Who doesn’t LOVE a delicious, warm, ooey, gooey, Macaroni and Cheese? The problem is that most Gluten Free Eaters are Dairy Free, Lactose Intolerant, and/or their only option is mediocre gluten free boxed concoctions. Now, I have found some fairly delicious boxed “Mac” brands with only minimal alterations needed to remove the processed taste (see suggestions below “Homemade” recipe for my alterations to boxed Macs.) Trader Joe’s has a gluten free box, which is the best I’ve found so far. It has a “Smiley Face” on the box, and is my husband’s favorite as well (both by taste and price.) LiveGFree, from Aldi, makes a yummy box as well, however not lactose Free. Now for a gluten free vegan option, the best brand we’ve found is from Sprouts. Sadly, I cannot remember the name of the brand. If anyone can help, please comment below, to help our dairy/lactose Free, vegan friends? The problem with these boxes (other than the processed flavor-which we will address later,) is you miss the ooey, gooey, pull-apart, cheesy-ness that comes with baked homemade macaroni and cheese.
Now, as a lactose intolerant, I have not experimented with a homemade “Dairy Free” Macaroni and Cheese Recipe, as of yet. I choose to take the MAGICAL Lactaid enzyme pill. If you have not been introduced to the enzyme pill, and you are lactose intolerant, let me bring light back into your life. It is a “Lactase Enzyme Supplement.” You take one-three pills (depending which pills you buy,) with the first bite of your meal. It lasts for 30 minutes. So say you’re at a restaurant and they bring out your Salad, topped with Shredded Cheese and Ranch Dressing. You would take your 1-3 pills with your first bite of Salad. Now, if your main dish with your Loaded Baked Potato doesn’t come within 30 minutes, or you order flourless chocolate cake for dessert, you’ll need to take another 1-3 pills with that first bite as well. You will notice such a difference! The discomfort and digestive issues you use to feel will either disappear completely or become so much more tolerable. Now, other than the pill, you can help with the ingredients you use in your recipes. I use margarine and soy spreads as opposed to butter. Blue Bonnet and Earth Balance are my two favorites. Blue Bonnet is only $0.99 for 4 sticks, but isn’t the healthiest option, so I use it sparingly. Earth Balance is more expensive ($4-6 depending on the quantity and where you purchase it,) but it is a lot better for you. I also use Lactaid milk. Most grocery stores offer a generic lactose free milk. Kroger’s brand is $3 for about 1/2 gallon. I prefer Lactaid over Almond/Coconut/Soy milk. Traditionally “Nut” milks tend to change the flavor and texture of what you’re cooking. So unless you’re allergic to Dairy, I always suggest Lactaid over using Nut milks, unless of course you have a dairy allergy! Next is cheeses. Trader Joe’s has amazing Almond Mozzarella and Soy Shreds, and Sprouts has the best cheeses with Lactose free Shredded Yogurt and Jalapeno Cheeses. My problem is both stores are about 30 minutes away, so I don’t make it there often. So what do you do to calm the gut when you can’t buy Lactose Free cheeses that taste good? You read the labels. If the cheese says 0g sugar, it is naturally lower in Lactose, and therefore will cause you less (however possibly some) discomfort. So remember your enzyme pill we discussed! Now some cheese may be packaged from the store without nutritional information depending on your country’s food labeling regulations, so the general rule to abide by is: the harder the cheese, the lower the Lactose. You can also go here: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Lactose Free Information PDF, for a list of cheeses and other dairy products, as well as other important information on living with Lactose Intolerance.
Though this recipe is not “Lactose or Dairy Free,” I’ve done my best to reduce the Lactose as much as possible. This recipe is delicious on Day 1; however, as leftovers, it does dry out slightly (as we all know gluten free pasta usually does,) so to reheat, simply put 1 tsp of a “Buttery Spread” per serving, and reheat to add moisture back in. With any of my recipes, if you try it and add/subtract anything, please comment below, so others may have other options as well? I hope you enjoy the tasty life, with the Gluten Free Wife!
1 1/2 cup Potato Leek Soup (I use Imagine Brand)
2 sprigs Thyme
2 tbsp Chives
1 tbsp chopped fresh Parsley
1 tbsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 c Grated Parmesean
1 1/2 cup Three Cheese Shredded Cheddar (and more for topping)
12 oz Gluten Free pasta (Rotini and Elbows work best)
Pictured above with my Salmon en Papillote
1. Pour soup base into medium sauce pot on medium heat.
2. Add Seasonings, Parsley, Whole Thyme Sprigs, and Garlic. Cook 5 mins, then reduce to simmer.
3. Meanwhile, boil water for pasta. Add 1 tbsp oil to large pot of water, and “salt like the ocean.”
4. Add pasta to water, stirring frequently.
5. Preheat oven to 350°.
5. Cook pasta according to directions (and sometimes longer depending, so taste until desired texture is reached.) Drain, and return to pot.
6. (Remove Thyme Sprigs.) Pour seasoned soup base into pasta.
7. Add cheeses, Jalapeños (optional,) and Chives into Pasta, and stir. If not melting, turn burner on low, and keep stirring until all cheese is melted.
8. Spray oven-safe dish with cooking spray, add noodle mix. Top with additional cheeses or breadcrumbs (optional.)
(Topped with Aleia’s Gluten Free Breadcrumbs)
9. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is melted, and if topped with breadcrumbs, they’re browned.
To “Doctor Up” Boxed Macaroni and Cheese:
Follow Milk/Butter ratios on box; however, put “butter” in microwave for 30 seconds to melt along with:
2 Large Cloves Minced Garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh Parsley
1 tbsp Cilantro
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Pepper
Once Above is Melted, Mix in Powder Cheese and Milk with Seasoned Butter Mixture and blend well. Stir into cooked noodles. Then add:
1/2 c Shredded Cheese of Choice (I prefer Gruyere)
2 tbsp Chives