Thursday, January 13, 2011

Macaroni & Cheese

Meal 1 of eating healthy. After reading about all the junk in pre-made foods, Marcie and I had a strong motivation to get cooking. This was our first meal. We took this from the "Eat This Not That" website I posted on Facebook a few days ago. We liked the meal but without the smoked flavor of ham and jalapenos, the mac & cheese would be a little bland. My suggestion is to make sure you add some sort of smoked ham flavor and chicken would taste great with it as well as make the meal go farther (it already makes a lot). Then you can eat it for leftovers and know you're much better off then that powder stuff everyone else eats.

480 calories
9 g fat (5 g saturated)
450 mg sodium

Ask Americans what they would eat for their last meal on earth and most would likely tell you mac and cheese. Too bad restaurants and frozen-food purveyors start their macaroni and cheese with a base of cream and butter--a recipe for caloric calamity. This version is based on bechamel--butter, flour, and milk--which helps cut the calories in half. We add jalapenos and prosciutto for some spicy, smoky goodness; feel free to leave them out.

You'll Need:
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 yellow onion, minced
2 Tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 lb elbow macaroni, penne, or shells
1/4 cup chopped Pickled Jalapenos
2 oz prosciutto or ham, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

How to Make It:
* Preheat the oven to 375°F.

* Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent (but not browned), about 3 minutes. Add the flour and stir to incorporate into the butter. Pour in the milk a few tablespoons at a time, using a whisk to incorporate the flour and prevent lumps from forming. When all the milk has been added, allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes, until it begins to thicken. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

* Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente, drain, and return to the pot. Add the cheese sauce, jalapenos, and prosciutto and stir to fully incorporate. Divide the mixture among 6 individual crocks or pour into a large baking dish. Top with the bread crumbs and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

* Bake for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until the bread crumbs are golden brown and crispy, about another 3 minutes.

Makes 6 servings / Cost per serving: $1.03

The potential to innovate any recipe is bound only by your immagination, but you'll find loads more savory suggestions when you order Cook This, Not That!

Check it out: You can boost the health profile (and the hungers-quashing potential) of your mac and cheese by adding any of the following to the pasta when you toss it with the cheese sauce.
* 1 cup caramelized onions
* 2 cups roughly chopped or cherry tomatoes
* 6 oz grilled chicken and 1 cup sauteed mushrooms
* 2 cups chopped steamed or sauteed broccoli

1 comment:

Ashely said...

I would like a picture, please. :)