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Better-than-Boxed Cheesy Macaroni with Cauliflower

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    What makes this better than macaroni from a box? Real cheese! Delicious hot, sent to school in a Thermos, you can also send this as a cold macaroni salad. To increase the vegetable content even more, add a cup of broccoli, peas, or diced carrots to the pasta-cooking water five minutes before draining.

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    2 cups (500 mL) cauliflower florets
    2 cups (500 mL) dried macaroni or gluten-free pasta
    1 1/2 cups (350 mL) milk
    1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt
    2 green onions, white parts only, roughly chopped
    1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
    1 tsp (5 mL) Worcestershire sauce
    1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) nutmeg
    1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) pepper
    Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
    2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 Tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose unbleached flour or gluten-free flour
    1/4 cup (60 mL) grated sharp white cheddar
    1/4 cup (60 mL) grated Gruyère
    2 Tbsp (30 mL) freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano

    Steam cauliflower florets for 7 minutes, or until easily pierced with fork.

    Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Reduce heat, partially cover, and cook for 5 minutes or until almost al dente.

    Transfer cauliflower to blender or food processor with milk, salt, green onion, Dijon, Worchestershire sauce, nutmeg, pepper, and cayenne, if using. Blend until smooth.

    In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. When hot, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for an additional 2 minutes. Whisk in cauliflower purée and bring to a boil.

    Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in cheeses and remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and stir to combine.

    Serves 6.

    Each serving contains: 256 calories; 12 g protein; 9 g total fat (5 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 35 g total carbohydrates (4 g sugars, 4 g fibre); 217 mg sodium

    Gluten-free option

    You can make this recipe with gluten-free macaroni or any other shape of pasta, but make sure your Worcestershire sauce is also gluten-free, or simply leave it out and add an extra tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

    source: "Build a Better Lunch", alive #383, September 2014

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    Better-than-Boxed Cheesy Macaroni with Cauliflower

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