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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Eat Up (Gluten Free Mack'en Cheese)


After my 15 mile training run today my coach asked me if I maintained a special diet for my health around the MS.  I told him that I avoid preservatives and processed food, I avoid artificial sugars, and that I do not eat fast food no matter what.  I have found that making my own food is healthy and easy.  But then I got to thinking as I drove home, what if there are people out there in the wonderful world of the web who might benefit from some of my tips on preparing food and watching what I eat?  What if they would like to see some of my meals and snacks up close?  So, over the next few months I am going to post a few of my most favorite recipes.  I think these can help any runner, not just those with MS.  Bon Apetit!

Starting with my favorite carb loaders, I bring you:

Gluten Free Mack'en Cheese!
•7 tablespoons unsalted butter
•4 tablespoons amaranth flour
•2 cups milk
•1 teaspoon salt
•fresh ground pepper to taste
•1 teaspoon GF onion powder
•1/2 teaspoon GF garlic powder (not garlic salt)
•12 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese (about 3 cups)
•8 ounces freshly grated gruyere OR Swiss cheese (about 2 cup)
•4 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
•small container of fat free ricotta
•16 ounces, al dente cooked gluten-free macaroni (we like the quinoa and brown rice at Trader Joes)
A note on cooking GF pasta if you are planning on baking it with a sauce (as in this recipe or with a rigatoni): leave it slightly undercooked.  It will be more absorbent and take in the flavors of the sauce.  Plus, it is less likely to turn to mush for leftovers.
Cooking:
Preheat oven to 350° 
Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a 3-quart baking dish. Set aside.
Put the baking dish with butter in the preheated oven and leave just until butter melts. Remove and coat bottom and sides of the dish with butter using a pastry brush. 
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour until loose paste forms. 
Slowly whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium and whisk until mixture thickens (might bubble but do not boil). 
Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
Add all cheese slowly, 1 cup at a time, but do NOT add the ricotta
Stir until cheeses melt and mixture is smooth and creamy 
Scoop small spoonfuls of the ricotta into the buttered baking dish
Pat dry cooked pasta
Pour half of the pasta in the buttered baking dish and cover with about 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Distribute remaining pasta on top and evenly cover with remaining cheese sauce
Lightly salt and pepper and bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden and bubbling
Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving
This same dish can be prepared with regular pasta as well.  If you are using it for a carb loader, I recommend a whole wheat variety for a more complex carb.

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