I am a rubbish blogger this week. I know, I’m really sorry but I’m back on it now with lots more planned! As the final weeks before maternity leave creep up on me, the amount of work in my real job has increased also, so I’ve been pretty lax. So sorry about that! This week’s post is a recipe – because we were so busy with Father’s Day related stuff we haven’t made it to weigh in. So I’m making it up to you and myself with a recipe for basically my favourite meal of all time. Mac n Cheese Slimming World Style!
It’s not the luminous yellow tinned stuff that I lived off when I was in university (I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, you can decide for yourselves!) but it’s my recipe that makes it incredibly friendly for those of us on Slimming World. There are tonnes of recipes out there and mine is but a variation, but it’s the way I like it made and whilst it’s not as creamy and cheesy as the ones we’re used to, it certainly does the trick for those of us trying to lose a few pounds!
• 300g macaroni pasta • Low calorie cooking spray • 2 white onions, finely chopped • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed • 265g finely chopped mixed vegetables • 400ml chicken stock (or vegetable stock) • 3 tablespoons of tomato puree • 200g quark (or low fat cottage cheese) • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard (1.5 syns*) • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten • 160g reduced fat cheddar cheese • Smoked paprika, smoked salt & black pepper
* If you want to make this recipe completely syn free then substitute the Dijon mustard for 1 teaspoon of English mustard powder mixed with 1 teaspoon of water
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6 / 200°c / 180°c fan assisted. Cook the macaroni in boiling water as per the packet instructions. Drain it well and place it in a large mixing bowl… I mean large as well, this recipe makes a lot of cheesy macaroni goodness.
- Whilst that’s happily cooking away, chop your onions (or empty your packet of frozen onions) into a frying pan, along with the mixed vegetables of choice and your two crushed garlic cloves. Spray liberally with the cooking spray and fry on a medium to high heat for about 5 minutes. If you’re cooking with frozen vegetables then just try and get as much of the liquid out of them as you can. If you’re using fresh vegetables, then they should start sweating and becoming a bit translucent. Either way, they’re going in the oven so don’t worry about potentially undercooking them, because you definitely won’t. Once the veggies are done, bung them into your big bowl with your pasta.
- In a separate jug, mix your stock, tomato puree, quark (or cottage cheese), mustard and eggs and whisk until the mixture is smooth. This will look a pretty gross dull salmon colour but trust us on this, that’s how it’s supposed to look. Add this to your big bowl and stir it through your vegetable mac n cheese mixture until the lot of it is coated – it starts to look more palatable at this stage, you see?
- Now add 120g of your cheese (or roughly a cup of it, as it turned out) into the bowl as well as your seasoning. You can leave out the dash of smoked paprika, but I think it adds a little kick that goes pretty nicely with the cheese. You can freestyle a little bit with this recipe and add more of what you like and less of what you don’t. Give everything one last big stir and make sure everything is as even as you can get it.
- Place it in a shallow oven proof dish and lay it out flat. This is the biggest shallow dish I have and it just about fit in so you might have to split it into two dishes (especially if there’s only two of you and you want to freeze a portion each). Once it’s spread out to your liking, sprinkle the last 40g of light cheddar over the top of the wonderful creation and put it in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until the top is starting to bubble and the pasta that’s poking out is starting to harden. If you’re impatient to crunch the top, then put it under the grill for a couple of minutes at the end of the cooking time to finish it off.
This recipe can be frozen for up to a month, but frankly we all know it won’t last that long! It’s great as an accompaniment for a main meal or as a lunch that you can box up in tupperware and take to work with you. You can add chicken breast pieces or bacon to make it more substantial if you want to eat it on its own and the mixed vegetables can be basically anything you want. I use the pasta sauce frozen vegetable mixes that you can get at most supermarkets to bulk out the majority of my meals with super free vegetables, but you can add anything you want and it won’t ruin it!
Probably every house in the world has their own versions of this – naughty and nice – but this is the one we use so we can pig out without feeling guilty! Let us know what you like to add to your mac n cheese to make it your own and if you try our version, let us know what you thought!