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Veggie Mac & Cheese

The ALS Association reports that choosing the right foods with the appropriate consistencies and employing tips for safer swallowing can help maintain nutrition and mealtime enjoyment in those with ALS.


The goal in maintaining adequate nutrition is to consume enough calories to meet an individual’s daily energy needs.

Although their level of physical activity has decreased, people with ALS may need more calories to meet their nutritional requirements. As ALS weakens their muscles, it may become difficult for them to consume enough nutrients. Additionally, it may be challenging for them to prepare or eat food due to difficulty with hand or limb coordination.


The recipe below (found here) is an excellent source of high-calorie nutrition and easy to consume for individuals with ALS.



Veggie Mac and Cheese

Yield: 6 servings


Ingredients:

  • Vegetable cooking spray

  • 12 ounces dry elbow macaroni (about 3 cups dried)

  • 4 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut into small pieces

  • 2 medium Vidalia onions, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped salt

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

  • Bread crumbs for topping


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with vegetable cooking spray, and set aside.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water, and return to the pot.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the butter/oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, onions, garlic, and ½ tsp salt and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes,

  5. adding a little water if more liquid is needed. Drain the vegetables in a large colander set over a bowl. Add the vegetables to the pasta and set the juices from the vegetables aside.

  6. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and mustard and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.

  7. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the milk and the juices from the vegetables.

  8. Add the oregano and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  9. Beat the ricotta until smooth and slowly beat in the white sauce. Toss with the macaroni mixture.

  10. Transfer to the 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top and lightly spray them with the vegetable cooking spray.

  11. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Serve immediately.



 

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