Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese: Macaroni & Cheese Gets a Healthy Makeover

Classic macaroni and cheese from a box gets an adventurous and healthy makeover with whole wheat elbow pasta, convenient frozen spinach, a low-fat cheese sauce, and marinated artichoke hearts.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

The secret is in the sauce. My low-fat cheese sauce starts with a roux made with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, 1% low-fat milk and vegetable broth, and three cheeses including reduced-fat Cheddar.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Leftovers can easily be frozen.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese
 
I'm not going to lie: I've made mac & cheese from a box plenty of times for my family. But when I do, I buy whole wheat varieties, and I often add "mix-ins" like beans and salsa, peas and tuna, or leftover chicken and sauteed mushrooms. And sometimes I make mac & cheese from scratch, because it's easy and it gives me more control over the ingredients. For this mac & cheese dinner, I turn to whole wheat pasta, convenient frozen spinach, a low-fat sauce made with three flavorful cheeses, and marinated artichoke hearts, which elevates the flavor even more.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8 to 10
Ingredients
  • One 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3 cups dried whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into thin rounds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • One 6.5-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 generous cup)
  • 4 ounces Gouda cheese (use smoked Gouda if you can find it), shredded (1 generous cup)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Drain the spinach in a colander. Press with the back of a large spoon to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions until almost tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Raise the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, flour, and pepper, and whisk constantly until smooth, 1 minute. Whisk the milk, broth, and mustard slowly into the flour mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the artichoke hearts, Cheddar cheese, Gouda, ⅓ cup Parmesan, and spinach until well combined. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and bake until bubbly and the top turns golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Notes
Bonus nutrients: 36% calcium, 22% iron, 90% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 generous cup), Calories: 320, Fat: 23g, Saturated fat: 7g, Carbohydrates: 31g, Sodium: 490mg, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 16g,

What are your favorite mix-ins for mac & cheese?

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Recipe for 3-Seed Lentil Cakes: #RecipeRedux from Laurel’s Kitchen Cookbook

These vegetarian 3-Seed Lentil Cakes are packed with great nutrition, plus they are gluten free. Like mini meat loafs you can top them with a bit of tomato sauce and serve with a side salad, coleslaw, vegetable and/or rice!

We have been participating in The Recipe Redux healthy blogger challenge for several years now, and this month’s challenge was to “Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 201, 16, 216 – or any combination of the number ‘2016.’”

Read more

Entertain on a Budget: 4 Healthy Recipes Made with Pantry Ingredients

When the holidays roll around and you find yourself cooking for family and friends, you may also find that your wallet gets skinnier by the day. From elaborate parties to unexpected guests, the food cost associated with hosting a holiday party can add up quickly. To the rescue, we have 4 healthy holiday appetizer recipes that you can whip up in minutes with the help of inexpensive ingredients sourced right from your pantry.

Healthy, Budget-Friendly Holiday Recipes from the Pantry via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #holidays #recipes #healthy

If you’re like us, your pantry is probably overflowing with canned, bottled, and packed ingredients that you may have forgotten about.

It’s time to shop your pantry to save money at the holidays.

Healthy, Budget-Friendly Holiday Recipes from the Pantry via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #holidays #recipes #healthy #pantry #budget

Janice has the biggest and most well-organized pantry you’ll ever see! Last week, we invited some friends over to watch us in action as we sourced ingredients from the pantry and created 4 healthy holiday-inspired  appetizer recipes:

Sundried Tomato Tuna Bites
Holiday Rice and Tuna Cakes
Cinnamon-Spiced Roasted Walnuts
Butternut Squash Soup Shooters

The Boston Globe was there too, and their article on budget-friendly holiday entertaining will be published soon!

