Ahhh yes… Kale. We would all love to shove it into every recipe possible but HOW? Last week I challenged myself via the #52NewFoods challenge to bring kale into my cooking. It wasn’t long before it ended up in a pizza, in from scratch tomato sauce, and now in mac n cheese. Kale doesn’t have to be scary and “healthy-freak”-ish. No, it can be used by real people who eat real food. You don’t even have to be a rabbit to eat it anymore! Nor does it just have to sit under a sandwich as a garnish anymore! Yesssss!
Ok, so maybe kale got a bad wrap because it was being used as a garnish for like the past 20 years. Thank God people have woken up to how awesome it is. So much so, I saw kale chips at the grocery store for $7.99 last week. $7.99???? Talk about capitalizing on a new-ish food trend. Not to mention even my kids can make kale chips (minus using the oven of course). All you do is cut off the stems, dry it, and season it. Bam! That’s it. I mean, come on. $7.99???? No, just no.
I bought one bunch of fresh kale (organic too) for $2.79. I used it in 3 recipes. Sheesh. Talk about a mark-up for someone basically baking kale for you. Not to mention then it sits in a container for weeks (or months, who knows) until you actually eat it. Moral of the story, just make it yourself and save like a million dollars. 🙂
Now, I promise…I mean I pinky, pinky promise that this isn’t just some “health-food” ploy. This mac n cheese is absolutely delicious! If you are a lover of a nice, flavorful, crispy topping on your mac n cheese this is PERFECT for you! Cheesy, crunchy, creamy goodness that can all be thrown together in as little as 30 minutes on a busy week night. Say whhhattt?
Now, its time for the talk because I know you knew one was coming! Breadcrumbs are a part of this recipe and I will not be the reason someone reaches for trans fat in the form of those canned breadcrumbs that never go bad. Someone, please explain to me how that is possible? Oh yeah, that’s right. Even mold knows better then to touch partially hydrogenated oils and HFCS. Be smarter then mold! Don’t use progresso, 4C, or any other company whose products appear in the commercial bread isle. Those products contain a whopping 50+ ingredients and are absolute processed junk. I opt to either make my own from toasted Ezekiel bread, or choose a whole wheat organic product that doesn’t contain anything weird. Sometimes taking random additives out of food is as simple as switching from a mainstream brand to a smaller, organic company. 🙂 Maybe one day those big name brands will take a hint!
Now back to the food porn we go!
Crispy Kale Topped Mac N Cheese
Ingredients for Kale:
- 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni
- 3-4 cups fresh kale
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup organic (whole wheat) breadcrumbs
- garlic powder
- onion salt
- salt & pepper to taste
Directions for Kale: Rinse and dry kale. Remove large stems, chop into small pieces. Toss with olive oil, breadcrumbs, and a generous sprinkling of garlic powder, onion salt, and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until dry and crispy. Set aside.
Ingredients for Mac n Cheese:
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 2 Tbsp whole wheat white flour
- 2 cups milk
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- splash of white wine (optional flavor booster)
- 1/2 tsp onion salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsps whole grain mustard
- additional salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni
Directions for Mac n Cheese: Boil elbow macaroni according to package directions. Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat. Add flour, stir to create a paste. Allow to cook for a minute, then slowly add milk little by little, allowing the mixture to thicken before adding more milk. When milk is combined, add splash of white win, cheese, and spices. Allow cheese to melt, season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Top with kale and any additional breadcrumbs on tray, and bake at 350 degrees for just a few minutes for everything to come together nicely.