The Foodie Physician: Cooking with Sienna: Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower

Cooking with Sienna: Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower

Skip the boxed macaroni and cheese and make this dish for your family instead!  My mac and cheese is easy to make and a lot healthier. 


#naturalbabyfood #macandcheese #cookbook


As some of you know, my cookbook, Natural Pregnancy Cookbook, was recently released.  The follow up book, which is due to be released next month, is called Natural Baby Food.  I’m really excited about this project because it features over 125 nutritious recipes for babies and toddlers.  And the last section in the book includes easy dishes that the whole family can enjoy together.  While I was writing the book, I got to test many of the recipes on my own daughter Sienna!




When Katrina from Mama’s Organized Chaos approached me about teaming up to review some of the recipes from the book, I was all for it!  After all, I would love to get feedback from real moms who are interested in making nutritious, homemade food for their little ones.  So, each month for the next four months, this group of mamas will try out one of my recipes from the book and then rate them in categories such as taste and ease of preparation.  The recipes they will be testing are: 

- Sweet Potato Pancakes
- Turkey Florentine Meatballs
- Zucchini Tots
- Tropical Rice Pudding

If you are interested in joining the group and getting a sneak peak at some of the recipes from the book, head over to the Facebook group HERE.  We would love to get more people to participate!


#naturalbabyfood #macandcheese #cookbook


First up for the taste testers was my Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower.  When I was brainstorming ideas for this book, I just knew I had to include a macaroni and cheese recipe.  I mean, what kid doesn’t like mac and cheese?  It definitely was my favorite dish growing up.  But I wanted to add something to up the nutrition of the dish.  One simple substitution I made was to use whole grain pasta instead of traditional pasta.  You should aim to make half of all the grains you (and your little ones) eat be whole grains.  The second change I made was to include cauliflower in the dish.  Cauliflower is packed with powerful antioxidants as well as fiber, protein and an impressive array of vitamins and minerals.  Broccoli was the first vegetable that popped into my head but a lot of kids will revolt at the site of those green trees.  Cauliflower has similar health benefits as broccoli and it has a mild flavor.  And when you roast it in the oven, it gets nicely caramelized and crispy on the edges. 


Overall, this recipe was approved by all of the mamas in the group- yay!  Some of the feedback was that the cheese may have been a little strong for their little ones.  If that’s the case, you may want to start with a mild cheddar or even Monterey Jack (or a mixture).   Either choice would be a healthier option than using processed cheese. 


#naturalbabyfood #macandcheese #cookbook


Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower
Makes about 5 servings

Ingredients:
3 cups small cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni, preferably whole grain
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk*
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 ounces (about 2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese*


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Toss the florets with the oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven until edges are browned and cauliflower is cooked, 15-18 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to package directions.  Drain. 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk until a smooth paste forms. Cook a minutes until the paste is a light tan.  Whisk in the milk.  Bring to a simmer, whisking often, until a smooth sauce forms.  Whisk in the mustard and ½ teaspoon salt.  Simmer the sauce for a few minutes until it is thickened.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese until fully melted.

Add the cooked macaroni and roasted cauliflower to the sauce and stir to combine well. 


One serving: Calories 425; Fat 19.8g (Sat 11.7g); Protein 18.5g; Carb 44.4g; Fiber 5.1g; Sodium 479mg

* Note that the nutritional calculations for this recipe use whole milk and full-fat cheese because unless otherwise directed by your doctor, babies and toddlers under 2 should not be eating reduced-fat or fat-free products.  They need the fat for proper growth and development.  For adults, you can reduce the calories and fat content by substituting reduced-fat milk and cheese.


#naturalbabyfood #macandcheese #cookbook

35 comments :

  1. So excited about your next book! As a pediatric RD this will be a wonderful resource for Moms!

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    1. Thanks Lauren! I can't wait to share it with you!

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  2. I love the addition of cauliflower for extra nutrition! yum!

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  3. This is great! My fiance LOVES mac & cheese, and I would love seeing him eat it with some added nutrients, like cauli!

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    1. That's great! I hope you guys like it if you try it :)

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  4. This looks fantastic Sonali! I can't wait to see their feedback! I'm sure it's going to be delicious!

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  5. This looks delightful! Perfect for a chilly night.

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  6. Looks delish Sonali! I love that you keep the cauliflower whole, although I find that some kids will shy away from it at the site of the whole vegetable, so I've pureed cauliflower and added it to cheese sauces to get the veggie in. I let the kids know it's in there - I'm not into sneaking veggies into the diet! Congrats on the new cookbook - can't wait to see it!

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    1. Thanks Jessica! I totally agree with everything you wrote. I'm not a fan of sneaking in veggies either, but I have to admit I've been guilty of doing it now and then. Desperate times call for desperate measures :)

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  7. The sharper the cheese the better for my daughters. They would gobble this up. And they adore roasted veggies.

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    1. Your girls have very sophisticated palates! Thanks Katie :)

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  8. Wow - Sonali you re such an inspiration - congrats on your next book - cannot wait to see it!
    BTW - love the cauliflower in this - delightful!

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  9. The little girl I nanny would LOVE this!

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  10. Roasted Cauliflower is SOOOO GOOD!!! My fiance... Ohhh weird to say that, but I LOVE IT... Made some at XMAS and um, I ate the whole platter - SO DANG GOOD. He will be making it all the damn time when we are married! ALL THE DAMN TIME. Hope he knows this ;)

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    1. CONGRATS!!! That's awesome! And yes, put him to work- it's never too early!!

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  11. I just couldn't miss this luscious scrumptious pasta. Love the addition of cauliflower - it smoothes out quite a distinctive cheddar's flavor and i introduces a lovely texture. Well done, Sonali!

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    1. Happy New Year Ben! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  12. So exciting about your book! I can't wait to try these recipes on my picky toddler! This mac & cheese looks divine and I bet tastes amazing!

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    1. Thanks so much Katie! I hope your toddler loves them. Any feedback is much appreciated!

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  13. Love how healthy and delicious this mac and cheese is! Congrats on the book, can't wait to get it, even though I don't have kids yet!

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  14. Ummm, yes please! This looks amazing! <3 (That's awesome that you got to taste-test a ton of recipes on your daughter! :P Kid-approved!) I actually thought I hated mac n' cheese for the longest time, but I'm glad I finally saw the light. (As it turns out, there are just certain types of cheese that I despise. :O )

    Those sweet potato pancakes sound delicious too! <3

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    1. Thank goodness you changed your ways about mac n' cheese otherwise I don't think we could be friends, lol!! Thanks so much Farrah :)

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  15. Wow I've seen Mac n cheese with squashes, but never caulifower! Love the uniqueness Sonali!

    xo,
    Sarah Grace

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  16. My husband is never thrilled when I try to get more cauliflower in our meals, but I know with this recipe he will be asking for more!

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  17. good morning Sonali and I can tell you that I am making this tonight because my husband is a big baby at heart and he will love this lol xoxo

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