It's wintertime and the season to be THANKFUL and JOLLY, and to surround yourself with family, friends, and FOOD! What a wonderful time of the year, indeed! I know I have done all of the above starting with Thanksgiving and I don't anticipate slowing down until after the New Year.
While it is wonderful to share quality time and our favorite meals with our loved ones, it can be rather difficult to eat healthy during the Holidays. I am always experimenting in the kitchen with my favorite childhood (comfort) foods and trying to make them healthier (with less processed foods and more whole foods with nutritious ingredients). For example, I was craving good ol' Mac & Cheese for my birthday in November, but I did not want to eat a boxed version full of processed foods, sodium, and saturated fat (think Easy Mac). My solution? Homemade Mac & Cheese made with whole ingredients and completely Gluten Free (and delicious)!
This week's Meal Makeover: Wholesome Turkey Mac & Cheese
Now, your typical Mac & Cheese is usually loaded with saturated fat, empty calories, and some weird-colored cheese powder. This Wholesome Turkey Mac & Cheese, however, is made good-for-you ingredients (such as extra-lean ground turkey, Greek yogurt, and Quinoa)!
Ingredients: (serves 8)
- 1 box Gluten Free Elbow Macaroni (Ancient Harvest Quinoa)
- 1 lb extra-lean ground turkey (Jennie-0 99% fat -free)
- 1 cup 2% (reduced-fat) shredded cheese (Mozzarella or Cheddar)
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled Goat cheese (optional)
- 1 3/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt (Fage Total)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup unsweetened Almond Milk (Almond Breeze) (to desired consistency)
- 1.5 tbsp. dry Italian Salad Dressing mix (Simply Organic)
- In a large pot, boil quinoa pasta according to instructions on the box (drain under cool water and set aside).
- Cook ground turkey in a large sauce pan on medium high heat. When the turkey is almost completely cooked through (no pink left) add the Italian seasoning and mix well. Turn off the burner and set aside.
- Add the cooked turkey to the large pot and turn heat to medium and add 1 cup of Greek yogurt, goat cheese (if desired), and mozzarella cheese.
- Cook until the sauce is an even consistency (add in the Almond milk 1-2 tbsp. at a time until you reach a desired consistency).
- Let the sauce thicken and then remove from heat.
- Then add macaroni and the rest of Greek yogurt. Mix well. ** Recipe adapted from the brilliant FitMenCook
That's it! In 6 easy steps, you have one wholesome, comfort-food meal the whole family will love! And you don't even have to tell them how healthy it is! Just look at the nutrition profile for 1 serving!
Whether you decide to add the goat cheese or leave it out is completely up to you and your taste buds, but either way you will be getting over 25g of lean protein and less than 7g of total fat! Wholesome, hearty, and healthy! A win, win, win situation if you ask me!
Hope you enjoy this Meal Makeover recipe and make this a family favorite wintertime meal! I know I sure will.
Happy Sunday, friends, and have a great week ahead!