Healthy, Budget-Friendly Holiday Recipes from the Pantry via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #holidays #recipes #healthy

{We partnered with Bumble Bee to create some of these recipes and were compensated for our work. All ideas and content is our own.}

Healthy, Budget-Friendly Holiday Recipes - Sundried Tomato Tuna Bites via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #holidays #recipes #healthy

Sundried Tomato Tuna Bites

Pantry Staples: 
* Two 5-ounce cans Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna with Sundried Tomatoes & Olive Oil (or any other fun tuna flavor)
* 1 jar light mayonnaise
* 1 box small, round low-sodium whole grain crackers
* 1 small jar roasted red peppers

Easy Assembly:
Drain and flake the tuna. Place in a bowl with 1/4 cup mayonnaise and stir to combine. Top 21 mini whole grain crackers evenly with the tuna mixture. Decorate by arranging thin slices of roasted red pepper strips (1 ounce) over each of the tuna bites.

Nutrition Information per 3 cracker bites: 160 calories, 10g fat (1.5g saturated), 240mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 8g protein

***************

Watch us cook up our Sundried Tomato Tuna Bites. Click the PLAY button below.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we all consume at least two seafood meals a week. For pregnant and nursing women, that recommendation is even higher at two to three seafood meals a week. This “recipe” featuring canned tuna gets you one step closer to the goal of eating 8 to 12 ounces of seafood a week.

Read more

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu & Veggie Protein Bowl – {Recipe Redux October Challenge}

Plant-based protein bowls are a food trend that makes me very happy. They’re easy to make, nutritious, versatile, and filled with big flavors and lots of crunch. This Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl is no exception.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #vegetarian

{Picky Eater Advice}

If your family tends to shy away from vegetables, set up a build-your-own  bowl bar filled with an array of ingredients so everyone can decide what to take … or what not to take. Giving finicky eaters control over their individual food choices (especially when they’re all healthy choices) is often a big motivator for trying new foods.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #vegetarian

The bowls I like to make include some sort of whole grain including brown rice, farro, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta, crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and one or two protein-rich foods — beans, tofu, grilled chicken, salmon, nuts, seeds, or eggs.

Read more

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad {Recipe Redux} – Inspired by Teaspoon of Spice Blog

Classic panzanella salad is made with tomatoes and chunks of stale (or toasted) bread. Other components include onion and fresh basil. I gave this  tasty Tuscan salad a new and even more nutritious fix by adding some extras including mozzarella cheese, paper-thin slices of English cucumber and radishes, juicy diced watermelon, and mint. I left the onions out since my kids don’t love ’em!

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #salad #watermelon

Every month, we join other like-minded healthy food bloggers for The Recipe Redux cooking challenge. This month, we’re all celebrating ReDux’s 5th birthday by celebrating each other. For the challenge, were were asked to pick a fellow ReDuxer by going to their blog and either making one of their recipes or creating a recipe inspired by theirs.

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

I chose a recipe for Portable Cherry Caprese Panzanella Salad, created by Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD. Deanna is a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian, food blogger, and co-founder of The Recipe Redux. She blogs with her dietitian partner, Serena Ball over at Teaspoon of Spice where you’ll find fast, healthy, family-pleasing recipes — the kind of food I like to make too. I discovered Deanna’s Portable Cherry Caprese Panzanella Salad when she featured it on one of her Facebook LIVE broadcasts. (If you haven’t seen any of Deanna’s Facebook LIVE broadcasts yet or her Healthy Kitchen Hacks, be sure to check them out.) I loved the panzanella-with-fruit idea so much that I decided to give classic panzanella salad my own unique spin by adding watermelon, cucumber, radishes, mint, and mozzarella. I’ve made this recipe two times in the past week, fed it to family and my interns (we have three nutrition students working with us right now!), and I plan to make it over the July 4th weekend as well.

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #salad #watermelon

This salad says summer to me. It’s juicy, crunchy, creamy, sweet, light, and refreshing. I served it as a main dish, but this salad could easily do double duty as a side dish.

For me, the watermelon and mint really make this salad special. You could also add blackberries or raspberries. Red onion or thin slices of green onions would also work really well in the mix.

Thanks for the inspiration Deanna!

