Lighten Up Mac-n-Cheese

Happy Friday, Reader!

There are very few comfort foods as popular as macaroni and cheese.  It’s as American as apple pie.  It’s also a kid favorite.  So, I’m going to share a recipe for a much, much lighter version of the classic.  It is lower in fat and calories.  In no way, is it healthy, it’s just lighter.  Macaroni and cheese is one of the foods I put in the “empty calorie” category.  The nutritional value is basically void, unless you count the carb value and the calcium.  However, this recipe does add protein, so that’s an improvement.

Either way, you won’t miss the fat or calories, it’s truly delicious.  And it’s not greasy.

Feel free to substitute the macaroni noodles for gluten-free or whatever kind you wish.  I used whole wheat in the nutritional calculator.

The recipe below is what I use for my family.  If you’re adventurous or want more flavor, feel free to substitute all or some of the cheese for your favorite (such as sharp cheddar, parmesan or smoked gouda), but remember, I use low-fat.  You’ll have to account for added fat and calories if you use regular cheese.

Lighten Up Macaroni and Cheese

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Ingredients:

1 box of whole wheat large shell macaroni or larger tubular noodles

2 cups of low-fat cheddar cheese 2%

1/2 cup fat-free skim evaporated milk

2 eggs (feel free to remove the yolk, but add another egg white)

1/2 cup FAGE total 0% fat-free plain greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (feel free to use 1/2 teaspoon for the adult version)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Dijon (or other spicy) mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

— variation — 1-small can of medium green chilis or 3-4 freshly grilled or roasted and peeled and chopped green chilis

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the noodles are cooking, mix milk, eggs, yogurt and all of the spices, until incorporated (this is where you’ll add the green chilis too).

Drain pasta and add back to the pan, removed from the heat.

Stir all but a handful of the cheddar cheese into the noodles and mix really well.

Add the liquid mix to the noodles and cheddar.  Stir well.

Pour mixture into a lightly sprayed glass 13×9 casserole dish or other baking pan.

Add remaining cheddar to the top.  Crack pepper over.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Serves 10.  Each serving is roughly 300 calories and 3.5 grams of fat.

So you can truly enjoy it . . . once in a while!

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