Is it true? Is there really such a thing as HEALTHY macaroni and cheese? The comfort food of all comfort foods has been revamped, and I have to say, it is just as delicious as the full-fat, full-of-heaven version I’m used to making. Just to put it in perspective- my “famous” baked macaroni and cheese that I make for special occasions (or when I’m depressed, lol) uses about 3 cups of cheddar cheese, a cup of cream, 2 cups of whole milk, a stick of butter…ok, I’m feeling guilty just typing it out. You get the picture. BUT, this lighter version swaps out all the bad stuff, throws in a veggie, and voila! A guilt-free version of my favorite indulgence. A serving of this baby is only around 300-330 calories. Thank you to my favorite website for the inspiration for this!
Healthy Mac ‘N’ Cheese
8 oz. Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni (or shells, whatever you like)
2 cups Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
1 and 3/4 cups Low Fat Milk, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1 package fresh spinach, cooked and drained
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon EVOO or Canola oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook macaroni until just before it is cooked completely, about 8 minutes, drain, and set aside. Wilt spinach (either boil in water or steam in microwave), drain, squeeze out any excess moisture, and set aside. Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a pot until hot. Dissolve the flour in the remaining 1/4 cup milk until there are no lumps. Add to the hot milk and whisk continuously until it thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the cheddar, cottage cheese, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Add pasta and spinach to the cheese sauce, mix until well combined. Pour mixture into an 8 X 8 pan, sprayed with cooking spray. In a bowl, mix breadcrumbs with the oil, and then sprinkle on top of mixture in the pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and breadcrumbs are browned.