Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pumpkin Mac & "Cheese" (Dairy & Gluten Free)



Finding a truly dairy free AND soy free cheese alternative that actually melts & tastes like real cheese (AND would be able to fool Miss M into thinking it was the real deal) was NOT easy. But, where there is a will, there is a way. Enter: Daiya Cheddar Style & Mozzarella Style Shreds. This is the closest thing to the real deal that I have ever found.

I have made mac & "cheese" with this product before and it was tasty but, could not fool Miss M.  As I browsed my fall pin board on Pinterest one day, I came across a recipe I pinned quite sometime ago for Pumpkin Mac n' Cheese. I just love savory pumpkin dishes! Of course, this recipe called for all kinds of dairy so, instead, I just made my own recipe using the Daiya shreds and added pumpkin. It was a risk since I was pretty much just winging it. End result: The pumpkin made the "cheese" sauce seem even richer & creamier. I loved it, Mr. A loved it & even Miss M loved it. (Finally!  A dairy & gluten free mac & cheese that passes the most rigorous test).  So, overall it was a success...a very filling success at that. And just look at that gooey "cheesy" goodness in the picture!  (I really need to get better at my food photography but, this was done on a whim).

The ONLY major drawback is the cost of the shreds... at over $5 per bag, this will be a rare treat. (Though, I did get 3 different meals that fed the whole family with leftovers, out of 2 bags). So, in the grand scheme of things, not too terrible.  A great way to make this meal stretch even further is to add some tuna & peas (don't be put off by the fact that this dish has pumpkin...just omit the nutmeg garnish).  It's one of Miss M's favorite meals.  (I halve the mack & cheese & use 1 can white albacore tuna and 1 steam fresh bag of frozen peas and I save the other half of the mac & cheese for another meal.).

So, lets get started. You will need:

1 package (12-16 oz) gluten free pasta of your choice (I love Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows, Shells or Spirals)

2 Tbl. Sp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread (I use the soy free version).

1/2 C Daiya Mozzarella style shreds

1 C Daiya Cheddar style shreds

1/2 C unsweetened almond milk

1/2 C canned pumpkin

Salt, Pepper & Garlic Salt (optional) to taste.

Ground Nutmeg for garnish (optional but, will bring out the pumpkin flavor)

Directions:

1.) Prepare the pasta according to the directions. *The best method for Al Dente texture:  Follow the energy saving directions on the package but, check texture after 8-10 min rather than 15.

2.) Drain and rinse the pasta and set aside.

3.) Use the same pot to make your cheese sauce.  Over Medium heat, add the Earth Balance, both Daiya shreds, the almond milk & pumpkin all at once.

4.)  Stir briskly and continuously until the shreds have completely melted.  Just look at that creamy goodness after only 3 minutes...



5.)  Remove from the heat and gently fold in the pasta until well coated.

6.)  Season to taste, garnish with nutmeg if desired & enjoy!

Another shot from a different night...




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