These cold winter nights has me craving my all-time favorite food…mac and cheese! There is nothing more comforting than a steaming hot bowl of pasta and cheese right? However, that comfort tends to come at the cost of my waistline so I am constantly trying to find a recipe that hits the spot but has a healthier twist. This ricotta mac and cheese does just that!
The ricotta really helps to give this dish the thick and creamy texture that makes a mac and cheese so great. And I feel so much less guilty digging into this since there isn’t a drop of heavy cream in site ? The addition of broccoli helps to sneak in those veggies. Shredded chicken would make a great addition as well!
Mac and cheese is such a versatile dish you can really add in whatever YOUR favorite ingredients are!
I just finished my first round of Core De Force on 12/13/2016 and I am extremely excited to share my results with you!
3.6 lbs ⬇️
9.5 inches ⬇️
I purposely chose to commit to this program during the holiday season to help me stay on track with my health and fitness and to not let myself slip into the “I will start again after the new year” mentality. The first two weeks of this program I was doing GREAT with my nutrition. It was 80/20 all the way baby!!! Then came Thanksgiving which I had a planned splurge day for because, well, potatoes ??
While I never missed one workout during the 30 days my nutrition was more like 80/20 some days, 70/30 others, and even 50/50 at points during the last two weeks. The one constant that helped me to still get results while not having complete control over my eating was that I drank my chocolate Shakeology ✨EVERY. DAMN. DAY.✨ So no matter what was going on I knew at least one meal of my day was helping to nourish my body, provide me post workout protein to help my muscles repair and recover, and aid in my digestion (because let’s face it, I needed that if I wasn’t being better with what I was eating).
I am beyond proud of my commitment to this program these past 30 days and I actually just started Round 2 this Monday 12/19 ️ These pictures just go to show that the fitness part of your journey can only take you so far. Nutrition is KEY when it comes achieving your goals!
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Since my Day 30/30 with Core De Force was on 12/13/2016 and I had a few days off from kicking and punching before I started Round 2 this week and dabbled in some other workouts I wanted to try out on Beachbody On Demand such as the new 21 Day Fix workout Remix the Fix. I also dabbled in some some new recipes such as this ricotta mac and cheese. This recipe was honestly something I made up on the spot because I had a lot of leftover ricotta in the fridge and a head of broccoli. I love when a recipe I make up on the spot comes out SO GOOD!
Serve as a main course or a hearty side dish and I guarantee you will have clean plates all around. It may even become that last minute holiday dish you have been searching for all week ❤
- 1 lb whole grain penne
- 3 cups of broccoli florets, [i]chopped small[/i]
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons of whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 4 cups of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup of whole milk ricotta
- Fresh nutmeg (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground dried nutmeg)
- 1 cup of sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon of ground mustard
- Himalyan pink salt and freshly ground pepper, [i]to taste[/i] (you can use regular salt as well)
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously right when the water starts to simmer. Once it is at rapid boil add the pasta and cook until al dente (2 minutes less than what the package directions say since the pasta will continue to cook in the oven).
- Add the broccoli to the boiling pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking.
- Drain and set aside.
- In a large sauce pot over melt the butter over a medium heat.
- Add the flour and whisk continuously for 2 minutes to form a roux that is light golden in color (turn the heat down while whisking if the roux starts to burn).
- Add the almond milk and whisk continuously until it comes to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until thick whisking occasionally.
- Once thick remove from the heat and add the ricotta and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- Add the cheddar cheese and ground mustard.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the pasta and broccli and stir to combine and pour into a large casserole dish.
- Mix the panko with olive oil and sprinkle on top of the pasta.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and the panko has browned.