Sunny Summer Panzanella Salad
 
I don't like to heat up my kitchen in the summer, which is why I turn to salads like this one. Plus, salads can be super nutritious. For my panzanella salad makeover, I use whole wheat bread versus white, add fresh mozzarella cheese for satisfying protein, and load up on the produce by going above and beyond the tomatoes, which you'd expect in a panzanella salad: English cucumber, radishes, watermelon, and mint.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 (Yield = 6½ cups)
Ingredients
  • 3 slices whole grain bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 radishes, cut into thin rounds or half moons (3/4 cup)
  • ½ of an English cucumber, cut into thin half moons (1-1/3 cups)
  • ¾ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1½ cups cubed watermelon, (about ½-inch cubes)
  • 12 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 12 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
  2. Place the bread cubes in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and stir until the bread is evenly coated with the oil. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted and crispy. Stir every 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Place the cooled bread cubes on a large platter or in a large bowl. Add the cheese, radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, watermelon, mint, and basil and stir gently to combine. Drizzle with the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil and the balsamic vinegar to taste. Stir gently to combine. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.

Check out all the other Recipe Redux creations this month!

Freekeh Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and California Avocado – A Pulse Pairing Recipe!

– 2016 is the International Year of Pulses and what better way to celebrate than with a pulse-pairing recipe featuring nutrient dense California Avocados, lentils, and chickpeas. This recipe is vegetarian and perfect as a main dish or side salad. 

Freekeh Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and California Avocado via Mealmakeovermoms.com/kitchen #vegetarian #vegan

Lentils, chickpeas, dry beans, and dry peas are pulses. They are high in protein and fiber, inexpensive, and they contain important nutrients like iron, potassium and folate. The United Nations declared 2016 the “International Year of Pulses” (IYP) to raise awareness about the health, nutrition and sustainability of this humble plant-based food group and to celebrate the role of beans, chickpeas, lentils and other pulses in feeding the world.

Avocados pair perfectly with pulses, because together, they provide a mouth-watering symphony of flavors, textures, and nutrients. In this vegetarian recipe for Freekeh Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and California Avocado, the hearty, earthy pulses compliment the creamy, indulgent flavor of the avocados. Together in this scrumptious salad, they provide an impressive 9 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, and 20% iron per serving.

Read more

Strawberry Peanut Overnight Oats

Start your family’s day with our Strawberry Peanut Overnight Oats. Each nourishing bowl has 16 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and 20% of the bone-building calcium you need each day.

Strawberry Peanut Overnight Oats via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #oats #peanuts #breakfast

We created this recipe for Planters Peanuts and were compensated for our work. All opinions are our own.

Strawberry Peanut Overnight Oats via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #oats #peanuts #breakfast

Whether you’re a busy mom juggling family and work commitments or a 10-year-old whose favorite part of the day is playing kickball at recess, waking up to a wholesome (and flavorful) breakfast is your winning ticket to feeling alert and energized all morning long.

Read more

Arugula, Farro and Pistachio Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Add a healthy, flavorful spin to homemade vinaigrette with convenient frozen raspberries, and then toss the dressing into this nutrient-packed salad made with arugula, pistachios, farro, goat cheese, chickpeas, avocado, carrots… and raspberries! 

Arugula, Farro and Pistachio Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #salad #RedRazz

In case you don’t have a ‘favorite’ go-to salad, we’re here to fill your salad void with a new recipe made with greens, grains, and a dressing featuring frozen red raspberries. It’s as flavorful as it is gorgeous! {We created this recipe in partnership with the National Processed Raspberry Council. We were compensated for our work, and all ideas are our own.}

Read more

Gluten-Free Amaranth Cashew Burfi — A Dessert Makeover {Recipe Redux January Challenge}

This Amaranth Cashew Burfi treat is a healthy twist on a traditional Indian dessert. Made with amaranth, cashews, raisins, oats, ground flaxseed, honey, and cardamom, it’s easy to make, vegan, and gluten free.

Amaranth Cashew Burfi via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #GlutenFree

We participate in The Recipe Redux blogger cooking challenge, and this month’s assignment was to pick a new ingredient that you’ve never used before and to create something with it. 

We worked with our intern, Lauren, on this recipe and post, and chose AMARANTH as our experimental ingredient! 

Read more

Next Page »