I’ve tried so many different things when it comes to weight loss and a few years ago my focus shifted to health (over weight loss, though of course weight loss is still a benefit). One of the things I have tried is being vegan! I had no idea when I cut out all meat and dairy how long I would be doing this for, but I am so thankful for my two month stint simply because of all that I learned and some of the habits that I carried with me. A big one being: Almond milk!
I still try to limit my dairy intake to this day, it can be high fat and calorie and a lot of people have some level of sensitivity to dairy or lactose and may not even realize it. Almond milk is lower in calorie, lower in sugar, and of course dairy and lactose free. A great alternative! Be sure to check the ingredients to make sure there are no added sugars, etc.
Almond milk is great in cereal, whole oats, smoothies or hot chocolate. And I use it as a sub for milk in ANY recipe, so far I have found none (even for baking) that aren’t just as delicious! And, no need to buy flavored Almond milk, because it’s simple to add your own vanilla or cocoa. It’s actually pretty simple to make your own almond milk too, but I haven’t ventured there quite yet myself.
So, the following recipe is a great example of how almond milk can really help ‘healthify’ a recipe. There is no denying that this Mac N’ Cheese dish is definitely not vegan, paleo or dairy or grain free. But it is clean, and a great alternative to other recipes or processed boxed products out there. This isn’t something I would eat everyday, but I can rest easy that this is still a healthy meal.
Bacon Cheddar Mac N’ Cheese
Makes 2 large bowls (to feed two) and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare!
- 2 cups (dry) whole grain or whole wheat pasta
- 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 T whole wheat flour
- 3 cups (when grated) cheddar cheese (organic, grass fed, if possible)
- 4 (nitrate free) slices turkey bacon
- (optional) 2 small handfuls of greens (spinach, kale, etc) and 2 T whole wheat bread crumbs
Get two pots and one pan on the stove, medium sized pot/pan and one large pot. Start boiling water in the large pot, and once boiling add your pasta and boil until al dente (generally around 15 minutes).
Prepare the cheesy sauce and turkey bacon while the pasta is boiling. Pre cut the turkey bacon into small bite size pieces. Saute them in a pan until very well cooked (with a teaspoon of coconut oil if needed). Set aside.
For the cheesy sauce, pour the almond milk in the other pot and stir in the whole wheat flour until not clumpy. Heat on medium high for about five minutes. Grate your cheese during this time and once finished, lower the heat to medium and throw in large handful after handful of the cheese into the almond milk waiting for it to melt between each handful until all the cheese is melted. Finely chop your greens or blend them on grind setting and stir in to the cheesy sauce (you’ll hardly know it’s there)! Keep stirring this until pasta is done boiling.
Drain pasta and return to pot, pour cheesy sauce over pasta and add turkey bacon. Toss all together and garnish with whole wheat bread crumbs if desired.
And remember, we all different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know. If you do that, you will continue to grow!