Cheesy vegetable mac-n-cheese. Courtesy of Mead Bowen.
Every person has their own, personal, comfort food. Whether it's drizzled with hot fudge, fresh from the local chowda shop or slathered in cheddar, there's always that dish that just makes you plain happy.
Many times, though, these dishes act like hurricanes on your diet, ripping belts away, popping buttons and giving you general discomfort the next time you go to the department store. Thus, the question:
How do you take a comforting gooey delight and make it better for you?
As far as macaroni (or maccheroni, if we're to be technical) goes, add a bit of greens, switch up the type of cheese you're using and try your hand at a little home-made pasta sauce, and you've got yourself a dish that will please you now and later.
Make sure to check out Fresco: Neighborhood Italian on 3117 SW 34th St., too. This place packs a piatto of pasta, salads and good old-fashioned Italian dishes that'll hit that comfort spot every time.
Cheesy vegetable mac-n-cheese
1 lb. (2 c./16 oz.) macaroni, cavatelli or rotinni pasta
2 c. shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
1 small onion, diced
1 pkg. frozen broccoli (or frozen mixed vegetables)
2 c. plain soy milk
2 T. butter substitute or olive oil
salt, to taste
Cook pasta to package directions, set aside. Cook broccoli to package directions and also set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, heat the butter or olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook until translucent.
Pour in the milk and bring up to medium heat. Using a whisk, slowly stir in flour, alternating with with the shredded cheese, until the mixture begins to thicken. Season liberally with black pepper and basil, and add salt to taste (remember, the cheese will have some salt in it, so be cautious).
Mix the pasta, broccoli and sauce together in a large bowl and serve. Top with homemade pasta sauce, if desired.