Delicious but reasonable mac 'n cheese?
I am in the mood for some delicious creamy, cheesy, crusty traditional baked macaroni and cheese, but do not wish to go crazy with a zillion calories at this time of year. Sure, I know that mac 'n cheese is not diet food, but is there a recipe that is reasonable in calories/fat and still delicious?
I sometimes substitute sour cream for some of the cheddar cheese in mac-n-cheese. It's only about a ten percent reduction in calories but it's a place to start.
My solution for this dilemma is to do something that isn't mac & cheese but which satisfies a lot of the cravings. I'll mix my pasta with some pureed squash (don't hate me, but you can buy it in the freezer section this time of year), add a good sprinkling of chevre to balance the sweetness and add cheesy goodness, and toss it under the broiler.
If you want something more ooey-gooey than that, I'm pretty sure there are recipes out there that actually sub the squash for some of the cheese - you get that bright orange Kraft color. Try food network - I think Ellie Krieger probably did it at one point.
You can swap in tofu for some of the cheese. I think I got this recipe from one of the Moosewood books -- it's not Kraft (oh guilty pleasure) but it does the trick for me once in a while:
* 12 ounces pasta -- elbows, small shells, farfalle are all good
* 12 ounces lowfat silken tofu
* 1/2 cup lowfat milk
* 1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, packed
* 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup fresh parsley
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease a 2-quart baking dish
3. Bring a large covered pot of lightly salted water to boil
4. When water boils, stir in the pasta and cook until al dente
5. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine all the cheese sauce ingredients (except parsley and bread crumbs) and pulse until smooth
6. Add more salt to taste
7. Drain cooked pasta. In a large bowl mix together pasta and cheese sauce. Stir in parsley and spoon pasta into baking dish.
8. Top with bread-crumb mixture.
9. Bake covered for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 5 minutes more.