I'm a total sucker for a good macaroni and cheese. I'm also a sucker for a "bad" macaroni and cheese. Heck, give me noodles and something that resembles cheese and I'm a happy camper.
I've made no fewer than…well, let's count:
- Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes (the original)
- Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
- Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes (2010 edition)
- Killer Mac & Cheese (still one of my most popular posts EVER)
- Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
- Skylar's Favorite Gluten-Free Macaroni & Cheese
SIX different macaroni & cheese recipes over the course of nearly four years blogging. (Ok, seriously, I've been doing this for four years? HOW did that happen??)
Needless to say, I love the mac and cheese. (Anyone remember the episode of Friends when Joey was on a show called Mac & Cheese?)
I've been serious about the whole watching what I eat and trying to lose weight and lower my cholesterol thing, When a macaroni and cheese craving hit, I did what any healthy eater would do: figure out a way to enjoy a mac & cheese without breaking the proverbial calorie bank.
Ok, so this wasn't perfect in the calorie sense. I refuse to use reduced fat cheese in dishes like mac & cheese because it's just weird. It doesn't taste right, it doesn't melt right, and it's only sort of a cheese-like substance. I'd rather a smaller amount of the "good" stuff.
I replaced the traditional whole milk or half & half with a can of evaporated skim milk, and reduced my traditional 1/2 cup of butter with only 3 Tablespoons. The roux is made with whole wheat flour, and the super-sharp cheeses make it "ok" that there's less!
Somewhat Healthier Mac & Cheese
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake entree side low-fat pasta American fall
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
- 1 pound whole wheat pasta, cooked and kept hot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 12 oz. evaporated skim milk
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Heat the olive oil and mustard in a large sauce pot over medium heat.
Crush the garlic into the oil, and cook until aromatic.
Add the butter and flour to the pot, and whisk until thick, light tan, and the texture of brownie batter, about 5 minutes.
Add the evaporated milk and skim milk to the pot, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer while whisking constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Gradually add the cheese to the milk mixture, whisking constantly.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the pasta to a large casserole dish.
Pour the sauce over the pasta, and stir gently to combine.
Sprinkle the panko over the top, and bake until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.
This recipe made a ton. Between dinners, lunches, and snacks, well over 10 servings were eaten. I topped my original two servings with sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions (an addition I would highly recommend!)
This fulfilled the craving, and would've been a perfect side dish for some roasted chicken, pot roast, or any other fall-inspired dish. If Adam liked squash, I would've bulked it up with some butternut squash puree, but I didn't want to be responsible for eating the entire pan of mac & cheese.
So make this, and trust me… it's worth the effort!