Monday, July 2, 2012

Makeover Monday: Stovetop Guacamole Mac & Cheese

This isn't my first makeover mac & cheese recipe.  Back in February I shared my recipe for secret ingredient baked mac & cheese, which substituted pumpkin for part of the cheese sauce.  I have made this sneaky dish several times, and it has been quickly devoured each time.  But now it's time for something a little more seasonally appropriate.  As much as I love mac & cheese, I'm not about to turn on the oven just to make a batch when it's 100 degrees outside.  Stovetop recipes to the rescue! 

Avocados are in season right now, which means they are on sale.  I really try, but I just can't keep myself from buying them by the bagful.  They are just so good!  And while I love guacamole and tortillas chips, after a while I was ready to try something else with my avocadoes.  Then I remembered that I had saved this recipe for stovetop guacamole mac & cheese.  This recipe uses guacamole for part of its creaminess, and a pepperjack cheese sauce for the rest.  And it is easily prepared on the stove.  It was the solution to all my problems!

Unlike my other mac & cheese recipe, this guacamole mac & cheese isn't exactly a secret ingredient makeover.  It's a little difficult to hide that distinct guacamole green.  And, unlike pumpkin, guacamole isn't exactly a low calorie food.  But I will still qualify guacamole as a health upgrade over cheese sauce because guacamole gets its calories from healthy monounsaturated fats and it is a great source of fiber.  Plus I made a few slight changes to this recipe to decrease the amount of cheese and noodles per serving and increase the super healthy, super delicious avocado.
This recipe was very easy to make and came together in no time.  I took a *few* taste tests before serving this to my husband and was instantly in love.  I was really excited for him to try it and called him into the kitchen.  He took one look at the pot of green noodles and said, "eww."  To say I was disappointed with his reaction was an understatement.  He said he wasn't really hungry, but I encouraged him to try a little bit.  He did.  And he ended up eating two bowls.  Yeah, it's that good. 

So if you find yourself with a slight avocado addiction, go ahead and whip up a batch of yummy guacamole mac & cheese.  No oven.  No guilt.  Just goodness.  Go green!

Stovetop Guacamole Mac & Cheese
8 oz dry elbow macaroni noodles
2 quarts water
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp margarine
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add macaroni. Stir and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, make the guacamole by placing the garlic powder, avocados, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
To make the cheese sauce, place butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. When butter is melted, whisk in flour to create a paste. Whisk in milk until smooth. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce starts to thicken. Add in Pepper Jack cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.
Place macaroni in a large bowl. Pour the avocado sauce over the macaroni and stir until well coated. Add the cheese sauce and stir until macaroni is coated and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh avocado chunks, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

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