Broccoli Bacon Mac and Cheese
If you are trying to get your family to eat healthier or get the kids to branch out from just pasta and cheese for dinner, this dish may make the transition easier. When my daughter was young, we called this dish “Goulash” and she loved it. As a side dish this can be served alongside a chicken breast, burger patty, or other protein choice. For a Goulash-style complete meal, add protein to the dish: chopped chicken, Canadian bacon, ham, ground meat, etc. Substitute broccoli with cauliflower or eliminate bacon and replace with turkey bacon or pancetta. The choices are endless.
- 4 cups chopped broccoli florets, bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup dry Barilla Plus penne noodles
- 4 bacon slices, makes about 1/2 cup chopped
- 1 cup non-fat or low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt and 1 teaspoon pepper
- Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a sauce pan; add noodles with a pinch of salt and cook for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In same pan, bring 1 cup of water, with a steamer basket inside, to boil. Add the broccoli and steam for 2.5 minutes. Immediate drain and rinse with very cold water. You can also use the microwave to steam the broccoli.
- To cook bacon, I like to place it in the microwave on layers of paper towels and cover with another layer. Cook on high for approximately 3-4 minutes depending on the intensity of your microwave. Remove bacon from paper towels and chop into bit-sized pieces.
- In a sauté pan, heat the butter until melted and with a whisk, add the flour a little at a time; quickly mix together until smooth. Slowly add the milk, stirring as you pour. Add the spices. Bring to a low boil then turn off heat.
- Toss the broccoli, bacon and noodles together and in an 11 x 7 inch casserole pan, spread half the broccoli-noodle mix into pan and spread evenly.
- Spread half the milk mixture and one cup of cheese evenly over broccoli mix. Repeat, ending with cheese on top.
- Place dish in a 425 degree heated oven for 20 minutes, or until entire dish is bubbling. Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes and serve.
Paula Hendricks is a Certified Nutritionist with Hendricks for Health, a bariatric health center in Sacramento, California.