Mac ‘n Cheese For Grown-Ups
This is a healthy one-dish-meal recipe of “macaroni and cheese” that grown-ups can actually enjoy with their kids. Lightly steamed vegetables and seasoned tofu are added to whole grain pasta and stirred into a highly flavorful sharp cheddar cheese sauce. I got the idea for this recipe from the delicious “Country Cheddar” Amy’s Bowl. Sometimes I get these Amy’s Bowls on sale for quick meals that I can pull out of the freezer if I’m in a pinch. Amy’s products are all natural, organic, and taste great for frozen meals. This particular variety was so good that I felt inspired to re-create it as a non-frozen variation that the whole family could enjoy together. – Jessica
12 oz firm tofu
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 oz whole wheat rotini pasta
1 medium potato, cut into small cubes (1/2” or smaller)
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small florets
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2” x 2” strips
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks or very thin slices (I use a mandolin slicer)
1 cup milk (fat content doesn’t matter)
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 Tbsp flour
8-10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
PREPARE TOFU: Prepare the tofu by first draining out the water it is packaged in and then pressing out some more water by placing the brick between a few layers of paper towels and pressing down on it. You don’t need to do this for a long time. Just enough to dry it out a little bit. This will help the tofu brown quicker and help it soak up other flavors. Slice the tofu into slices about 1/2”x1/2”x1”. I simply lay the brick down on a cutting board and since it is already about 1” or 1 1/2” thick, I just make 1/2” slices all the way across lengthwise and then 1/2” slices all the way across crosswise.
SAUTE: Heat oil in a large skillet or fry pan over medium high heat. You will want to choose one with a lid. Stir the tofu in and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides. Pour the tofu into a bowl and set aside.
PASTA: Prepare the rotini according to package instructions. Drain and set aside when done.
VEGETABLES: While the pasta is boiling, place the prepared vegetables into the pan that the tofu was cooked in. Stir over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds, then stir in 2-3 Tbsp water and quickly cover the pan with a lid. Turn the heat down to medium. Start making the sauce while the veggies steam for 3-5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan and add to the tofu bowl once they are crisp-tender and still brightly colored.
SAUCE: Place all sauce ingredients except for the cheese into a blender. Blend until well mixed. Then pour into the same pan that the tofu and vegetables cooked in. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Stir in the cheese.
COMBINE: Add the tofu, pasta, & vegetables to the cheese sauce in the large skillet. Stir until everything is well coated and warmed.