I always seem to be craving a creamy, cheesy, piping hot bowl of mac and cheese. As much as I love it, I only indulge every once in a while. I'm always looking for recipe modifications to make my mac and cheese a little bit healthier. This is why butter-flavored coconut oil was a game changer for me.
I love using coconut oil instead of butter because the coconut oil has MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), which are a form of a saturated fat. The good news about MCTs is that they are converted into energy in the body instead of fat AND they provide numerous health benefits like a healthy heart and brain. On top of that, it also has lauric acid and caprylic acid (both MCTs), which are converted into monolaurin. Monolaurin has been studied for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
Here's how I made my mac and cheese a bit healthier: I substituted all the butter in the original recipe with the butter-flavored coconut oil and added cauliflower rice. It's just that easy. The end result was a table of happy and full dinner guests and no leftovers.
8 ounces whole wheat pasta
2 cups cheddar cheese
½ cup pepper jack cheese
3 cups milk
2 ½ Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp Butter Flavored Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp mustard
1 ½ cups cauliflower rice
1 clove garlic (crushed)
- Follow instructions on the box and cook noodles. Drain and set aside.
- Melt butter-flavored coconut oil over medium heat. Make a roux by stirring in the flour. Add milk slowly and continue to stir. Then add mustard, garlic and red pepper flakes. Next stir in the cheeses and cook over low heat until sauce is a little bit thick and all the cheese is melted. Then add mustard, garlic and red pepper flakes.
- Cook 1 ½ cups of cauliflower rice. You can either purchase the cauliflower rice (Trader Joes sells this) or make it yourself. Cut a cauliflower in half and use a cheese grater to grate the cauliflower (it will look like little pieces of rice). Then sauté the cauliflower rice with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Sauté until just cooked through for about 5 minutes.
- Pour noodles into pan (9 x 13 inches), followed by the cauliflower rice and then pour cheesy sauce over noodles. Mix together until sauce is dispersed evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle cheese on top of pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Recipe inspired by: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/11679/homemade-mac-and-cheese/