Healthy Mac ‘N Cheese
No, you don’t need to check your glasses prescription; this is a recipe for healthy Mac’ N Cheese.
What’s more, it actually tastes good.
I’m sorry if this recipe goes against your religion, but I had to do it.
I love Mac ‘N Cheese; it’s up there between my family and puppies. It’s way up there with chocolate, ice cream, and snow days.
I’m like most people, when I say that growing up, on days that seemed longer than 24 hours, when supper came around my mother was too tired to prepare a four course affair. When you are at the age when missing a few teeth is cute and not sad, your mom is like a seasoned chef when she offers to make you Mac ‘N Cheese for dinner.
Now let’s be honest, we’re just friends here, who has the patience to make a roux on a Wednesday night?
Not me, and not my mother, so I got to bounce around the room while she pulled out the cheese powder from the box. A bit of margarine and an exquisite cheese sauce was made.
For fun, I now try to spell a few of the ingredients on the side of that box. It’s a great diet starter, because by the end I kind of lose my appetite.
Now that I am a bit older, and I don’t want to sprinkle death over my pasta, I long for Mac ‘N Cheese. This recipe is my compromise between health and memories, but not taste.
The secret to its success is the Greek yogurt I used in the sauce to make it super creamy. The vegetables give the dish some extra texture and the panko bread crumb topping gives it a punch of flavor.
This recipe is for a crowd, but you can easily make half if you want to feed four happy costumers. It’s freezer friendly so you can even save some for the next time you can’t be bothered to make a roux, or anything for dinner.
Healthy Mac ‘N Cheese
Serves: about 8 as a main course/ about 12 as a side
16 oz. whole wheat pasta
1 cup of fresh spinach (chopped and packed)
1 large red pepper (cut like match sticks)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small sweet potato (peeled and diced)
2 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
5 garlic cloves (minced)
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of panko bread crumbs
1 tsp dry cilantro
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook you pasta in boiling water until it is al dente or a bit harder then you normally like to eat it.
3. While your pasta cooks, cut your vegetables.
4. Place your spinach leaves and sliced red pepper on the bottom of a strainer.
5. Then place your strainer inside a larger, heat safe bowl.
6. When you pasta is ready pour it through the strainer while it remains in the bowl.
Save the pasta water for later use.
7. Place your pot back on your burner and raise the heat to medium high.
8. Add your oil to the pot.
9. Once your oil is hot, add the pieces of sweet potato.
10. Sauté your sweet potato until it begins to soften.
11. Now add 1/3 cup of pasta water to the pot along
with your cheddar cheese.
12. Stir, allowing your cheese to melt.
13.Once your cheese has melted, stir in the Greek
- 14. Your sauce should start to come together as one smooth and cheesy sauce.
If you feel your sauce is too thick, stir in some more of the pasta’s cooking liquid.
- 15. Pour your pasta, spinach, and peppers into a large baking dish.
- 16. Toss your pasta and vegetables with your cheese sauce. Make sure to mix the pasta thoroughly so that there is an even amount of sauce and vegetables throughout your baking dish.
- 17. In a small bowl combine your garlic, parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, and cilantro.
- 18. Generously sprinkle your mixture on top of your Macaroni ‘N Cheese.
- 19. Bake your Macaroni ‘N Cheese on the top shelf of your oven for about 12 minutes or until it’s top turns golden brown.
- 20. Serve immediately.