Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 26: The Mac Attack (Not the Apple Computer)

Out of every culture, I believe Americans have a true understanding of real "comfort" food, and what dish comes to my mind first? Macaroni and Cheese! Everyone has a version they like--some even like it out of a box (not going to lie, I used to like the ones shaped like bicycles and dinosaurs when I was little). My mom used to make hers baked with stewed tomatoes in it to sneak in some veggies (but although it added some good tomato-flavoring, I always hated the texture of stewed tomatoes and would pick them out). One of the best mac-n-cheese I've had in NYC has been at two places: 1) Dogmatic, a contemporary hot-dog joint in Union Square that serves their multiple varieties of hot-dogs in mini French baguettes complete with various side dishes, including their delectable mac-n-cheese and 2) Cafeteria, which took a step further to combine two cultures' comfort staples by inventing mac-n-cheese stuffed egg-rolls. That's right--they actually stuffed some wonton skins with baked, cheesy macaroni (genius idea, if you ask me, and they're SO good, but unfortunately really bad for you, so I shouldn't even be mentioning them on this healthy food blog).

However, with that said, my sister made some healthy gluten-free AND lactose-free mac 'n' cheese tonight and I got her to write down her recipe this time! Technically it's not vegan since although she used lactose-free cheese, it's still an animal by-product, because we haven't been able to discover a decent-tasting vegan cheese yet. But for those of you cheese-lovers out there that are also lactose intolerant and die at the thought of never being able to eat cheese again, fear not and try this delicious recipe that unlike the title of this post, will NOT attack your gastrointestinal system!

Hannah’s Baked Mac n’ Cheese
Makes about 3 servings

1/2 cup gluten-free quinoa macaroni (she used Andean Dream)
2 tbsp of unsalted margarine
2 egg yolks (you want about 2 tbsp. of egg yolk)
½  tsp salt (adjust for taste—taste the sauce as you make it)
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp onion powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp. Tofutti cream cheese
1 cup shredded 50% reduced-fat chedder cheese (*Note: Cabot brand contains no lactose)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Tobasco hot sauce
¼ tsp.Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp gluten-free rice flour (she used ground Rice Chex instead) 
2 tbsp. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (Use Cabot brand again)
3 pieces frozen or fresh broccoli chopped
4 mini yellow heirloom tomatoes chopped

1) Preheat an oven to 400 degrees and grease a medium-sized loaf pan with Pam olive oil or Pam butter 
2) Rinse the quinoa macaroni in a colander to get rid of the bitterness.
3) Fill a small saucepan with water, and bring to a boil.
4) Stir in the macaroni; boil until cooked but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes, maybe more—test it by tasting a piece. Drain well and set aside.
5) In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
6) Whisk together the egg yolks, salt, pepper, onion powder, and milk until smooth (about 2 minutes) and add to the saucepan.
7) Reduce heat to low and whisk in the cup of cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.
8) Cook on low until the sauce reaches a thickness similar to that of an Alfredo sauce.
9) Add the broccoli and tomatoes to the mixture and stir
10) Spoon the cooked macaroni in the loaf pan, spreading it out evenly.
11) Spread the sauce evenly over the macaroni and sprinkle with Chex crumbs and 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese12) Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the macaroni is heated through, about 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately!

Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

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