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Joy Velasco for Fatherly

Field Failing’s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe Is Always a Hit With Kids

"It's nutrient dense and delicious. "

Field Failing knows the importance of a sit-down family dinner. Growing up, his parents made a point of having them every night of the week. “No matter how hard my dad was working, he always made a point of being home for dinner,” says Failing, the CEO and founder of Fields Good Chicken, a poultry-centric restaurant group based in New York City. “This really brought us together as a family.”

Failing and his wife are keeping this tradition alive with their two young sons. While working as a chef means he can’t always be home in time for dinner, meals are a big part of their daily lives. “With a toddler and an infant, dinner can be a bit hectic — to say the least — but they remind me of everything I have to be grateful for and help me stay positive during these challenging times,” says Failing. “Our kids are still pretty young and eat dinner earlier than us, but I still always make a point of sitting down with them for dinner even if I don’t have a meal in front of me.”

“The Dad Special” is a celebration of food, family, and fathers who cook. Featuring chefs, celebrities, and kitchen crazy dads, this collection highlights meals — from family secrets to quick kid delights — meant to honor time spent at the table.

One meal that Failing often cooks his kids is this recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese that is also on the menu of his restaurant group. A spin on the classic — and kid-approved — family staple, it incorporates a cauliflower pureé in the cheese sauce (“It’s nutrient dense and delicious). Failing notes that the cheese sauce is a great opportunity to sneak vegetables into the sauce if you want to make it healthier for kids. Or, you know, yourself. 

Field Failing’s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese (shredded)  
  • 1 quart cooked pasta (Failing prefers shells, but any stubby pasta will do)
  • Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions

  1. In a sauce pot heat cauliflower, milk, garlic powder, and onion powder on low, until the cauliflower is soft (about 10-12 mins).  
  2. Continue cooking on low, or your milk will scald over the pot.
  3. Make a cornstarch slurry using 2 T of Water to 2 T of cornstarch; add the slurry to the cauliflower milk mixture and stir. Cook an additional two minutes. 
  4. Blend cauliflower milk with a hand blender, and add salt, both cheeses. Blend until smooth. 
  5. Mix the sauce with cooked pasta and serve. Or, alternatively, you can top the mac & cheese with your favorite bread crumbs and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 15 min to achieve a bubbly top.