The Noochy Noodle

a world beyond the blue box

Tag Archives: low fat

Mac & Trees – Appetite for Reduction

You might not guess it from reading this blog, but I actually try and eat pretty healthy most of the time. I’m all about whole foods, high fiber, low fat, all that fun stuff, so I tend to make dinner from Appetite for Reduction, the latest book from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, multiple times a week. It’s without a doubt the cookbook in my extensive collection that gets the most use, so it’s not hard to imagine that I make the AFR  Mac and Trees more than any other mac & cheese recipe. Usually on the nights when I’m just so exhausted from school or work that I can’t even fathom cooking I’ll pop into the market near my house, buy a head of broccoli and some whole wheat macaroni so that I can have a delicious and comforting dinner ready in under 30 minutes.

Mac and Trees is also really versatile. Since I make it so often I like to get a little crazy and experiment, so sometimes instead of broccoli I’ll use peas and carrots, or I’ll dump a bottle of hot sauce or some sliced up veggie dogs on top. Anything goes!

This recipe really takes me back to my first few months of being vegan. As much as I love cashew based cheese sauce recipes, the nooch-y sauces I made so often as a baby vegan will always have a special place in my heart and I love revisiting them from time to time. Unfortunately, a lot of  the recipes are also really high in fat. But not this recipe! It’s all the cozy flavors of the 1970’s cheese sauce without half a cup of oil or margarine.

Have you tried Mac and Trees? What do you think?

Mac and Cheeze Forever!

Let me tell you a little bit about me and macaroni and cheese. I’ve loved mac and cheese my entire life. Well, almost. I remember as a 3 year old hating the velveeta shells and cheese served at family dinners, but I soon learned to embrace the neon yellow sauce and noodles. In middle school I moved on to eating the iconic Kraft Dinner multiple times a week and by high school I was keeping the freezer perpetually stocked with Stoeffer’s frozen macaroni and cheese. Did I ever have excellent metabolism back then.

When I went vegan not much changed, except now I had to make my mac and cheese from scratch. One of the first recipes I made when teaching myself to cook was the New Farm Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Most people don’t immediately take to nutritional yeast (a vital component of most vegan mac and cheeze) the first time they try it, but I was hooked. That became my default mac and cheeze recipe for the next few years. Later I began trying out new methods of cheezy sauce making, using everything from cashews, tofu, or potatoes and carrots for the sauce and I quickly became overwhelmed with all the choices available. So I did what any good vegan would do and decided to start a blog about it.

For my first post I was hoping to make a decadent, time consuming mac and cheeze that would blow your collective minds. However, I have travel induced hypochondria; I’m flying to Portland tomorrow, so naturally I think I’m getting sick. I’m tired, my lymph nodes hurt, and from what I can discern from WebMD I might have a rare tropical disease only found on select islands in Indonesia. So I opted for something simple and went with the Easy Macaroni and “Cheese” from the Fat Free Vegan blog because it has the word “easy” in the name. Whatever.

Easy Mac and "Cheese"

So here’s how this is going to work, I’ll talk about the taste, texture, time and my overall opinion, plus the opinion of my macaroni and cheeze hating boyfriend (it’s a travesty, I know).

Flavor: The sauce has a pretty good flavor, but it’s very mellow, probably because it was created specifically for the author’s kid in mind. That’s fine! I think people who hate nutritional yeast heavy sauces would really like it.

Texture: I am all about the sauce on this one, it’s very creamy. Not gritty, not lumpy, not too thick or too thin. Awesome! Former Kraft lovers take note, I thought the textures were very similar.

Time: I’m not going to spell it out for you. The name says “easy”. It’s easy.

What does the mac and cheeze hating significant other think? “It’s okay, it’s just kind of flavorless.”

Overall: I quite liked it! I’m all about quick meals side dishes eaten in moderation, and recipes that don’t require an entire tub of Earth Balance. I would probably take the nooch up (from here on out I’m calling nutritional yeast “nooch” whenever I feel like it) because I love nooch. That’s just how I am.

First recipe success! I plan on hunting down some mac and cheeze to devour while I’m in Portland this week, so stay tuned!