauliflower, and chopped spinach.
Transfer pasta mixture into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle the top with panko, parsley, with a bit more salt and pepper and paprika for color if desired. Bake uncovered 30 min, until warm, bubbly, and brown on top.
**If using a standard blender please make sure to properly vent the jar while blending to avoid pressure build up. No, exploding blenders!! I found my hand blender didn’t get my puree as smooth as I wanted so I stepped up to the blendtec…it turned out so smooth!
Nutritional info calculated with MyFitnessPal.
Cals 385 / Fat 12g (6g Sat) / Carbs 51g / Protein 24g / Fiber 8g / Sugar 7g