Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Monday, December 20, 2010

Make Over Baked Mac and Cheese

Make Over Mac and Cheese | Renee's Kitchen Adventures:  All the comfort, with less guilt!

My husband's family celebrates Christmas eve with a traditional NO MEAT meal.  I started making Ina Garten's Mac and Cheese dish a few years ago to bring, and over the years have been able to lighten it up without losing any of the flavor. I have made this dish with whole milk and skim milk, and I can't tell the difference.  I also reduced the butter called for in the original recipe. The last big change is the cheese....from full fat to reduced fat.  Mix the cheese up and use two or three different kinds if you like. There are so many low fat choices these days!   I double the recipe for Christmas eve night and make it in a 9" x 13" glass baking pan.  I also like to add sliced plum tomatoes on the top before I sprinkle the bread crumbs on for a festive look.  It's a good mac and cheese, not gooey, but more casserole like with a nice cheese flavor. 

Make Over Mac and Cheese | Renee's Kitchen Adventures:  All the comfort, with less guilt!

Make Over Baked Mac and Cheese adapted from Ina Garten 

Servings - 6  Serving size - 1/6th of casserole  Pointsplus per svg - 8 points+
Calories - 313.1,  Total Fat - 9.4g,  Carb. - 38.3g,  Protein - 17.8g,  Fiber - 1.2g

  • 8 oz. uncooked pasta ( elbow macaroni, shells, whatever you like)
  • 3 TBS. unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 TBS. all purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 8 oz. reduced fat (2% milk-fat) cheese of your choice, shredded ( I like to mix sharp cheddar and American )
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1.  Prepare pasta according to package directions, but under cook it by about a minute or two.  Drain and set aside. 

2.  In large pot, melt 2 TBS. butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook while constantly whisking for 1 to 2 minutes.  ( this step is important to allow the flour to cook and get rid of the raw taste )  Heat up the milk in the microwave until warm or heat it up in a small saucepan while whisking flour and butter together.  Slowly add warm milk to flour mixtures, whisking until smooth and thick; about 1 to 3 minutes longer. 

3.  Remove from heat, add in cheese, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Stir to melt cheese.  Add the pasta into the cheese sauce and mix.  Pour into 2 qt.casserole dish  that has been liberally sprayed with cooking spray.  

4. Melt remaining 1 TBS butter.  Mix in fresh breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle on top.  

5.  Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake casserole for 30 to 35 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crumbs are brown.  


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  1. mmmmmmmmmm I love the idea of tomatoes in mac n cheese. Great job lightening it up! 2% milk cheese tastes the same as full fat to me!

  2. Looks SOOOO good. As much as I love Ina, her recipes are pretty unhealthy, so love the "redo" of her recipe. Have a great day!!!

  3. This looks so creamy!! you would never know it's lightened up!

  4. YUMMY!!!!! Im making this one this week
    Oh my word!!!

  5. Just found your blog today. Your recipe's look really good!

  6. I made this tonight for dinner. SOOOO good! My family could not tell it was whole grain and low fat. Added this to my recipe binder. It is a definite "will cook again" meal! Thanks

  7. @ Deb...glad you liked it and thanks for coming back to write a review! :)


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