Mexican Mac and Cheese (Cauliflower)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Nothing beats comfort food like mac and cheese! I absolutely love mac and cheese, but I don't love all the carbs and calories that come with it! Those I could definitely live without :) 

I have to admit... this recipe doesn't taste exactly like mac and cheese because it uses cauliflower instead of pasta, but it is a a great alternative and it still tastes pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Oh... and the hubs asked when I was making it again so I think that counts as two thumbs up! 

You still get the same great taste from the gooey cheese sauce, but without the high starch from the pasta. Not to mention, I wanted to give this mac and cheese a little kick so I added some green chilies, green peppers and ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning. Don't get me wrong. I love plain old mac and cheese, but sometimes you need to add some variety to your life. 


And why did I need this comfort food on this very day? Not that I needed a reason to make comfort food, but if I had a reason, it just might make me feel better. Okay... probably not, since this dish is totally on the Medifast plan and I have no guilt whatsoever in devouring it because yes... that is what I did. Not a morsel left on my plate. It just felt like I was cheating, even though I wasn't. Gosh darn those guilty feelings that seem to pop up when they aren't suppose to.


Now this is what I saw outside in my backyard! A cloudy rainy day in Vegas screams comfort food!


Not only was it raining, but there was hail! In the month of May! Now if that doesn't scream comfort food, then I don't know what does.


I cut up my cauliflower in small bite size pieces and cook them until tender. I really like to cut them into very small pieces so I don't get a big chunk of cauliflower in your mac and cheese. You don't want the cauliflower to overpower the dish. You could use frozen or fresh cauliflower for this recipe but I used fresh.


I added canned green chilies, green peppers and jalapenos to the cauliflower, but feel free to use red peppers instead of the green for extra color.


Then I added ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning. You could use plain ground beef, but the taco seasoning helps to add more flavor.


Stir it up and set aside because it is time to make the best part! The cheese sauce!


Add all the ingredients for the sauce and stir until smooth.


Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and ground beef mixture.


Give it a good stir and make sure all the bits and pieces are coated with the cheese sauce. You wouldn't want any piece to feel left out!


Pour it into a casserole dish.


Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!


Mexican Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:
7.5 oz cooked 93% lean ground beef, fat drained (1 1/2 Leans)
1 1/2 tsp low sodium taco seasoning mix (3 Condiments)

5 cups cooked cauliflower, cut into small florets (10 Greens)
1/2 cup chopped green chilies (1 Green)
1/2 cup green or red peppers, diced (1 Green)
2 tbsp jalapenos, chopped (2 Condiments)

For the sauce:
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk (1 Condiment)
3 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese (3 Condiments)
1 tsp dijon mustard (1 Condiment)
1 1/2 tbsp Kraft parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 Condiments)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (1/2 Condiment)
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican or sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 Leans)

Topping:
1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican or sharp cheddar cheese (1 Lean)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 inch square casserole dish lightly with cooking spray.

Combine cooked ground beef with taco seasoning mix and 1/4 cup water in a small skillet. Heat over medium high heat. Cook until sauce thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, combine seasoned ground beef, cauliflower pieces, green chilies, green or red peppers and jalapenos. Set aside.

Pour cashew milk into a medium sized sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the cream cheese, dijon mustard, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. Stir until combined and cream cheese is melted. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and sauce is nice and smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower beef mixture and stir until everything is coated with the cheese sauce. Pour mixture into a prepared dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the top. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Divide into 4 even portions.


4 Servings with 1 Lean, 3 Greens and 3 Condiments per serving


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