Vitamix Mac And Cheese

Macaroni and cheese.  Who doesn’t love a good mac and cheese recipe?  Lucky for me, even as I am trying to clean up the food that I prepare for my family, I can still find a way to assemble a cheesy pasta dish that doesn’t totally run afoul of all of my eating rules.

Of course, when preparing a perfectly good recipe, if I can find a way to incorporate one of my kitchen toys into the mix, that takes the whole experience to another level!  Which is why I happen to have a Vitamix mac and cheese recipe!  I would much rather play with my Vitamix than dirty up, and clean, a few extra pots and pans.

Food For Thought

I’ve based my recipe on the mac and cheese recipe that I found on the Vitamix website, which was a good start, but including skim milk, white bread and white pasta was just not going to work for me.  I needed to change up a few items if my new and improved dish was going to pass muster in my house.

gluten free pasta

Let’s start with the pasta.  I’m not against pasta, every now and then, even though I know about the health consequences of consuming too many wheat products.  Including pasta made out of white flour.  It has it’s time and place, and I’m not one to categorically throw out entire categories of food.  But that doesn’t mean that I want to eat it frequently either.  My body may not be a temple, but it’s certainly not a garbage dump either.

One pasta to try might be Jovial’s Einkorn pasta, which is made from an older variety of wheat that is very different from modern commercialized wheat.  Einkorn wheat possesses gluten, but not in the same amount as today’s wheat, and it’s also a different type of gluten.  In fact, I’ve been led to believe (by an Einkorn flour distributor) that Einkorn wheat, when tested, will not even register on an Elisa gluten test.  While I decided against the Einkorn pasta, I did decide to use Einkorn flour when making my cheese sauce.

Even though I decided not to include Einkorn pasta, I still wanted to try and reduce my exposure to refined flour, as well as gluten, so I went with a gluten free pasta.  I suppose I could have used a whole wheat pasta, but I’ve never been a fan of those, of either the texture or the taste.  And there’s no point in swapping out ingredients if it is going to make the final product inedible or unpleasant.  Plus, there are plenty of people pointing out that whole wheat is not all it’s cracked up to be, so why go down that route?

The next big decision for my Vitamix mac and cheese recipe concerns my dairy products, milk and cheese.  Low fat milk vs whole milk?  Low fat cheddar cheese?  No way, no low fat food for me!  I will be using whole milk, from grass fed cows raised on pasture, because it’s healthier, and the same holds true for my cheese selection.  I want a cheese that comes only from cows raised outside on a pasture, eating what nature designed them to eat, grass.

grass fed cheddar cheese

Finding the appropriate cheese took a bit more looking than I had anticipated, but once I started asking a few questions at my local Whole Foods store, I was able to see that I had been walking by a (small) selection of imported cheddars that were produced from pasture raised livestock, without the use of antibiotics and added hormones.  And they were the same price as some of the more questionable cheeses, bonus!  I also learned a fun fact when cheese shopping… cheddar cheese is not naturally orange, that’s an added color.  Cheddar cheese is naturally white.  Guess which color I bought.  If you are looking at the picture, the packaging is yellow or orange, the cheese is not.

That left one ingredient to think about, to make sure I was doing everything I could, within reason, to prepare a thoughtful, but tasty, dish, the breaded topping.  In the old days, before my culinary enlightenment, I would have grabbed a couple of pieces of Wonder Bread, thrown them into my food processor, and then added some melted butter before adding it to my mac and cheese and baking it up.  But again, white bread is no longer in vogue in my house, so no can do.

But I know that my kids like to snack on pretzels on occasion and even potato chips, which means that I must have given the ok for those, right?  Yes, because they are sprouted whole grain pretzels, or potato chips friend in coconut or avocado oils.  I know, total nerd.  Anyway, instead of using bread made from refined flour, I smash up a few of these pretzels and chips, added in a little butter (from grass fed pastured cows) and there’s my bread crumb mixture for my mac and cheese.

While the original recipe from Vitamix called for baking the dish about 30 minutes, I have found that I actually prefer not to.  The pasta is already cooked, and the sauce is piping hot coming out of the Vitamix, I don’t see a real reason to hold off eating it for an extra half hour.  In addition, I found that the longer this dish gets cooked, the less runny the cheese sauce becomes, so it really becomes a choice of preferences.  If you like a super crispy topping and drier mac and cheese, I would recommend baking it.  On the other hand, if you prefer a looser mac and cheese, and are fine with a crunchy, but not baked topping, then grab your spoon, skip the baking, and go for it!

Ingredients

16 oz of desired pasta

Cheese Sauce
1/4 cup Einkorn flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups whole milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, cubed
dash of black pepper
dash of garlic powder
dash of oregano
dash of cayenne pepper

Bread Crumb Topping
5 or 6 sprouted whole grain pretzels
small handful of avocado oil potato chips
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. If baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Boil some water and cook your pasta according to the directions on the package
  3. Drain the pasta, and then pour into a buttered baking dish
  4. While preparing pasta, use your Vitamix and pulse function to combine butter, potato chips and pretzels into crumbly bread topping.  Set bread crumbs aside
  5. Place 4 tablespoons butter, flour, salt, spices and milk in Vitamix, and slowly turn up speed until it’s on high, for a few minutes
  6. Once the flour, butter and milk mixture starts to steam, about 3-4 minutes, drop cubed cheese through the lid
  7. Blend at high for another minute or so, until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth
  8. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta, and mix well to ensure an even coating on all of the pasta
  9. Mix remaining two tablespoons butter with the pretzel crumbs, and spread evenly over the top of the cheesy pasta
  10. If baking, place in oven for 10-15 minutes, just enough to start to brown bread crumbs, but there are no rules against eating the mac and cheese immediately, without baking.
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