Why Not A Healthier Mac n’ Cheese

Mac n' cheese

BY SUSAN REYNOLDS – Editor, GRAND Magazine 

My kids always loved mac n’ cheese, but now, I make my own and slip in nutrients, like broccoli crowns, peas, green beans, artichokes, mushrooms, tomatoes, kale, or whatever I may have that’s fresh) and add chicken sausage or shrimp. Instead of fatty creams, I use cooked butternut squash or sweet potato (mashed or soups), and I occasionally use at least one low-fat cheese in placed of a whole-fat one. Here’s a simple recipe that you can tweak to suit your family’s tastes:

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces gluten-free pasta rigatoni or shells [as an option, use whole-wheat or spinach pasta]
  • 1 cup almond milk [or 2% milk]
  • ½ cup of non-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash or sweet potato, mashed [or soup]
  • 1 cup of chicken sausage or large shrimp, cut into chunky pieces [you can use chicken hot dogs, if you prefer]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Monterey Jack cheese 

Optional spices:

  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1/2  tsp chili powder 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and then:

  • Boil pasta in salted water until slightly firm.
  • In a saucepan, combine milk, Parmesan, cheddar, mashed butternut squash (or sweet potato) over medium heat until melted and combined. Turn off the heat. Add salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.
  • Drain the pasta but do not rinse it. Add it to the cheese sauce (use a large bowl if necessary) and toss to coat the pasta. Taste again for spice levels.
  • Spray a shallow baking pan with cooking spray and pour in pasta. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Monterey jack cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

 

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