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Hot & Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

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Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 6 (makes 5.5 cups)
Calories: 306 per serving
Percent from Fat: 26%
Cusine: American
Course: Dinner
Food as MedicineSM Ingredient: Whole Grain

Food as MedicineSM Tip

Eating whole grain or whole wheat pasta helps prevent atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetes and obesity. The calcium found in cheese helps prevent colon cancer, osteoporosis and PMS.

Culinary Taste Tip

Multigrain pasta is made from a combination of ground flaxseed, legumes and grains such as oats, spelt, barley and durum wheat. Look for the many shapes of multigrain pasta next to the regular pasta in the supermarket.

Culinary Technique Tip

Toasting nuts more than doubles their flavor, so you can use half as much, and still have great crunch on top. Adding garlic to the cooking water and keeping it in the macaroni is a new way of both flavoring the pasta and adding an antioxidant boost to the dish.

Ingredients

8 ounces (about 2 cups) whole wheat or multigrain elbow macaroni or rotini pasta
4 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
One-quarter cup sliced unblanched almonds
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups 1% low fat milk
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained (such as Rotel brand)
1 and one-half cups 2% milk shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Two-thirds cup finely grated parmesan cheese, preferably aged Reggiano Parmigiano


Preparation

Cook macaroni or pasta according to package directions adding sliced garlic cloves to the cooking water. Toast the almonds in a 350-degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Create a roux by gradually whisking in milk and bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Boil gently, whisking constantly, 1 minute or until sauce thickens. Add drained tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Drain macaroni; return to same pot. Add sauce, 1 cup of the cheddar and the Parmesan cheeses; toss well and cook over medium heat until cheese melts. At this point, macaroni may be spooned into an 11 x 7 inch glass baking dish or 1 and one-half quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Cover with foil; refrigerate up to 1 day before serving. Bake (still covered) 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 375-degree oven until heated through. Uncover; top with remaining one-half cup cheddar cheese and almonds. Continue baking uncovered until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to warm serving plates; top with remaining one-half cup cheddar cheese and toasted almonds. Serve with chipotle hot pepper sauce on the side for those who like an even spicier dish.

Substitutions

Reduced fat four-cheese Mexican blend shredded cheese may replace the sharp cheddar and queso anejo may replace the Parmigiano. Use mild or spicy canned tomatoes with green chilies depending on heat desired.

Nutritional Analysis

Total fat (g): 9;Fat calories (kc): 80;Cholesterol (mg): 23;Trans fatty acids (g): 0;Saturated fat (g): 4;Polyunsaturated fat (g): 1;Monounsaturated fat (g): 2 Fiber (g): 4;Carbohydrates (g): 38;Sugar (g): 5;Protein (g): 20;Sodium (mg): 865;Calcium (mg): 404

Comments on Hot & Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

From: KarenStuck

sounds delicious! and healthy!

From: chefsofee

This recipe is really delicious. I LOVE mac and cheese and have had little success finding a healthier version, unitl now! I watched my husband take his first bite without telling him it was good for him, then watched as his eyebrows went up and he said, "yum!". - )

From: purduemom

I LOVE mac and cheese this recipe is so good i will probably use this recipe about 2 times a month:)

From: AlidaLee

This recipe tastes so good and my kids think they're getting a treat! I love it!

From: Kath

Great tip about the garlic! I didn't have the tomato-chile combo, so added minced jalapenos instead, and served it with stewed tomatoes and a green salad. If someone in your party doesn't like hot peppers, add some spinach.

The toasted almonds are 100 times better than a more traditional and less healthy bread crumb topping. Big hit! I added parsley to the leftover and that was excellent, too. Next time, I cooked the pasta in tomato juice (just enough so it didn't need draining) adding basil instead of peppers and that was fabulous.

I plan on using your recipe as a base for a lot of experimentation. (Cooking pasta in chicken broth is another idea--use the leftover broth to add to soup.) Thanks for a great go-to mac 'n' cheese that is easily modified to suit all tastes but perfect as written.

From: ChefRobert

Because of carbohydrate consideration I use Dreamfields low carb pasta and instead of milk I would use whipping cream mixed with water as whipping cream is low in carb plus creamier in taste. Dreamfields is 5 carbs per 2 oz. while the other pasta is 30 to 40. All my life carbs have been problem with my system. With controlling the carb intake I reduced my weight from 265 to 210 and working on getting more weight off. Blood pressure 115/67 and feel great for being 83 years old.

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