Recipe: Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese Broccoli Bake

My friend Julie Sullivan is a saint.  A saint, I tell you.

The other day, she posted this picture of her dinner…this amazing pasta-ish casserole, with the caption “Mac & Cheese Broccoli Bake.”  Well, I was intrigued.  I was drooling.  Why?  Because it looked absolutely fantastic, that’s why.

And…I did what any good hungry girl would do.  I asked for the recipe.

She was kind enough to pass it on…as I wasn’t the only one begging for it.  And she even mentioned how I could make it gluten-free.  And, amazingly enough, I had everything I needed in my pantry and fridge.  Gotta love that.  So…after polishing off my Vegan Gumbo last night, I was set to cook up another fantastic meal to get me and my roommate through another couple of days.

Thanks to Julie…I did just that.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese Broccoli Bake


Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese Broccoli Bake
Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese Broccoli Bake

Servings: 6
Time: Prep 30 minutes; Bake 20 minutes



  • 12oz uncooked twisted pasta (I used Bi-Aglut Fusilli)
  • 2 1/2 c. uncooked broccoli
  • 1 tsp salted butter (I used Smart Balance)
  • 1/3 c. fresh bread crumbs (I used Katz Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs…because they ROCK!)
  • 3 Tbsp. plus 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 1/2 c. skim milk (I substituted unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/3 c. all purpose flour (I used Hodgson Mills Gluten-Free Multi Purpose Flour)
  • 1/2 c. onion, diced
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a shallow 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray (I used butter to grease it).

Cook pasta, adding broccoli to water for the last 3 minutes of cooking time.  Drain and return to pot.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, add bread crumbs and cook until light golden brown.  Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl, stir in 3 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese and set aside.

In same saucepan (can wipe clean easily) whisk together milk and flour, add onion.  Bring to a boil over med-high heat, whisking often.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese, mustard, salt and pepper.

Pour pasta and broccoli into baking dish, cover with cheese mixture, stirring to coat evenly.  Top with breadcrumbs.

Bake until edges are bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.


Yes…it really is that easy.  And even more…it really is that tasty.  I was in love with the flavor and taste of this.  Those breadcrumbs add an amazing texture and flavor to the entire dish.  And while I didn’t get to use the cheese I had wanted and intended to use on this, the back-up plan worked out better than imagined (I like bold flavors and I had no extra sharp cheese to supplement when I found my original cheese plan had…gone bad).  This was easy to throw together and allow to bake.  The apartment smelled awesome.

And when my roomie and I sat down to taste…we devoured it.  Honestly.  It’s a good thing I pre-portion these meals out because I think we could have eaten the entire pan on our own…in one sitting.  That is how much we raved about it.

So…again…thank you, Julie!

And now…to the rest of you…I encourage you to get cooking.  This one is totally worth it.

Recipe: Baked Polenta with Rainbow Chard and Cheese

It’s the night before a race…so you know what that means, right?


Except…not today.  I didn’t have anything in my apartment to work pizza into the equation…so I had to break with my pizza before a race tradition and come up with something I could make with items I did have on hand.  Well, today is the day my CSA bin was delivered and one of the items nestled inside was beautiful rainbow chard.

It was from there…and the fact that I keep polenta on hand in my pantry…that I threw together this recipe for a later than usual dinner.  It was delicious and relatively easy to make.  As I am lactose intolerant, I substituted the ricotta cheese for silken tofu and used Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese.

The rest of the recipe is from Epicurious…but I really enjoyed it with my substitutions.  So delicious.

