Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hot Dog Mac and Cheese

This is a great kid friendly dinner.  You can cut the hot dogs into a size that is safe for your family.  The smaller the kids, the smaller the pieces need to be.  If you don't have any little ones in your home and you have a little more advanced palate then substitute fully cooked spicy brats for the hot dogs.  This recipe has a hidden vegetable!  I have never tried to puree cauliflower before but I learned a lot while testing this recipe.  I will gladly pass on my tips to you!   Give this recipe a try and see if anyone notices the hidden veggie.   


1 head of cauliflower                         1.98
16 oz elbow macaroni                       1.08
1/2 cup skim milk                               .20
16 oz extra sharp cheddar               4.66
1 pkg reduced fat beef hot dogs      3.98
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp all purpose seasoning
sprinkle of dried parsley to garnish


Rinse the cauliflower and cut out the stem.  Take time to cut away as much of the stalks as you can as you break the cauliflower into smaller pieces.  The stalks do not puree as well as the florets.  Place in a sauce pan and cover with water.  Set over medium high heat and boil until fork tender.
Now fill a second saucepan with water and set over medium high heat to boil the macaroni.  Now shred all 16 oz of sharp cheddar cheese and set aside.  Cut the hot dogs into slices or chunks that are appropriate for your little ones.

Once the cauliflower is fork tender drain off the water and mash with a mixer.   Add the skim milk and mix a few more minutes to break the cauliflower down.
This was as smooth as I could get the cauliflower with a mixer.  Stir in 12 oz of shredded cheddar, 1/2 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper and 1 Tbsp all purpose seasoning.   Now in order to get your cheese sauce very smooth and not chunky you must puree it in the blender.  After several minutes on medium I was able to get the sauce to this consistency.
Once the macaroni has cooked for nine minutes drain the noodles and mix with the cheese cauliflower sauce.
I recommend adding the sauce a little at a time because I had a little too much sauce for my noodles.  Then stir in the slice hot dog pieces. 
Divide the mac and cheese into two 8x8" pans or one 9x13" pan. 
Top each pan with the remaining shredded cheddar and sprinkle with dried parsley.
Cover the pan with foil and label.
Freeze until ready to use.  Then defrost for two days in the fridge.  Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  I was able to make two pans for $5.95 each.  Please give this recipe a try and let me know if you have any tips to get cauliflower to puree smoothly, or ideas of how to use it in more recipes.  See if your family can find the vegetable in this creamy dreamy mac and cheese!

Christie aka Keeza