Sweet potato mac and cheese (gluten free)

Sweet potato mac and cheese (gluten free)

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Last Christmas I got Anna Mae’s Mac n Cheese recipe book, which has rapidly become one of my most used books. It’s full of amazing recipes for macaroni cheese and is so beautiful to boot. If you have any cheese-loving friends, I would highly recommend this as a gift.

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It’s made me play around with Mac and Cheese recipes, which has been fun! This one is definitely my favourite, not least because it is gluten free. Substituting the pasta for sweet potato noodles adds a delicious flavour and makes it slightly healthier…. although there’s still a LOT of cheese in this! I use a Lurch spiralizer, which I’ve always found to be a really reliable model.

If you don’t have a spiralizer, then you will just have to cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes and cook them for an extra 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese mix.
Or just buy a spiralizer!

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
– 1 tablespoon oil
– 1 teaspoon each paprika and thyme
– 300 ml milk
– 25g unsalted butter
– 25g rice flour (or other gluten free flour)
– 125g cheddar
– 75g Parmesan
– 100 g mozzarella
– 1 teaspoon English mustard
– salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and spiralize them to make thin noodles. Trim any really long noodles and toss with the oil, paprika, thyme plus salt and pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes in an oven proof dish, moving regularly to make sure the edges don’t burn.
3. While the noodles cook, make your cheese sauce. Melt the butter over a medium heat and slowly stir in the flour. Cook out the flour for up to 4 minutes.
4. Warm the milk (don’t let it boil) and add this gradually to the butter and flour, whisking constantly. When it is all combined, cook for about 8 minutes, or until the the sauce has thickened.
5. Grate your cheese. You can do this by hand, but to be honest, I cut mine into large cubes and then chuck it in the food processor. So. Much. Quicker.
6. Add the mustard, cheddar and Parmesan to the white sauce and stir until all of the cheese is melted in.
7. Pour the cheeeeesy sauce all over the noodles, which should now be cooked through but a little al dente. Stir together, then spread the mozzarella over the top. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Turn the oven to high grill and cook for 6-8 minutes until the cheese is molten and bubbly.

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My top recipes of 2016

So, 2016 has been a good year for About The Taste. Thanks to everyone who has looked at my blog posts over the last year. Here are my most popular recipes from 2016. Enjoy!

Gnocchi, halloumi, rocket and roasted red pepper salad

Gnocchi and halloumi salad (2)

This is a colourful and tasty dish that cooks in one pan. Plus it only has five ingredients. What’s not to love?! Get the recipe here.

Easy tomato soup

Tomato soup (3)

This recipe is popular because people have been searching for ways to use up over-ripe tomatoes. That’s really encouraging! I love that these beautiful tomatoes aren’t being wasted, but are being put to good use in this easy soup recipe. Great news! Get the recipe here.

Chorizo carbonara

Chorizo courgetti carbonara (1)

Carbonara is such a favourite of mine. I have plenty of recipes for different variations, but this seems to be very popular. You can use the usual pasta in this, or you can use your Spiralizer to substitute in zucchini noodles to make it lighter. I prefer a combination. Get the recipe here.

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Skinny chicken Bolognese with zoodles

Skinny chicken Bolognese with zoodles

A few years ago, I travelled to Bologna and had the very best Bolognese I’ve ever tasted. It was in a tiny little backstreet restaurant – thick, rich ragu with tagliatelle (not spaghetti – the traditional way is with wider pasta noodles because they take on more of the sauce). It was just amazing and one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I went back the next night and ordered the exact same thing!

It’s a pretty perfect food memory and I’m not sure that I could recreate the recipe. To be honest, I probably don’t want to think about the amount of butter, salt, red meat etc that went into making that dish! So I decided I’d go in a different direction. I’d make a Bolognese that would still be delicious but would be healthier.

This recipe uses chicken mince instead of beef and I’ve replaced the pasta with spiralized zucchini. That makes it lighter, much lower in calories and gluten free. Spiralizing is a super easy way to reduce the gluten and calories in your meal, but still feel full. You can buy the spiralizer I use by following this link – I really recommend it.

In addition to the “zoodles” I’ve included lots of vegetables in the ragu sauce, so this can provide up to 4 portions of fruit and veg per serving! If you were wanting to be extra healthy, you could skip the Parmesan cheese but really, is life worth living without cheese?

I think this recipe is a great way to let you enjoy a family favourite but in a lighter way. I hope you like it!Skinny chicken bolognese (2)

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 400 g chicken mince
– 2 carrots
– 1 white onion
– 2 cloves garlic
– 100 g cherry tomatoes
– 2 medium zucchinis
– 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
– 500 ml passata
– 100 ml chicken stock
– 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme and rosemary

Black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese to serve

Skinny chicken bolognese (1)Method
1. Prepare the vegetables. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Peel and dice the carrots and halve the cherry tomatoes. Dice a quarter of one of the zucchinis, then spiralize the remaining zucchini on the fine noodle setting.
2. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onions for about two minutes, then add the garlic and stir together until they begin to soften.
3. Add the diced carrot, tomatoes and zucchini with the Worchestershire sauce. Stir together then cover and leave to sweat for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the chicken mince and cook until the meat is white and firm. Pour over the passata, stock and herbs and combine well.
5. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes with the lid on. Stir well, then cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the sauce is thickened and reduced. Season to taste.
6. During the last 5 minutes of cooking time, heat a little oil in a large frying pan (or I used roasted garlic butter for extra flavour). Cook the zucchini noodles in the frying pan until slightly softened -I like mine still with a bit of bite to them. Drain and pat dry with a little kitchen paper, or your sauce will turn watery.
7. Serve the Bolognese sauce with the cooked zoodles and top with black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

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Spiralizer recipes – lighten up your favourite meals!

