The thought of a nice creamy cheesy macaroni n cheese gives an instant smile , an instant craving . But most of the times we brush off the idea of a hearty meal of mac and cheese just because it scares ....... for it's calorie count and virtually no fiber content . High on yum factor , the dish does not confirm to my food ideology . A dish high on fats and carbs must be accompanied with a lot of vegetables for me.
My husband loves the cheesiest of the macaroni and cheese and i had to come up with something which satiates his taste buds and my food ideology at the same time... this version of less cheesy mac and cheese has been served to people ranging from teenagers to senior citizens and one phenomenon has been repeated time and again....every time i made it for friends or extended family , all of them got greedy for the leftovers .
That 'abc' would love it , or it will be great for my diabetic 'xyz' ..... and while i would happily pack them a dabba full of this pasta , i would always cheat .....i would always keep a small bowl for my own 'xyz' ... the husband . He always asks if there is some leftover ...
As with other healthy homemade options , this one comes with a bit of additional peeling , cleaning and chopping too . But the effort can be minimized if you use the food processor or a convenient chopper , the effort is worth as you'd repeat this pasta for many meals to come.
( For 2-3 servings )
whole wheat macaroni pasta 2 cups ( boiled )
milk 300 ml or some more if needed
oats 1 tbsp ( heaped )
onion 1 large
garlic 4-5 cloves or as much as you like
celery 2 small sticks and leaves
I use spring onions instead of celery sometimes and it's good too
1 small carrot
4-5 florets of cauliflower
nutmeg freshly grated 1/4 tsp
black or white pepper powder 1/2 tsp or more
red chilly flakes 1/4 tsp
dried oregano 1/2 tsp ( or use fresh if available )
grated processed cheese or any other cheese of your choice 50-75 gm
butter 2 tsp
salt to taste
Finely chop the onions , garlic , celery sticks and carrots using a chopper or food processor.
Heat the butter in a pan and throw in the chopped veggies into it , keep the flame low and stir fry till they are translucent but not pink ..
Meanwhile chop the cauliflowers and celery leaves too in the same chopper and throw them in the cooking mix...
Add salt , pepper and oregano and stir fry for a minute . Add the grated nutmeg and turn off the heat .
Now pour milk into a casserole dish , add the oatmeal and cook in the microwave till the cereal is cooked . This can be done in a separate pan too. In the casserole , add the cooked vegetables and mix to make a slurry with bits of colorful vegetables . Adjust seasonings . It can be made white by using just the onions , garlic and cauliflowers and it's great that way.
Add half of the cheese and boiled macaroni to this mixture ...
Bake in a preheated oven at 250 degree C till the cheese gets golden brown on top and the pasta sauce sizzles...
The thickness is nice , do not add more milk if you want it drier...
Serve in shallow dishes , i sometimes bake it in individual soup bowls or cups and serve immediately ...
I am yet to see if somebody becomes greedy for this barley version . Well , i am the one who will choose the later always . Try replacing your pasta with boiled barley at least once . You'd love it . See one more recipe how i like barley in a tomato based pasta sauce......