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Friday, March 16, 2012

Lightened Up Macaroni & Cheese

My family had been craving macaroni and cheese and I had to come up with a recipe we could all enjoy.  Something that would taste rich creamy but minus all the fat and calories.  I played around with this recipe for a couple of weeks and finally got it right.  This recipe serves 6 at approximately 350 calories/serving.  With the steamed vegetables as pictured this meal has about 380 calories.

Lightened Up Macaroni and Cheese

3 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 red pepper diced
2 light whole wheat bread crusts, chopped
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons of the fat free cheddar
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1 cup fat free sour cream
3/4 cup lowfat milk
7 oz. package of fat free cheddar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Boil and cook elbow macaroni as package directs, drain, and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Dice red pepper into tiny pieces.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small saucepan.  Add the red pepper and saute for a couple of minutes until just softened.

Spray a casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.  Add the elbow macaroni and mix in the sauteed red pepper mixture.  I prepared an extra small casserole dish for my daughter who doesn't like the red pepppers.  This recipe tastes fine without the added peppers if preferred.

Cut off crusts of 2 slices of light whole wheat bread.  I used the help of my mini chopper to grind the crusts into bread crumbs.  Add the parmesan cheese, parsley and reserved cheddar cheese.

Next place the cottage cheese into a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.

Once smooth, mix with the fat free sour cream in a large bowl.

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until warm and bubbly. Next add the flour.  Reduce the heat to low and mix with the cheddar cheese.  Stir in ground mustard and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir over low heat until cheese is melted.

Mix the milk and cheese mixture into the sour cream and cottage cheese.  Stir until mixture is combined.  It will be thick.  The mixture will blend together well once it is heated in the oven.

Pour cheese mixture over macaroni in the casserole dish and stir to combine.  Spread bread crumb mixture over the macaroni.  I used a few sprays of Olivio buttery spray to moisten the bread crumbs once I placed them in the casserole.

Place in preheated oven and heat for about 25-30 minutes or until warm and bubbly.

This recipe yields 6 servings of macaroni and cheese at approximately 350 calories per serving.  Enjoy!

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