Spiralizer recipes – lighten up your favourite meals!

Spiralizing can seem like a gimmick but I really recommend as a way to enjoy lighter versions of your favourite meals. I love using mine – I have a Lurch spiralizer which has always worked well for me and is very easy to use and to clean. I wouldn’t advise getting one of the hand-held ones though. The ones I tried were really hard to use and wasted most of the vegetables.

Chorizo courgetti carbonara
Chorizo courgetti carbonara (1)

Squash noodles with red pepper and walnut pesto
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Courgetti with chorizo and tomatoes
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Sweet potato noodles in ham leek and mascarpone sauceIMAG1603
Secret ingredient meatloaf with courgette ribbons
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Sausage, courgette and roasted tomato lasagneIMAG1738_1

Easy daikon noodles with sun-dried tomato and rosemary sauce

Easy daikon noodles with sun-dried tomato and rosemary sauce

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It’s meat-free Monday again! This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to cook and is simple and delicious. Plus it only has seven ingredients!

I’m not one of those cooks who sticks religiously to recipes. So if you’re like me, try substituting the ricotta for the same amount of mascarpone. That would work as well. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can also substitute the daikon noodles for spaghetti. Just cook the pasta according to the packet instructions before you add it to the onion and garlic. The pictures show a combination of spaghetti and daikon noodles.

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 1 large daikon
– 1 small onion, finely chopped
– 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
– 16 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped in half
– 125ml ricotta
– 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
– 50g parmesan cheese, freshly grated

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Method
1. Use your spiralizer to cut the daikon into fine noodles and trim them.
2. Pour a tablespoon of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a large frying pan and heat. Cook for onion for a minute and then add the garlic. Cook for a further two minutes, stirring until the onion and garlic are softened.
3. Add the noodles to the frying pan and toss over a medium heat for 7 minutes. Test the noodles at the end of this time to make sure they are cooked to your liking.
4. Add the ricotta, tomatoes and chopped rosemary to the pan. Stir everything together so that the ricotta melts and coats the noodles.
5. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Season to taste with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper.
6. Serve immediately with shavings of parmesan and maybe even some extra rosemary leaves.
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Processed with MOLDIV

Chorizo Carbonara (with optional zoodles) – Courgetti carbonara

Chorizo Carbonara (with optional zoodles) – Courgetti carbonara

Chorizo courgetti carbonara (1)This is not a traditional carbonara recipe! The purists among you will be utterly horrified by this version, but it is very tasty. Part of the idea comes from a recipe in Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Minute Meals book, where he describes a “carbonara with a Spanish slap in the face!” My boyfriend has always loved that quote!

Chorizo courgetti carbonara (8)

What I like about this recipe is you can adjust the carbs level in it. I made half pasta, half zucchini noodles, but you can also do all pasta or all zoodles. It’s up to you! If you are wanting to use zoodles/courgetti then you will need to get a spiralizer – this is the one that I use. For this recipe, I use the thin noodle setting. The sauce works just as well with normal spaghetti as well though… or I suppose any pasta at all. Versatility is the way forward!

Chorizo courgetti carbonara (4)

Ingredients (serves 4)
– Spaghetti and/or zucchini. (I used 120g spaghetti and one zucchini. If you aren’t using a mix, either double to spaghetti or use two zucchinis.)
– 125 chorizo ring
– 300ml single cream
– 4 egg yolks
– 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
– 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
– 100 gram Parmesan cheese (plus more to garnish)
Chorizo courgetti carbonara (2)

Method
1. Chop the chorizo into half centimetre slices. Place in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Once the chorizo starts releasing oil, add the chopped garlic and rosemary. Stir and cook for about ten minutes.
Chorizo courgetti carbonara (3)2. Meanwhile, place your spaghetti (if using) in boiling water and cook to the packet instructions. Spiralize the zucchini (again, if using) on the thin noodle setting.
3. Once spaghetti is cooked, drain it and add to the chorizo. Mix in with the zoodles, and stir well. It looks good enough to eat at this point to be honest, but let’s add a little more indulgence!
Chorizo courgetti carbonara (5)4. Stir in the cream, egg yolks and grated Parmesan. Mix together thorough with lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately, topped with a Parmesan garnish and more black pepper.

Chorizo courgetti carbonara (6)
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Speedy simple spiralizer supper – Zoodles with chorizo and tomatoes

Simple speedy spiralizer supper – Zoodles with chorizo and tomatoes

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This meal needed to tick two boxes. One, it needed to be quick! Two, it needed to be quite light. We’ve been eating out a lot this week after having visitors come to stay, so we wanted something to balance out all of the bread and cheese!

This definitely met the criteria. It was delicious and tasty, yet still nice and light. It was cooked in less than 20 minutes as well. I love a chance to use my spiralizer, and these zoodles were great. You could replace them with pasta, if you liked.

Ingredients (serves 2)
– one zucchini/courgette
– 120g chorizo
– 1 small onion
– 1 tomato
– 12 cherry tomatoes
– 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
– 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
– a few shavings of Parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper

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Method
1. Slice the chorizo into half centimetre pieces. Place in a large pan and heat.
2. Cut the onion into wedges and add to the pan.
3. Chop all of the tomatoes and add to the pan. Stir regularly over a medium heat as the tomatoes and onions soften.IMAG1982
4. Spiralize the zucchini using the wide noodle setting. There are step-by-step instructions here. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large frying pan and add the noodles. They need to saute for about 3-4 minutes.
5. Add a tablespoon each of the Worchestershire sauce to both pans and stir in. Also stir the ketchup into the noodles.
6. Mix noodles together with the cooked chorizo, tomatoes and onions. Season to taste. Serve with shavings of Parmesan.

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