Chef Wendell: Vegan mac and cheese

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Everyone loves Mac and Cheese. However, a recent national news report revealed there were potentially dangerous chemicals and artificial food colorings lurking in popular, brand name powdered mac and cheese mixes. When you discover and taste the real thing, and how easy it is to make Mac and Cheese from scratch, you’ll forget all about the little boxes of instant nothingness.

1st Segment: What’s going on with the ubiquitous boxes of mac and cheese we ate as we grew up? Why not white flour pasta. Boiling pasta starting cheese sauce. Ingredients health benefits.

2nd Segment: Finishing cheese sauce. Health benefits. Adding cheese sauce to pasta.  Pulling mac and cheese out of oven.

  • Hard to image an American Icon comes in little blue box made by a machine.
  • A study of 30 cheese products found 29 tested for higher levels of phthalates than expected.
  • Phthalates are so ubiquitous, we all have traces in our bodies.
  • EPA: phthalates “may present a risk” to human health.
  • What are phthalates?
  • Chemicals used in toys, vinyl flooring and wall covering, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other fragrance preparations
  • Phthalate esters are mainly used as plasticizers.
  • They disrupt hormone activity and may be causing a slow and steady demasculinizing of men.

Food coloring:

  • In Europe, foods with Yellow No. 5 are required to include a warning label that says, “This product may have adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
  • Kraft remove the artificial dyes from its European line, and uses paprika and beta-carotene to add color.
  • However, the company has not make the same change in the US.

What you’ll need for Easy Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 tbsps. butter, avocado oil, or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsps. potato starch flour
  • 1 cup almond, cashew, coconut, or hempseed milk
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat sharp cheddar cheese (shred your own if possible)
  • Or 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • Or 1 cup shredded Daiya brand low-fat cheese.

Remember to:

  • Melt butter and add flour whisking into a roux on medium low heat.
  • Add milk, salt and pepper and stir until thickened. 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir / whisk until melted and blended.
  • To thicken, add more liquid.

What you’ll need for Mac and Cheese:

  • 8 ounces whole wheat, quinoa or brown rice pasta-Fiber
  • 2 tbsp. chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed-Fiber and omega 3
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cheese sauce
  • Ground flax seeds or chia seed for extra fiber

Remember to:

  • Preheat oven 350 degrees
  • Make the cheese sauce and reserve.
  • Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and place in a mixing bowl; add garlic and onions, lemon, chia or flax seed, and extra salt if needed.
  • Pour cheese sauce over pasta and gently stir to fully coat; pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish or equivalent.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F. for 30 minutes.
  • Too dry, add a little more milk. Too wet, let it cook a few more minutes.

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