We are thrilled to reveal the winner of the first ever Allergy and Asthma Care Centers’ “Key Ingredient” Contest! If necessity is the mother of invention, then this recipe was a necessity for one special mother who faced deadly food allergies with courage and creativity. Here’s her story and the winning recipe:
When faced with caring for a newborn with extreme food allergies any mom might reach for comfort food to cope. But for Washington-area allergy mom Devin D. comfort food wasn’t an option.
Just weeks old, Devin’s infant daughter Jordan began to develop a “snake skin” rash and one terrifying night her eyes swelled shut.
“I panicked and called the pediatrician at 2:00 in the morning,” said Devin, “He said ‘that sounds like an allergy.’” And it was. In fact, Baby Jordan is allergic to dairy, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, legumes, and coconut. Too young for solids, Baby Jordan was being exposed to dangerous allergens through her mother’s breast milk and Devin was immediately put on an elimination diet: if Baby Jordan couldn’t consume it, neither could her mother.
“I was living on Rice Crispies and knew this wasn’t going to last long,” said Devin. Like so many allergy moms who struggle to identify foods their children can safely eat, Devin started the desperate search for appealing foods she could eat without triggering another terrifying allergy attack in Baby Jordan after nursing. She headed into the kitchen, grabbed a favorite family recipe for Macaroni and Cheese and started making substitutions. But finding the right ingredients and cooking methods took time, “I’ve always been the kind of person who can never follow the recipe like it is. So this has been fun for me. The third time was the charm!”
The recipe was not only a winner with Devin and her family; it is the official winner of the first Allergy and Asthma Care Centers’ “Key Ingredient” Contest:
Dairy-free, Soy-free, Vegan Baked Macaroni and Cheese
with White Cheese Sauce, Veggies, and Sausage
by Devin D. of nomyumfree.com
White Cheese Sauce: (double recipe for a large casserole dish)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup vanilla rice milk
pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp spicy mustard
sea salt – ground fine (to taste)
¼ tsp granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
dairy-free, soy-free cheeses – shredded or cut small (like Rice Vegan)
1 box of cooked noodles (my husband prefers penne, but I also like rotini)
frozen vegetables (optional but recommended)
faux (or turkey for non-vegan) meat (like Field Roast Italian Sausage) (optional)
Casserole Prep: Preheat oven to 350°. In a large casserole dish, combine noodles, vegetables, and meats. Stir to evenly distribute ingredients. Set aside.
White Cheese Sauce: Heat oil in a saucepan. Briskly whisk in flour. Continue whisking while mixture cooks for about 1 minute, being careful not to burn. Add milk while whisking. Stir in pepper, mustard, and garlic. Cook until thickens (about 5 minutes) – stirring constantly. Add cheese (amount to your liking), and continue cooking and stirring until cheese has melted almost completely.
Casserole: Pour cheese sauce over casserole ingredients, and stir to distribute evenly. Sprinkle shredded (or finely cut) cheese on top of casserole. Bake for approximately 35 – 40 minutes. (For creamier macaroni and cheese, bake covered for 15-20 minutes, and then remove cover before cooking for remaining time.)
Note: This dish can be made ahead. After adding white cheese sauce, simply refrigerate or freeze. When ready to prepare, thaw or let come to room temperature before baking.
Compelled to help other allergy moms, Devin has started a blog (hyperlink: http://nomyumfree.com/) to share her allergy friendly recipes and other food allergy information. She recommends that everyone learn about the dangers and symptoms of food allergies, “It’s important for people whose children don’t have allergies to educate themselves about it. It’s a very scary thing. It’s a life or death situation and I think most people don’t realize how serious it is.”
Devin D. is mother to 7-month-old food allergy sufferer Baby Jordan and 3-year-old Aidan. She lives in suburban Maryland. For submitting the winning recipe Devin will receive a $25 iTunes gift card.
For more information about how to modify recipes to allow for a food allergy in your family, contact one of the eight Allergy and Asthma Care Centers in the Washington, DC metro area today!