Eat

Give Your Mac An Upgrade

PACK ON HARD-BAKED MUSCLE OR ELBOW AWAY UNWANTED FAT WITH THESE TWISTS ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST SATISFYINGLY DIRTY COMFORT FOOD. GET READY TO RAISE YOUR CHEF STATUS TO MAC COOK PRO.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

PACK ON HARD-BAKED MUSCLE OR ELBOW AWAY UNWANTED FAT WITH THESE TWISTS ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST SATISFYINGLY DIRTY COMFORT FOOD. GET READY TO RAISE YOUR CHEF STATUS TO MAC COOK PRO.

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A GRATER PHYSIQUE

ENLIST CHEESE TO FIGHT FAT FOR YOU

Recently revived in the UK by pop-ups and equally hipsterific food trucks, mac ‘n’ cheese has been a crowd-pleaser in America ever since US president and Founding Father Thomas Jefferson requested it for a state dinner back in 1802. It may still be a guilty pleasure, but ripped redemption is here.

The secret is in the sauce – a tasty blend of milk, cashews and parmesan cheese that packs a potent mix of animal and plant proteins to stimulate muscle growth.

Cashews are also high in magnesium, which supports energy production and strong bones, while the hefty portion of parmesan contains phosphorus to help synthesize protein for muscle growth.

Along with low-glycaemic pasta (whole wheat, spelt or buckwheat) adding high-quality, energising carbs, this muscle meal will help fuel your body’s own revolution.

INGREDIENTS

1 white onion, diced

1 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

¼ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp mustard powder

Chilli flakes (optional)

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp black pepper

250ml skimmed milk

2 stalks spring onions

BULK-UP EXTRAS

85g cashews, (soak 70g; reserve 15g, chopped)

100g macaroni, whole wheat, spelt or buckwheat 250ml water

85g parmesan, grated

BULK UP

731 CALORIES

37G FAT

36.5G PROTEIN

63G CARBOHYDRATE

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METHOD (SERVES TWO)

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1 SOAK IT ALL IN

Get a head start by soaking the cashews in water overnight. When dinnertime arrives, warm up the oven to 200 deg C, then boil the macaroni tubes according to the packet instructions. Tip: Save the water when you drain the pasta – you may need it later.

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2 GET ON THE SAUCE

Brown the onions (use olive oil – it helps bring out the cancer-fighting phenols) for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Throw in the garlic, spices, salt and pepper, and stir for 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and stir in the milk. Meanwhile, slice the spring onions and store them to one side.

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3 MAKER’S MILK

Now rinse and drain those soft, soaking cashews and blend until smooth before combining with your sauce. If it is too thick, drizzle in some of that pasta water you resourcefully saved earlier, until you get a rich, creamy consistency.

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4 GARNISH FOR GAINS

Toss the sauce over the cooked pasta along with the cheese and spring onions, and sprinkle with the remaining chopped cashews for a cholesterol-free antioxidant hit. Bake in an oven-safe dish for 20 minutes, until your mac ‘n’ cheese has a creamy texture and a golden, nutty crust. Dig in.

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RETURNS FROM THE MAC

GO LARGE WITHOUT EXPANDING YOUR WAISTLINE.

Tucking into classic North American diner fodder doesn’t mean you need Hummer-size portions to match (or American – or any – cheese, for that matter). Combining a smaller serving of whole grain pasta with some chopped cauliflower delivers hunger-crushing dietary fibre without piling on extra, unwanted calories – 100g of (stealthily incorporated) cauliflower adds 2.3g of fibre and 74 percent of your daily requirement for immunity-boosting vitamin C for just 23 calories.

A slimmed-down sauce of low-fat Greek yogurt and corn flour means you still get to savour the creamy sauce that makes mac ‘n’ cheese so moreish, without worrying about maxing out on fat.

Meanwhile, the powerful flavour-boosting combo of mustard, paprika and chilli flakes will shift your metabolism up a few gears in the background while you slow down to enjoy your favourite comfort food, guilt-free.

INGREDIENTS

1 white onion, diced

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

¼ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp mustard powder

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp black pepper

250ml skimmed milk

Chilli flakes (optional)

SLIM-DOWN EXTRAS

200g cauliflower

2 stalks spring onions

50g pasta, whole wheat, spelt or buckwheat

1 tbsp corn flour

170ml natural, fat-free Greek-style yogurt

SLIM DOWN

445 CALORIES

17G FAT

29.5G PROTEIN

19G CARBOHYDRATE

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METHOD (SERVES TWO)

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1 GO FLORET

Set the oven thdo 200 deg C. Set a handful of cauliflower aside and cut the rest into macaroni-size pieces. Cook them in salted boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain. (Tip: cut an “X” into the core of cauliflower florets to boil faster.) Finely chop the remainder for a crispy topping. Slice the spring onions and set them aside.

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2 USE YOUR NOODLES

Brown the onions in olive oil for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Throw in the garlic, spices, salt and pepper, and stir for 2 minutes. Remove the pan and stir in the milk (use almond milk to cut more than 50 percent of the calories). Boil the macaroni according to the packet instructions. Save some of the drained water.

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3 CREAM THE COMPETITION

Mix the corn flour with 2 tablespoons of pasta water, then add it to the milk sauce and simmer for a few minutes on medium heat. When the sauce has thickened, take it off the heat and stir in the yogurt.

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4 SAY CHEESE

Toss the sauce over the pasta, cauliflower and onions, sprinkle over the extra cauliflower topping plus cheese with some olive oil and salt, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Now soak up the creamy, guilt-free glory.

RECIPES ADRIA WU 

PHOTOS 123RF

PHOTO (MACARONI) 123RF