Healthy Macaroni and Cheese
Healthy Macaroni and Cheese

An All-Natural, Healthy, Creamy Mac and Cheese in just 25 Minutes

EatingWell

I'm not gonna lie to you -- I have boxed mac and cheese at home. There are two boxes of shells and cheese sitting in my cupboard just pining to be my next dinner. But here's the real truth: they've been sitting there for months gathering dust, and they will continue to do so. Do you want to know why? Nine times out of 10 I just want the real deal. I want real extra-sharp Cheddar (just enough to make it taste great) and I want to be able to pronounce what goes onto my dinner plate. (Sodium tripolyphosphate, anyone? Mmm, yummy!)

Not only is this ultra-creamy version of mac and cheese nearly as fast as the boxed variety (you make it on the stovetop), but your family will be able to pronounce every ingredient. It's healthier, too: skipping the boxed mac and cheese and upgrading to whole-wheat pasta boosts fiber. Cooking frozen broccoli with the pasta adds a stealth serving of vegetables to boost folate and vitamins A and C. If you aren't a broccoli fan, substitute a frozen vegetable of your choice.

Healthy Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Serves 4, (1 1/4 cups each)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles (2 cups)

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli

1 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Recipe Steps:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 4 minutes. Add frozen broccoli and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and broccoli are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 cups milk in another large pot over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; return to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in Cheddar, Parmesan and mustard until the cheese is melted.

3. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the cheese sauce. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, until heated through, about 1 minute.

Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 412 calories; 13 g fat (7 g sat, 1 g mono); 37 mg cholesterol; 56 g carbohydrate; 22 g protein; 7 g fiber; 640 mg sodium; 236 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (70 percent daily value), Calcium (40 percent dv), Fiber (27 percent dv), Vitamin A (25 percent dv), Magnesium (16 percent dv).

3 Carbohydrate Servings

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 reduced-fat milk, 1 high-fat meat

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Healthy Macaroni and Cheese

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