Broccoli Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese

I just realized that my last three recipes were all full-blown comfort meals…I don’t mind it at all! This time of year certainly calls for warm meals that make you want to stay inside and forget about the cold New England weather outside. This mac and cheese was the perfect winter recipe – it has plenty of cheese while sneaking in a bunch of veggies! Then the addition of crumbled bacon is the perfect topping. Enjoy and stay warm!

img_5582

img_5581

fullsizerender-1

Broccoli Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or more if desired)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 1 10-oz package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
  • 10 oz uncooked pasta
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until crisp and remove from pan onto a paper towel-lined plate.

2.) Add onion and garlic to bacon drippings and saute until soft. Add stock, milk, and squash and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

3.) Add pasta, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add in broccoli. Cook until pasta is done and sauce is thickened.

4.) Add 1 cup of cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle bacon and the rest of the cheese on top.

Advertisements

Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I consider these snowy, frigid weeks we’ve been having to be “soup weather.” There’s just something about having a hot bowl of soup on a cold night that makes you feel better (not as much as a sunny beach does, but I’ll take what I can get). I usually love to make my crock pot chili in the winter, and probably will be whipping up another batch of that soon, but I wanted to try something new. I looooove Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup (in a bread bowl…) but I know that since it’s creamy and cheesy it’s also pretty high in calories.

Luckily, I just started getting Cooking Light magazine and they happened to have a lightened-up version of broccoli cheddar soup! The base for this one is actually pureed brown instant rice. Now before you say “ew” and stop reading, hear me out: there’s still tons of cheesy flavor to make this allllmost as good as the original. The rice just gives it a slightly different taste and actually makes it a lot more filling, but it still is full of cheese and broccoli, I promise! I actually thought it tasted a lot like chicken divan in soup form (without the chicken). So maybe that’s what I should be calling it. And maybe I should try it with chicken next time. But for now, here’s the recipe! At only about 300 calories a bowl, there’s still plenty of room for a side salad, a slice of bread, or fruit to go with it too. Enjoy!

IMG_0941

IMG_0942

IMG_0943

IMG_0944

IMG_0945

IMG_0949

Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup


Adapted From: Cooking Light magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock/broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked instant brown rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 lbs broccoli florets, chopped (about 4 cups once stems are removed)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used half sharp and half sharp white)

Directions:

1.) Combine 2 cups stock/broth and rice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally (mine kept trying to boil over). Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

2.) Place rice mixture and milk in a blender or food processor (this was a little messy in my food processor) and blend until smooth.

3.) Heat a large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add oil. Add onions and saute until soft, then add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in broccoli and salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add remaining 2 cups stock/broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Add rice mixture and simmer about 2 minutes while stirring.

4.) Take 2 cups of soup and put into blender/food processor. Blend until smooth and add back to pan. Add pepper and 1 1/2 cups cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Divide soup among 4 bowls and top each with 1/8 cup cheese.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 309
Fat 19 g (9 g saturated)
Fiber 4 g
Carbs 22 g
Sodium 647 mg
Protein 17 g

Lightened-up Broccoli Mac and Cheese

So it’s snowing as I type this. Welcome to New England winters! Therefore, it’s the perfect time for comfort food. This week I made another recipe from The Skinnytaste Cookbook (of course): Skinny Broccoli Mac and Cheese. I made it with whole wheat pasta to add some healthy whole grains and fiber. It was delicious and a very filling meatless dish, but I assume it would also be good with some bacon or chicken (maybe next time 🙂 ). Enjoy!

IMG_0383

IMG_0371

IMG_0372

IMG_0374

IMG_0375

IMG_0376

IMG_0378

IMG_0382

IMG_0385

Lightened-up Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

Ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz. bag broccoli florets (I use Steamfresh so I can steam them right in the microwave!)
  • 12 oz. whole wheat pasta
  • 2 tbsp. butter (I use Earth Balance Organic)
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used 1 1/2 cups reduced fat and 1 cup regular)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Directions:

1.)  Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with oil.

2.) Steam broccoli in the microwave. Cook pasta, drain, and set aside.

3.) In a large skillet (or I used my Dutch oven) melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft.

4.) Add flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in milk and broth. Increase heat to medium-high and whisk until it boils. Cook until sauce gets smooth and thick.

5.) Season with salt and pepper and remove pan from heat. Stir in cheddar until it is melted, then add in the broccoli and pasta and stir.

6.) Pour mixture into the baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then turn oven to broil and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook!)

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 457
Fat 13.8 g
Fiber 6.7 g
Carbs 57 g
Sodium 601 mg
Protein 21.5 g

Lightened-up Chicken Divan!

This is yet another recipe that I’m shocked I haven’t posted, since it’s easy and delicious and a favorite of mine. It’s actually the first recipe my friend Laura taught me to make when I moved out on my own (and now I live with her!) She taught me to make it, from start to finish, and it was awesome. Over time I have tweaked it a bit to make it healthier and even easier; I love a meal that I can make quickly when I get home and am starving and in need of something in my belly RIGHT NOW. I also love a good combo of chicken, cheese, and broccoli (better get it out of my system before I start eating Paleo…) I make this whole thing in my Dutch oven so I can go right  from stove top to oven with much less clean up!

IMG_3826[1]

Lightened-up Chicken Divan

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1 bag frozen, steamable broccoli (about 12 oz.)
  • 4 cups brown rice
  • about 2 cups shredded cheese (any kind! I used Mozzarella and Pepper Jack)
  • about 1 cup milk (I use almond)
  • about 2 tbsp. organic butter
  • about 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat on the stove top, then start adding flour until it gets to a cookie dough-like consistency.

2.) Add a little of the milk and cheese, stirring. Keep adding milk and cheese until you have your desired amount of sauce, making sure to crush up the “clumps” of flour/butter from the roux. The sauce should be sort of thick, because it will thin a bit when you bake. Make as much sauce as you’d like by adding more milk and cheese (I always say you can’t have too much sauce!) Take off heat.

2.) While you’re making the cheese sauce, put the bag of broccoli in the microwave and steam per package instructions. If you are using fresh broccoli, steam until soft.

3.) Add the broccoli and raw chicken to the cheese sauce and stir together. Add salt and pepper to season. Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is done and sauce is bubbly.

4.) While the dish is baking, cook four cups of brown rice according to package directions. Serve the cheesy chicken and broccoli mixture over the rice and enjoy!

**Note: I realize that this is still a very cheesy dish, so it may not be the most lightened-up, healthiest recipe that I’ve ever made. However, it’s a good “indulgence” meal that I have lightened-up significantly from the original version. I’m sure it can be toned down even more, but this version I have found to taste great while still being somewhat good for your waistline. But tips for making it even better are welcome!