Monday, March 28, 2011

Adventures in Dairy Free Cooking: Macaroni & Cheese... or so you think

This may look like macaroni and cheese, but it most definitely is not.  

My diet has been dairy-free for almost 2 weeks now, and I'm starting to get used to planning and cooking dairy free meals.  The one thing that's been in the back of my mind for the past few days is how I'm going to make kid friendly dairy free food for Emerson when she's old enough to eat "real" food.  As I've been thinking about the best way to provide dairy free options for her, I've decided that I am not about to start making 2 of everything-- one with dairy and one without.  While I will still have regular milk, cheese, and yogurt in the house for Caleb, trying to make as many of our meals dairy free is really the best option-- especially since Doug is lactose intolerant.  So, I figured it's time to start practicing now.

Over the weekend I was enjoying some yummy (dairy free) butternut squash soup from Trader Joe's... as I was eating it I thought to myself, "this is the same consistency and color as the 'cheese' sauce you put in macaroni and cheese... hmmmm."  At lunch time today, I decided to give it a try.  As I was cooking the macaroni, I whipped up a fake, dairy free cheese sauce.  Here's what I put in it:

1 Tbsp vegan Becel
2 Tbsp Tofutti (a tofu substitute for cream cheese)
Sea Salt
Onion Powder
Enough Butternut Squash soup to make 1 cup of sauce
1 Tbsp steamed carrot puree

I whisked it all together over med heat until it was smooth and cheesy looking-- the pureed carrots were a last minute addition.  As I was about to pour it over the macaroni I decided that it wasn't orange enough.  I remembered that I had made some carrot baby food for Emerson, so I pulled 1 serving of carrots out of the freezer, warmed it up, and stirred it in.  I strategically decided to let Caleb enjoy his lunch while watching some cartoons-- I figured that if he was distracted while eating he would be less inclined to notice that his mac and cheese tasted a bit different.

Results?  I thought it tasted pretty good!  It doesn't taste exactly like KD, but it's pretty close... and healthier.  Caleb?  He didn't notice.  He ate the whole bowl.

I felt so sneaky.  Then I felt a bit guilty for being so deceptive and whipped up a batch of Rice Krispie squares and offered Caleb a piece... he didn't want it!!  Fine with me.  Glad you enjoyed your mac & tofu squash... more Rice Krispie squares for me!!

I'm going to go ahead and call this dairy free cooking experiment a success :)


Unknown said...

WOW!! i am impressed :) how was the soup on its own?

Elissa said...

The soup was good! I think I like the Gardennay butternut squash better, but the smooth texture of this soup worked better for the mac and cheese substitute.

Anonymous said...

I like how you distracted him with cartoons, some day he will catch on. I also noted thr chair, are they now sharing? Mom

Elissa said...

The chair is now Emerson's... Caleb just gets to use it on occasion when I need him to sit still :)

Charlotte said...

wow - so creative! thanks for posting your recipe - I'll have to try it :D

Melissa said...

Creativity strikes again! I am a big fan of butternut squash soup - I will try this recipe out!

Anonymous said...

Hi Elissa
A friend of mine showed me your blog and i've silently checked it out a few times to see your great decorating tips. I thought I should say hi after reading this post because I just purchased a couple cookbooks that incorporate vegetables into everyday kids favorites and this post reminded me of them. They are called deceptively delicious and double delicious and are written by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry's wife) She gives examples about how to alter the recipes to make them dairy free and such, so it might be a fun book to check out! Good luck with the food experiments :)

Anonymous said...

This is something I would definitely eat.

Auntie "B"

Sabrina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sabrina said...

Huge points to you for being so creative right off the hop! I haven't made this one yet, but found the link and thought it looked delicious. Using cashews for 'creamy' recipes seems brilliant!

After being dairy and soy free for almost 9 months now (the soy is a kicker), my husband officially misses meals with cheese. I won't often do two things for supper either, but if something can be made cheeseless (like pizza) then the boys get their fix.

This one is my fav muffin recipe. The husband loved these ones and didn't miss the eggs or 'real' milk.

Sidenote: I (obviously) stalk your blog. I'd gladly send you an invite to ours if you want too so you can at least have the option of reverse stalking :)

Trev and Rebekah said...

Have I missed something? Why dairy free?

Trader Joes is a place I think I need to visit some time soon!

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I have a milk allergy so this is a perfect recipe for me.

Marlene Detierro said...

That looks so delicious. I can see that the kid enjoys it a lot.

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