cauli-mac-n-cheese is what my kids ate

Where did the time go?

Last Wednesday night I went on a high school tour which began in the auditorium with the friendly principal flipping through a power point presentation. I tried very hard to keep up, and feeling like a mere dot among the sea of parents, listened wide-eyed as the principal discussed the high school curriculum. AP classes, honors classes, requirements for college and other important topics were thrown my way as if they were a supermarket shopping list. I grabbed a pen from my purse to jot the info down, only to find that it had no ink. But I was assured that all this wonderful information was available on the high school website. You’ve got to love technology. Now, is there an app to solve my mommy blues–you know, the reluctance to accept that your 13 yr old, who just figured out how to turn off his alarm clock correctly, is on the threshold of being a high schooler?


I envy moms that have it all figured out. They have done the research, mapped out the best plans for their children, know when things are due and know whom to contact. The problem with me is that I’m constantly waffling and not in the way where premium maple syrup is involved. One moment academics are important, and then I read a book by Madeline Levine, and I’m all about free time to explore and being relatively hands-off. I wouldn’t be offended if you called me a wishy washy parent.


I always feel like I’m a few steps behind other moms and believe me, it’s not intentional. For example, it took weeks before I realized that I had to register my son online to participate in cross-country. He was running his poor little heart out, and he wasn’t even on the team. And then it took a week before I got around to buying him sneakers to replace his old ones that had a hole on the bottom. He ran his first meet with pebbles wedged in his sneakers, but at least, he was officially on the team.


Thank goodness my kids don’t really mind my occasional blunders, and I admit, I use food a lot to smooth things over. If there’s one dish the kids clamor over and can drop their phones for, it’s cauli-mac-n-cheese. Ever since they were little I’ve been cooking it, and whatever the mommy mishap du jour was, cauli-mac-n-cheese was my do-over button. I don’t know how long I have before they start rejecting all things “childish,” and become less patient with my shortcomings. High school’s right around the corner, and I hear that you enter a period spanning from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance, and then if you’re lucky, Enlightenment. (And that’s just freshman year.) But for now, I will soak in every bit of their naïveté, and enjoy another meal of cauli-mac-n-cheese with them.

Bake half, freeze the other half.


Serving Size: 8 servings



  • 1 lb pasta(1 box of penne or macaroni)
  • 1 head of cauliflower broken up into small florets
  • 1 c grated gruyere cheese
  • 2 c grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c cream
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter plus butter to grease casserole dish
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tbs plus 4 tsp salt


  1. In a large pot, boil at least 6 quarts of water. Add 1 tbs salt to boiling water.
  2. Put pasta in boiling water. After five minutes, add cauliflower florets to the same pot.
  3. Cook pasta and cauliflower for another 5 minutes or until pasta is cooked.
  4. Drain pasta and cauliflower. Set aside.
  5. Finely mince garlic and combine with turmeric to make a paste.
  6. In the microwave, warm 1 1/2 c milk with 1/2 c cream for about 2 minutes. (Cover loosely with plastic wrap, making sure there's a vent hole when heating in the microwave.)
  7. In a saucepan, melt 2 tbs butter with 1 tbs olive oil on medium low heat. Add 2 tbs flour and stir together for a minute. Add turmeric and garlic paste. Stir for 30 seconds. (Roux)
  8. Pour heated milk mixture into the roux. Whisk together until flour and milk is combined. Reduce heat to low. Whisk for another minute. Turn the heat off.
  9. Add 1 c of grated gruyere and 1 c of grated cheddar cheese to milk and flour mixture. Whisk together until cheese has melted. Add 4 tsp of salt to cheese sauce.
  10. Combine cheese sauce with pasta and cauliflower. (If you don't need 8 servings, you can freeze half and bake the other half.)
  11. Place cheesy pasta and cauliflower in a buttered casserole dish. Top with 1 c of cheddar cheese.
  12. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes. If you like a crusty top, then after 25 minutes of baking, broil for the remaining 5 minutes.

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4 Responses

  1. Rosalie says:

    Hubby and I just had this and it was fantastic and super easy. It’s always hard for him to eat vegetables but he LOVED this. Love your super easy recipes. This is a keeper for sure. Yummy.

  2. Alicia says:

    This looks delicious. I think I’ll make it for my next potluck!

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