Friday, December 30, 2011

Healthy Mac 'n' Cheese

There are few things in life better than macaroni and cheese.  There are also few things in life worse for your waist-line than macaroni and cheese.  Imagine my pleasure, then, when I came across this lighter version in one of my go-to cookbooks!  Seriously, I use this book so often that easily 85% of the binding has come undone, so the cookbook is really more like a recipe file-folder.  Of couse I made a few slight changes, but none that would drastically change the lightness of this fabulous dish!

8 ounces whole-wheat elbow pasta
1 tablespoon trans-fat-free margarine (I use Smart Balance with Omega-3)
1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 cups fat-free half-and-half (skim milk works just as well!)
2 cups shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground mustard

Heat oven to 400.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds. Place sauce pan back on medium heat and melt margarine. Add flour, reduce heat to low, and whisk to incorporate, about 2 minutes. Add half-and-half, bring to a simmer, and cook, whisking often, until thickened, 5-7 minutes. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and mustard, and stir until blended and cheese is melted. Add pasta back to pan and stir until coated. Remove from heat and pour mixture into an 8-by-8 baking dish and sprinkle paprika over the pasta. Get that sauce pan in cold water to easily remove the sticky cheese sauce! Bake macaroni for 20 minutes or until bubbly and starting to brown around the edges.

Serves 4-6.

Recipe adapted from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook by Arthur Agatston, MD.

This post is being shared at This Week's Craving with Mom's Crazy Cooking!

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