Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lightened Up Mac N Cheese

I have had a crazy craving for mac n cheese lately. Like the good, super cheesy, baked kind (not that boxed stuff). So I went on a hunt for a "healthier" version of a mac n cheese recipe, and found one on Eat Yourself Skinny. I was super excited about it and decided to make it for the fam last night.

Here's What You Need:

1 (14.5 oz) box Ronzoni Smart Taste elbow macaroni
1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
4 Tbsp reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil...while you wait you can mix your dry ingredients:  In a small bowl, combine Italian breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese and the chopped parsley together and set aside. 

Now if things go for you the way they always seem to go for me, and your water takes FOREVER to boil, you can take this time to measure out all of your ingredients. I was actually able to do all of my chopping and measuring while I waited. And if your water still hasn't boiled, do like me and crack open a beer and enjoy while you wait. 

Once your water is boiling, add macaroni and cauliflower. Cook until macaroni is done, then drain, but RESERVE half a cup of the water from the pasta.

Place cheddar, cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, half-and-half, salt and pepper in the already heated pot you just used and mix in the macaroni and cauliflower. Stir until pasta is well coated, then add the water you reserved from the pasta.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. 

Then top with your dry mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Now I'm going to say here that I was not actually all too thrilled with the end result. It wasn't bad, just kind of plain. The parent's claimed to like it, but it's possible they were just being nice. If I make this again I will definitely be adding more herbs and spices to it to ramp up the flavor a bit. But maybe it's just me.



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