So we've been on a healthy eating kick for about a month now and one thing I've learned is that I love carbs a little too much. I wish I could give them up but there is just no way so I've settled for cutting back. The problem is, I still like a side dish with carbs for my dinner and many of the ones I used to eat are filled with fat as well. One thing I haven't made in a while is macaroni and cheese.
Then I found a lighter version of macaroni and cheese. I was worried there wouldn't be much flavor because the amount of cheese in this baked version is much less then any other macaroni and cheese I've made. It turns out this was a great recipe! A lot of the flavor comes from the garlic and chicken broth added to the macaroni and cheese. The cream cheese gives it a smooth texture and the small amount of cheddar cheese is just enough to give it a big cheesy flavor.
The addition of spinach not only adds a bit of nutrition but a pop of color as well. This is one light dish that was much better then I expected and I can't wait to take it to our next family picnic.
Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese (adapted from Skinny Taste)
12 oz. macaroni noodles
2 T. butter
¼ c. flour
¼ c. onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. 2% milk
1 c. fat free chicken broth
1 T. light sour cream
2 oz. cream cheese (I used ⅓ less fat)
4 oz. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 c. fresh spinach
½ t. salt
1 t. black pepper
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c. seasoned breadcrumbs
1. Cook the pasta according the to package directions. Drain and pour into a 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Add in the spinach and stir to combine. (The hot pasta will wilt the spinach.)
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
3. In a large saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour and stir over low heat for 1 minute. Add in the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Increase heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir while boiling for 1 minute.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese. Continue stirring until the cheeses have melted and are well combined. Stir in salt and pepper.
6. Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta and spinach. Stir to combine. Top with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs begin browning.