I LOVE Macaroni and Cheese.
The husband reallllly loves Macaroni and Cheese.
And don’t get me wrong, it’s a great once-in-a-while-guilty-pleasure sort of dish. There’s just something so comforting about that cheesy, warm, gooey, starchy goodness that just makes you happy.
But I was tired of only having Mac & Cheese in moderation. I wanted to make it a full dinner, but without the extra fat and calories of the original. (Oh and let me be clear, when I’m talking about Mac & Cheese I’m talking about homemade / from scratch – not the boxed versions which don’t count as real Mac & Cheese 🙂 )
So I scoured the web for recipes to see if I could find some inspiration. I came across this recipe on CookingLight and thought it was the perfect starting point. I made a few modifications (my modified recipe is below), and it turned out just like the original – super cheesy and flavorful!
Most Mac & Cheese recipes use the following ingredients:
I lightened up this recipe by using less of the higher-fat ingredients, and substituting in whole grains and vegetables.
My Ingredient List
- 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles, (2 cups)
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli (or fresh broccoli florets – cut small)
- 1 10oz bag of baby spinach or baby kale (optional)
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 3/4 cups 1% milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (omit if you don’t like the flavor of mustard)
- Optional: 1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (to give it some kick!)
Step 1: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
Step 2: Add frozen (or fresh) broccoli to a pan over medium heat, saute with minced garlic, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt until slightly tender. Add kale/spinach towards the end and cook until the greens are wilted.
Step 3: Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 cups milk in another large pot over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; return to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4: Remove from the heat and whisk in Cheddar, Parmesan and mustard until the cheese is melted.
Step 5: Drain the pasta and add to the cheese sauce. Add your veggies into the pasta mixture, and heat through (on low heat) until everything is combined.
Optional: Sprinkle some black pepper on top before serving.
This recipe makes 6 huge servings, and each serving has only ~250 calories, ~8g fat, ~7g fiber and ~14g protein!
Now that’s a Mac & Cheese recipe I can get behind! Oh and did I mention, the husband loved it too 🙂