Transforming your family’s favorite comfort food into a healthy version is risky business but I think I nailed it. Traditionally I would use at least 4 different kinds of cheese, minimum of 1 cup each which loaded my mac and cheese recipe with fat and calories. This version replaces much of the cheese with veggies. Get creative, use whatever veggies you have on hand. I used broccoli, green beans and carrots but cauliflower, corn and peas would work just as easily. I have tried using spinach and kale before but none of us liked the chewy texture. For a little brightness bell peppers and tomatoes would also be yummy. The kicker in this recipe is the mustard. It’s the thing that make you go “whoa” Hubby went back for seconds, his serving size was definitely over 1 cup, which is equal to success in my house.
Busygals… good for you Mac n Cheese:
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp paprika
8 oz whole grain, elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)
1 c. sliced carrots
1 c. green beans (trimmed)
2 c. broccoli florets
1 tbs butter
2/3 c. finely chopped onion
1 3/4 c. fat free milk
3 tbs flour (all purpose or whole wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 oz. reduced fat cream cheese (cut up in small cubes)
1 1/2 tsp dijon-style mustard *
8 oz shredded reduced-fat Mexican style, four-cheese blend (about 2 c. )
- Preheat broiler. In a bowl stir together panko, Parmesan cheese and paprika. set aside
- In a large saucepan combine dried pasta, carrots and green beans. Cover with water and cook per pasta package directions. During last 4 min. add broccoli. Drain and return to pan, cover and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Add salt and pepper, milk, flour. Stir until well mixed, bubbly and thickened. Stir in cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese mixture until melted.
- Immediately pour cheese mixture over pasta-veggie mixture; toss gently to coat.
- Lightly spray baking dish with non-stick spray. Transfer mixture to baking dish and top with panko mixture. Place under the broiler for 1-2 min. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
Makes 8 servings (1 c. each) per serving= 269 cal., 8g f., 34 carb., 4 g. fiber, 6 g. sugar, 6 g. pro.