Not-A-Nightmare Macaroni and Cheese

One thing my children really missed when I changed how we ate was macaroni and cheese.  My daughter’s favorite macaroni and cheese came from a book called Dream Dinners (or something like that) and is called Dream Macaroni and Cheese.  Unfortunately, it was made with white pasta and full fat cheese and LOTS of breadcrumbs.  I’ve been working on cleaning it up.  It’s still not quite there yet (IMO…. they love it) but I’m working on it.  Last night I used reduced fat Mexican blend cheese.  I thought it made a good sauce.  I cut the breadcrumbs in half which was a vast improvement on the original recipe.  I used a whole box of pasta and that, I think, was a mistake.  The macaroni and cheese was much drier than I’d have liked.  That’s a LOT more pasta than the original recipe called for (2 cups dry).  I did it to feed a family of 4 without all the calories of doing more sauce.  I think next time I will use 2/3 of the box of pasta (since we had leftovers even with people taking seconds) in hopes of having a creamier dish.  (I’d be open to other suggestions too.  Maybe I just need to stretch the sauce with milk?)
Nutritionally, I am VERY happy with this dish.  Yes, it’s a lot of calories.  This is not ‘diet’ food.  Look at the macronutrient profile.  I LOVE that it’s a high protein mac and cheese!  I love that we’re under 30% fat.  The fiber is high.  The salt is in line with everything else.  I’m going to keep playing with it because I want a mac and cheese that is both great tasting and healthy enough to fit into our lives.

NOTE (8/10/2015): We’ve now done this enough times that I feel confident in posting it.  To get a nice creamy mac and cheese use just 1/2 of the box of pasta OR double the sauce and use the whole box.  I typically serve this with a large garden salad and we go through 1/2 a batch of ‘double the sauce + a whole box of elbows’.  (And then the kids are in mac-n-cheese heaven eating leftovers for a while.)

Not-A-Nightmare Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 6 main dish servings
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 dash hot pepper sauce
2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
8 oz shredded light cheese
1 12.5 oz box Barilla Plus Elbows
1/2 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs

1 Cook elbows according to package directions. Drain.
2 Melt butter over medium heat. Blend in flour until golden brown. Season with hot sauce. Pour in milk. Simmer until thick and bubbly.
3 Add cheese and stir until melted and creamy.
4 Stir sauce into elbows until combined.
5 Pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle with seasoned bread crumbs.
6 Bake at 325F for about 1/2 hour.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 479.98
Calories From Fat (25%) 121.97
% Daily Value
Total Fat 13.73g 21%
Saturated Fat 8.24g 41%
Cholesterol 40.33mg 13%
Sodium 479.36mg 20%
Potassium 179.73mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 57.85g 19%
Fiber 5.73g 23%
Sugar 8.03g
Protein 25.52g 51%

One response to this post.

  1. We’ve got this worked out…. double the sauce in the above recipe, use one box of Barilla Plus Elbows or whole wheat elbows and it turns out perfectly! (I need to rerun the numbers.)


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