Health(ier) macaroni and cheese

As promised.  I wanted a macaroni and cheese recipe that was healthier and lower in fat, and this is what I came up with.  Really nice.

Macaroni and cheese
Serves 4

2 cups (dry measure) whole wheat corkscrew pasta (Barilla and Rotini both have good flavor and plenty of protein and fiber)
2 T olive oil
2 T flour
1-1/4 cups skim milk
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 slice low fat American cheese
3 T grated full-fat, strong-flavored cheese (Cheddar will do, but play around and use what you have in the fridge)
3 T. grated low-fat Mozzarella
1/3 cup Parmesan-flavored bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 and spray olive oil on a square 8-inch baking dish.

Boil pasta, being careful to avoid overcooking.

Heat milk until hot but not boiling, and add the Parmesan, the American cheese, and 1 T each of the strong cheese and the mozzarella, stir to start the melting.  Have this ready to add to the skillet on the next step.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat (careful to keep it from getting too hot) and lightly brown the flour.  (I burned it the first time, which always irks me, and had to start over.)  Add the milk/cheese mixture, stirring continuously as it thickens to a good consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   

Drain the pasta and settle it into the baking dish, and pour the sauce over it.  Top with the remaining cheese and the bread crumbs and back for about 30 minutes.  Let stand for a few minutes before serving. 

Here’s the happy part: divide into four hefty servings and get away with:  387 calories; 13 gms fat; 18 gms protein; 46 gms carbs; and a lovely 6 grams of fiber.

Compare that to a regular serving of homemade mac and cheese:  548 calories,  34 grams fat;  1 gram fiber.  (The full version is a little higher in protein, but worth the trade off, no?)

4 thoughts on “Health(ier) macaroni and cheese

  1. Christine

    I have spent the best part of 35 years going thru these routines. How to eat well and still lose, or at least, not gain any more weight. And I have to tell you that I have finally cracked the nut. I have tried surgery, every diet under the sun, and I have to tell you that in the end none of it worked.

    The problem is in the head, not the body.

    I now find that I am over trying to adjust favourite recipes to make them legal. This was a major break through. Doing this sort of thing takes up a lot of valuable head space that is much better spent on other things.

    I think it is better to have a decent serve of full fat macaroni cheese once in a while, and get back to simple, straightforward, healthy eating the rest of the time.

  2. Christine, that’s a really valid point, and I’m with you in spirit. But I also want to be able to run again and need to be thinner to do it, and adjustments satisfy my need to play with food.

    Trust me, I will have full fat gravy on Thanksgiving. 🙂

  3. Christine

    I know about the running thing Barbara, and I am right there with you. It is just that I myself, and all the women I know who have been burdened with the weight thing, have put on more than they lost. As we all know this is totally demoralising. The contrast of the euphoria and super human feeling of the loss against the subsequent gain. I also don’t know any women, including myself, who weren’t convinced WE WERE DIFFERENT, and we wouldn’t conform to this pattern. And bugger me we did. Bugger.

    Go for the gravy now and then I say.

    Tess Gerritsen had an interesting post on the fact that writers (even, and perhaps, especially the most successful) are insecure. Nothing like insecurity to feed anxiety and set one running to the fridge. I know I feel a real desire to live inside the fridge when I am feeling up against it!!

  4. So true about insecurities.

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