SparkPeople Cookbook SNEAK PEEK: Three-Cheese Macaroni
IngredientsFor the Sauce:
2 tbsp light butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 cups skim milk
1 bay leaf
1⁄8 onion, cut in a wedge
1⁄4 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss
1⁄4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1⁄4 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow pasta, dry
6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
1 slice whole-wheat bread, processed into
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
DirectionsIf there is a food more comforting and satisfying than homemade macaroni and cheese, we haven’t found it. But a typical homemade recipe—made with cream, butter, and full-fat cheese—has about 400 calories and 25 grams of fat per serving; our version has a third of the fat and about 250 calories per cup. We slightly reduced the amount of cheese, used whole-wheat pasta, and chose flavorful ingredients to create a version that tastes good while cutting extra calories.
This recipe still keeps some fat, which is what adds flavor to this dish. You could make macaroni and cheese with fat-free cheese and no butter, but would you want to eat it?
Though it seems counterintuitive, eating a smaller quantity of a rich dish can be more satisfying than a larger quantity of a dish made with “filler” foods, those that have little flavor and nutritional value. This is a comfort food that you can feel good about eating.
My three boys love this dish. We usually serve it as a side dish rather than an entrée—it goes great with Spicy Turkey Mini Meatloaves (page 201) or just grilled chicken breasts. You can leave out the turkey bacon to make this dish vegetarian; add a pinch of dry mustard to the sauce for a
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare a 9" x 13"
casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the butter in a medium saucepan, melt
over medium-low heat, and cook until foaming.
Add the flour and stir well with a wooden
spoon for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the
milk, whisking to incorporate.
3. Attach the bay leaf to the onion wedge using
the cloves. Drop the studded onion into the
milk mixture with the clove/bay leaf side down.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture
thickens, about 15 minutes
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to
package directions, but don’t salt the cooking
5. Remove the studded onion from the sauce
and discard. Add the Swiss and cheddar
cheeses. Stir to combine and heat the sauce
until the cheese is just melted. Season with salt
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauce,
bacon, and cooked macaroni; toss to coat.
Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a
7. Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared
baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs and
Parmesan. Bake uncovered until bubbly and
golden, about 15 minutes.
Note: You can swap half the pasta for 3 cups of
blanched broccoli or cauliflower
Serving size: 1 heaping cup