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
- 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
- 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.