Better-for-You Baked Mac

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This months issue of Parents Magazine couldn’t have come at a better time. Parents Magazine offered up 21 Twists on Mac ‘n’ Cheese. From a Greek Style to a Protein Boost; there’s a Mac ‘n’ Cheese for everyone!

We started with the basic Better-for-You Baked Mac recipe and added some chopped broccoli. The dish was super easy to make and was a hit with the little one!

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

3 cups dried fusilli (or pasta of your choosing)

1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (we used regular salted stick butter)

3 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp.salt

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. low fat milk

1/3lb. fontina cheese, 1.5 cups shredded ( we used 1/2 lb. of fontina cheese)

1/2 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs.

Medium head of broccoli

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2-qt square baking dish (or what ever shape you have in at least the 2 quart range) with nonstick spray; set aside.

2. Chop broccoli, place in medium sauce pan with a small amount of water and a pinch of salt. Simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally until broccoli reaches desired tenderness.

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3. Cook pasta as directed on package; drain and keep warm.

4. While pasta cooks, melt butter in medium saucepan. Add flour and salt; stir for 1 minute.

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5. Add milk and stir until thick and bubbly.

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6. Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted.

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7. Toss together pasta, broccoli and cheese sauce. Transfer to prepared dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

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Thank you Parents Magazine for 21 twists to my daughters favorite meal!

Mac & Cheese with bacon, because everything’s better with bacon

J had a midterm yesterday and I always like to make him something special after a big test. Although I’m really the one that deserves a treat because it usually means more time alone with the kids for me while he studies! The old saying that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach could not be more true when it comes to my husband. This dish truly is a “comfort” food. Perfect for the single digit temperatures we’ve had around here lately. However if you are one of the few that are still sticking to your New Years resolution to lose weight and eat healthy then this definitely is not the recipe for you. Loaded with five different cheeses it is for sure a treat reserved for special occasions around here. This recipe is adapted from Patti Labelle’s Over the Rainbow Mac and Cheese recipe found here

1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) butter
4 oz each mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, muenster, and Monterey Jack cheeses, shredded
8 oz velveeta
2 cups half and half
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound bacon, chopped (optional)

First boil a large pot of water and cook pasta for about 8 minutes or until al dente

Drain and return pasta to pot. Then add in butter until melted.

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Next stir in shredded and cubed cheeses, reserving about half a cup of shredded cheese

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Pour in half and half and beaten egg

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Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper.

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Next put into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until sides are bubbling.

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Feel free to add in other ingredients. We sometimes like to use peas or broccoli but in my husbands opinion bacon just makes everything better :)