I dreamt about this recipe after some late night Mac n Cheese talk with my love. (Yes, we’re always hungry!) We’ve really been watching our calories lately and both missed that decadent Mac and Cheese we ate on our first date at The Den on Sunset. I knew I had to have it and I knew there was a way to make it without all the guilt.
So I spent most of my day at work researching “healthy” macaroni and cheese recipes (sorry boss) and found there are GREAT ways to substitute. Still, this would be a good place to stop reading and do 25 squats. Just as part of the preperation…
Alright, without further delay, my “Sneaky Sneaky Baked Mac n Cheesy”
Half a bag of whole wheat rigatoni
Entire bag of baby spinach
Half a bag of broccoli florets
Full bag of crimini mushrooms
2 handfuls shredded cheese (I went with TJ’s quatro formaggio and used about 1/3 of the bag)
4 oz of 0% Fage Greek Yogurt (because if it’s good enough for Bobby Flay, it’s good enough for me)
Oregano1. Get your water boiling with some olive oil and tons of salt (not literally tons but you know what I mean)
2. Sauté your mushrooms in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat for about 3 – 5 mins stirring occasionally to get all sides browned. Add garlic powder and oregano and remove from heat.
3. Resist from eating all the mushrooms right out of the pan.
4. Break up broccoli florets into bite sized pieces. And munch on the raw stems; you won’t need these for the recipe but they’re good for you so don’t throw them away.
5. Call your significant other and get them excited about dinner tonight. Stay discreet.
6. Add raw broccoli and spinach to your pasta strainer and leave in the sink. You’ll eventually drain the pasta over the veggies causing the spinach to wilt and the broccoli to warm through.
7. Wait til your pasta is al dente then do the last part of step 6. Leave a few tablespoons of pasta water in the pot. This will help thicken your sauce a bit.
8. Your stomach just growled…
9. Throw the pasta, reserved water, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms in a bowl. Add cheese and greek yogurt. Stir. Mix well. Add seasonings. (If you like your mac n cheese creamy you can stop right here and grab a fork…)
10. Crack an egg into a separate bowl and mix to get the yolk and whites combined.
11. Are you still with me?
12. Add egg to bowl and mix everything really well.
13. Transfer to a baking dish that’s been lightly sprayed with cooking oil.
14. Oh crap, I forgot to tell you to preheat the oven to 375. Do that now…
16. I had some thin parchment crackers in the house so I threw them in a zip lock bag and smashed em up to a bread crumb consistency. I added some nutritional yeast to that for a nutty flavor and used this as my bread crumb topping. You can do this or buy some Italian bread crumbs & sprinkle on top. Or you can skip this step all together. It will still be DELICIOUS!
15. Bake Pasta for about 20 – 25 minutes & broil on high for 3 mins.
Let it cool for a while before you taste. Trust me.