Lets make (healthy) Macaroni & Cheese

I’ll be the first to tell you I’m living with a cheese addict. He admits to it, so I don’t feel too bad writing it! I’m being serious when I say I’ve never seen cheese go so quickly.  We are talking 6-8 ounce blocks gone in 2 days people!  Lucky for me, this means I get to taste, try, and buy all the different kinds of cheeses,  and Australia has some REALLY good cheese, even good “light” cheese!
IMG_0942 I’d say 9 times out of 10, cheese makes it onto the grocery list. It made the list this week too, and with all these thoughts of cheese bombarding my brain and senses, I’ve been craving one thing…homemade macaroni and cheese.  Since I’ve been in Australia, more often then not I’ll do meal-planning on Sunday, followed by a big grocery shop mid-day to get ingredients and necessities for the week.  Sometimes though, life gets in the way and this just doesn’t happen.  Life happened this past weekend (thank you Sunday-Funday…whoops) so neither the meal planning nor the grocery shopping happened over the weekend. Thankfully, it did happen on Monday, and with a recipe in hand  I jotted down what else we’d need for this new-to-me “healthified” macaroni and cheese recipe. I was hoping to make my Mom’s version, but I had misplaced the recipe.  Thank goodness for Pinterest!  I stumbled upon a recipe  very similar to my Mom’s, but it makes a larger batch and uses 1% milk instead of skim milk. I altered this recipe a bit, specifically omitting the nutmeg and frozen vegetables, along with opting for a rotini pasta instead of cavatelli, and I baked it with breadcrumbs on top. To me, breadcumbs are an essential mac ‘n cheese ingredient.

The verdict? Cheese addict had four servings and yours truly had two. I’d say it was a success! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Healthier Macaroni & Cheese (adapted from Delish.com):

Ingredients

  • 1 package  (16 ounces) rotini pasta
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups 1 % milk
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil large pot of water; then add pasta and cook for the time directed.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt margarine over medium heat in another medium-sized pot. With a wire whisk, stir in the flour, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk a little bit at a time and stir constantly, continuing to cook over medium-high heat until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. (This will take a while, but it’s worth it for a better consistency of sauce!) Boil this for 1 minute once all of the milk has been added, continuing to stir.
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  3. Remove your saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheeses (cheddar and parmesan) just until melted(it won’t take more than 30-45 seconds!) Now, blend mixture in saucepan until smooth. (I used a hand blender to save on dirty dishes, but you could use a blender, too.)
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  4. Drain pasta and then return the pasta to the pot and stir in cheese sauce.
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  5. Place in a sprayed casserole dish, top with breadcrumbs and bake at 350 F (or 176 Celsius) for about 20 minutes, or until browned.
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You could serve this as a side-dish or as a main course, it’s up to you. We had ours on the side of veggie burgers, green beans, and a side-salad. A healthier cheesy accompaniment to a nutritious dinner? I’ll take it!  Either way, I hope it fulfills your cheese cravings…I know it did in our house (for one day anyway!)

What is your favorite “cheesy” recipe? Please share!

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8 thoughts on “Lets make (healthy) Macaroni & Cheese

  1. YES! Just the other day I was saying to mum I’ll have to make her a healthy mac n cheese. Lately, she’s had a craving for it and has been having the pre-packaged version. We WILL be trying this out. Thanks! :)

  2. Russell and I both love mac & cheese. I have a recipe but will have to try yours! Still use your stuffed shells recipe often.

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