Let me preface this article with the fact that I only use White Cheddar…white cheddar, you say? Why, that Mac N’ Cheese is Orange…well, yes it is!! I refuse to purchase cheese that has been dyed in a factory. No thank you! There are so many creative ways to make that “Classic” Orange Cheddar colour. I believe that sometimes we can present an old favourite, in a more healthy way. Lately, I’m trending on #plantbased. Don’t get me wrong, I regularly enjoy healthy cuts of free range, pastured, antibiotic meat, but I believe that adding vegetables to our lives wherever possible is the most simple way to cut costs on groceries, help the environment and add extra nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes to your diet. The enzymes in fruits and vegetables, or plants, help us to digest our food. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables help us to combat free radicals in our systems, and the fibre in our vegetables feed our gut bacteria, which contributes positively to our mental health. Fibre also helps us to clear toxins in our bodies through our bowel movements. The ability to clear toxins from our bodies reduces inflammation, which contributes to the health of the system. So…Meatless Monday it is! When you’re dealing with kids, you’ll experience the most success when you attempt to meet them “where they’re at,” Mac N’ Cheese and Margherita Pizzas, are really “simple” ways to add one Vegetarian Meal to their week.
Just one cup of Butternut Squash in your Cheese Sauce increases the Nutrient Density of the Classic Mac N’ Cheese, plus it deeply contributes to that beautiful orange colour that kids love!
Also contributing to the orange colour, are 1tsp of Turmeric Powder and 1/4tsp of Mustard Powder. A small amount of Mustard Powder will add a sharp cheddar flavour to your Cheese Sauce. Feel free to leave it out, if you find the flavour to be too bold. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and colourful spice, that is activated by black pepper, which of course, we’re going to want to add to our delicious noodles!
BUTTERNUT CHEESE SAUCE
2tbsp of Butter or Ghee
2tbsp of Gluten Free Flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Blend)
1 cup of Coconut Milk (or Lactose Free Milk)
1cup of Puréed Butternut Squash
2cups of White Cheddar
1/4tsp of Mustard Powder
1tsp of Turmeric Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Over Low/Medium Heat, melt the Butter or Ghee. Once melted whisk in the Gluten Free Flour Blend. Add your Milk option (I use Coconut Milk) until combined into a roux. Next whisk in the Puréed Butternut Squash. Add the Turmeric and the Mustard Powder. Blend in the White Cheddar, if the sauce is too thick for your liking, add more Coconut Milk, or thin with a Bone Broth. Finally, add Salt and Pepper to taste. While preparing the sauce, cook your favourite gluten free noodles. Combine the cheese sauce with your cooked noodles and enjoy with a salad or freshly cut vegetables.
The trick with Gluten Free Noodles, especially varieties that contain Rice is to rinse them with Cold Water after cooking. You can reheat them with Hot Water before serving or throw them into a steamy sauce!
Meatless Monday is just another simple way to add more vegetables to your life. Feel free to eat this meal on any day of the week. I guarantee it’ll taste just as delicious, however, I find creating simple rules about food, contributes to the formation of a Habit. If the Habit you’d like to form is eating extra vegetables then may I suggest Meatless Monday?