Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lighter Macaroni and Cheese

I found this recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes - it's a lightened up version of a cheddar mac and cheese. I made a slight addition of sauteing the onions in paprika and of course, added some Tony's Creole for a delicious final product. It was a great complement to dinner tonight, much more simple than my first homemade effort and perfect comfort food for this cold and rainy Texas evening. The recipe makes enough for about six side dish portions, containing 297 calories, 9.7 grams of fat, 15.8 grams of protein, 34.5 grams of carbs and 5.3 grams of fiber.

Grocery List:
- 3 cups of elbow macaroni noodles (wheat, high fiber)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup onion, minced
- Paprika
- Olive oil
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 8 oz. of 2% reduced fat mild cheddar cheese
- Fresh chopped spinach
- 3 cheese blend (I used a packaged version with asiago, fontina and parmesan grated cheeses)
- Salt and pepper to taste

Start by boiling your macaroni elbow noodles until soft. Drain and set aside.

In a small skillet, add a dab of olive oil and your onions. Begin to saute, adding a few shakes of paprika.

In a dutch oven or heavy pot, heat your butter. Next, whisk in your flour and stir for about two minutes on medium heat, creating a roux.

Once your onions have had a chance to cook and absorb the paprika flavoring, add to the roux.

Next, add the milk, followed by the chicken stock. Turn up to medium-high heat and stir until well combined and thickened.

Add the mild cheddar and stir, followed by a small handful of the three-cheese blend. Stir constantly until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked macaroni noodles and about 1 handful of chopped fresh spinach leaves.

At this time, you can choose to move the noodles into a baking dish, top with additional parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs to bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. However, I have a texture issue and feel like breadcrumbs in creamy macaroni and cheese is like pouring sand into my milkshake. So, I just sprinkled Tony's Creole over top!

I served this meal with a flavorful walnut-crusted chicken topped in a cranberry "mojo" along with a spinach salad of red onion, dried berries, feta and balsamic vinaigrette.

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