Recipe: Baked Polenta with Rainbow Chard and Cheese

Baked Polenta with Rainbow Chard and Cheese
Baked Polenta with Rainbow Chard and Cheese

Servings: 8
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Cook 1 hour 10 minutes; Cool 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound rainbow chard, thick stems and ribs removed, leaves cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal) or yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (I used Nosoya Silken Tofu)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups coarsely grated low-fat mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces) (I used Daiya mozzarella shreds)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly oil 2-quart glass baking dish.  Heat oil in heavy large deep skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; sauté until tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper, then chard; cover and cook until chard is tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Uncover; stir until any excess liquid in skillet evaporates.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring 3 1/2 cups water and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan.  Gradually stir polenta into boiling water.  Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until polenta is very thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Whisk ricotta and eggs in bowl; whisk in 1 cup hot polenta.  Stir ricotta mixture into polenta in saucepan.

Spread half of polenta mixture in baking dish.  Spread half of chard mixture over.  Sprinkle with half of mozzarella.  Repeat layering with remaining polenta, chard, and cheese.

Bake until puffed and brown on top, about 45 minutes.

Cool 30 minutes.


You would never be able to tell that this recipe was made with tofu instead of ricotta cheese, and with vegan cheese over regular.  The onions, chard, and garlic mixture is delicious.  And the polenta made a delicious, creamy addition once it was cooked up.  I loved this and am so happy that I have another 3 days worth of it.  YUMMY!

Best part…each serving has 259 calories.  That’s it!  Amazing.  Delicious.  And quite satisfying.  I served this with a salad made up from fresh produce, also from my CSA bin.  This recipe does take some time to cook…but the end result is worth it.  I would make this again in a heartbeat.

Now…we’ll see how this does when it comes to my race day performance.

I might be sorry I skipped out on pizza…but this was definitely a huge, tasty, epic dinner win!

Recipe: Baked Quinoa Casserole with a Spicy Cheese Sauce

I’m getting ready to leave town for a little while to head home to see my family for the holidays.  And I still have a large amount of produce from my CSA bin that is just dying for me to use it.  So, I was trying to decide what I could make that would utilize some of the contents in my crisper drawer, which would allow for me to clear out some of the produce and make room for the new stuff I’m getting on Friday…which my roommate will have to take care of as I won’t be in town.

So, after a little bit of searching I ran across a recipe on a blog called Purely Twins, and I sort of based my own recipe off of the basis they laid down for theirs.  I did a completely different sauce and chose very different vegetables…but the quinoa…that stayed the same.

I wasn’t too sure how this was going to turn out…but the end result was actually mighty tasty…and extremely healthy.

Recipe: Baked Quinoa Casserole with a Spicy Cheese Sauce

Baked Quinoa Casserole with a Spicy Cheese Sauce
Baked Quinoa Casserole with a Spicy Cheese Sauce

Servings: 6-8
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Cook 30 minutes


  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups chopped raw zucchini
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 handfuls kale

For sauce:

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (I used Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch paprika


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the quinoa by bringing 4 cups of water to a boil.  Add in 2 cups of dry quinoa and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover, allowing to simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is gone.

While the quinoa is cooking, make the sauce.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the flour into melted butter, whisking constantly.  Cook, whisking constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute or until mixture is golden and lumpy.

Gradually whisk in the almond milk and bring to a boil.  Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened.

Add the cheese, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and paprika, whisking until smooth.  Remove from heat.

Once the quinoa is ready and the sauce is made, grab a large bowl and pour your cooked quinoa into the bowl.  Add the cheese sauce.  Then put the freshly chopped vegetables into the bowl.   Mix well so that the vegetables and quinoa are evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture into a 9×13 glass pan and place in the oven.  Bake for 30  minutes or until the quinoa casserole is golden brown.

Serve and enjoy.


What can I say about this?  For being something that I just took a concept from a blog…and then mixed up a sauce and threw it all together…the end result was really delicious and super healthy.  Quinoa is packed with protein and combining it with fresh vegetables was a great way to boost the nutrition value of this meal.  I was a big fan.  And the spicy cheese sauce wasn’t overly spicy.  It just gave enough of a little kick that you knew it was there.

Yeah…I’d make this again in a heartbeat.