One Pot Mac & Cheese with Low-Fat Maia Yogurt

This weather! NYC may have seen more snow this winter than in the past four put together, and the forecast is not necessarily showing us any signs of  long-term relief.

With a busy schedule, and maybe a slight case of the winter blues, I’ve been turning to my favorite comfort foods more often than I’d like to admit. Slice of pizza? Sure. Mac-n-cheese? Bring it on. Like, once a week. Okay, maybe twice.

I’m a huge comfort food junkie, but I’m also big on ingredient substitutes to try to make things just a little healthier. So, when Maia Yogurt, shared an alternative recipe to my standard, boxed mac-n-cheese, I was all in. I’ve been wanting to try homemade mac for a long time, but it always seemed like a daunting task, and I worried that the effort would not yield the same results as the easy, creamy, delicious box version. This one-pot-wonder was ready to eat in three easy steps! It was quick, simple, and satisfied my craving perfectly.

One Pot Mac & Cheese

Maia one pot mac n cheese

One pot mac-n-cheese

  1. Cook 2 cups elbow pasta in a large pot.
  2. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot along with 2 cups shredded cheese, 1/2 cup plain Maia Yogurt, salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder.
  3. Stir all the ingredients together on low heat until the cheese is completely melted.

Let’s zoom in on that ooey gooey yumminess.

MAIA mac n cheese_christinadoes

I’m officially done with boxed mac.

Do you have any favorite recipe substitutes? Would you try subbing in Greek yogurt in your creamy recipes? 

*Special thanks to Maia Yogurt for yogurt samples and recipe suggestion 🙂 

Foodie Friday: Blueberry Lemon Smoothie for Weight Loss

In her return to the blogging world yesterday, Amie (The Healthy Step-Mom) posted about willpower against cravings, and how difficult it can be. It was encouraging to read that even someone as fit as Amie battles with willpower every now and again.

When I’m feeling particularly tempted, I like to trick my body into thinking that I’m fulfilling its unhealthy cravings. Evil, I know – but it works! Wednesday, I felt like I was having dessert for breakfast when I replicated a blueberry lemon smoothie that my girl Deborah over at Delightfully Fit so generously instagrammed (yes, instagram is a verb now).

blueberry lemon weightloss smoothie

My version of the Blueberry Lemon Smoothie

Here is her recipe, with my variations in parentheses:

  • 1 banana
  • Greek yogurt (plain) (I used approximately half a cup)
  • Flaxseed (I replaced with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds)
  • Blueberries (I used one cup, frozen)
  • 1 lemon-ring slice sized rind (I put a whole, circular slice in – I wanted it to be very lemony)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (I skipped this because my almond milk was vanilla)
  • A splash of unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla almond milk, and put just enough to blend the mixture to my desired texture)
  • Stevia (I used half a packet of Truvia)

The result was a tangy and delicious breakfast that reminded me of a trip to Pinkberry – my sweet tooth was satisfied for the day!

What are your healthy craving alternatives? 

Mexican Chickpea Lettuce Wraps

…what? Recipes like the one you are about to endure are what I like to categorize as “fridge fusion.” This cooking style is strictly reserved for nights when I am completely lazy, frugal and overdue for a trip to the grocery store – tonight being one such night.

P1010913

I realized that my only immediate food options were carbs: leftover pizza or pasta. To throw myself an extra curveball, I’ve been eating a vegetarian diet since last Tuesday (part of my 101 in 1001 list). As my buyer’s remorse set before even placing a Seamless order, I remembered a lonely can of chickpeas in the cupboard. I quickly shut my laptop and scurried the difficult five steps from my couch to my kitchen (oh, New York apartments), whipped out a pan and searched the vegetable drawer for anything still edible. I found some romaine lettuce, half a red onion and one-quarter of a yellow squash. Perfecto!

I had pre-determined that if I were to cook tonight, it would only be to provide a vehicle for my homemade Mexican seasoning. I’m obsessed – see recipe at bottom of post – so the puzzle pieces had to find a way to fit together.

Start by heating some olive oil in a medium pan and add the yellow squash (quartered) and red onion (diced).

P1010908Give them about five minutes to warm up and then add the chickpeas, and mix in one table spoon of the homemade Mexican seasoning.

P1010910Cook until heated through (maybe five more minutes? I’m sorry I didn’t keep track!), and you’re done.

P1010912I spooned these onto some romaine leaves, but would have preferred iceberg because it’s easier to wrap. I also added a dollop of Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

P1010914

 

And then I got sick of dropping chickpeas on the ground, and shamelessly threw it all into a bowl…and added more greek yogurt…oh yea, and a spritz of lime juice.

P1010918If this recipe had been pre-meditated, there definitely would have been some cilantro and diced tomato.

Here is the Mexican seasoning recipe that carnivore me would use with a pound of meat:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • A dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

I like to double (or triple or quadruple) this, and store it in my pantry so that I don’t have to mix it as often.