Friday, March 28, 2014

Mac-And-Cheese Gets A Makeover!

I love mac-and-cheese. I mean....who doesn't? Oh wait. That's right. My husband. He hates it! So, I have a ritual: whenever my husband works a late shift, I make myself mac-and-cheese. For those that don't know, my husband is in his first year of medical residency. Which means a lot of late shifts. Like one or two a week. So......yeah. That's a lot of mac-and-cheese.

Needless, to say, I'm always trying to find ways of making my mac-and-cheese healthier (without adding less cheese, sorry that's just not an option). I love adding vegetables, Greek yogurt, healthy meats like fish, and I have even added avocado to my mac-and-cheese! My new favorite tip: replacing the pasta with barley. It's so great, I just had to share it with you all!

This isn't really much of a recipe as it is a suggestion. If you've never tried barley, you will be pleasantly surprised. Barley is dense and chewy and actually reminds me of pasta. The flavor doesn't compete with the flavor of your mac either, unlike whole-wheat pasta. It's just chewy, whole grain goodness. Covered in cheese of course.

Another thing I really like about replacing my macaroni noodles with barley is that the barley really fills me up. Normally, when I make mac-and-cheese, I can eat it indefinitely. Like.....scrape a casserole dish clean. I try to never leave any sort of utensil in the casserole dish, because, if I do, I will sit over my stove and stuff my face when no one is watching (Hello, my name is Meredith, and I'm a mac-aholic). But with barley, you just can't do that. One normal-sized bowl is all you need.

Barley also has a lot of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, copper, vitamin B1, phosphorous, and magnesium. The high fiber helps keep food moving through you (the un-grossest way I know how to say that) and helps to lower bad cholesterol.

Give barley a try and tell me what you think of it. Also, any more ideas to give mac-and-cheese a makeover? I'd love some tips!

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