To weather Hurricane Irene, a friend and I decided to spend our Saturday cooking and boozing. I really wanted mac 'n cheese, so I came up with this "healthier" version. It's not really healthy, but it doesn't blow your diet completely like a full fat version of mac 'n cheese. And I added spinach so that it had at least some nutritional value.
"Healthy" Mac 'n Cheese Recipe
12 ounces pasta of choice (I used Trader Joe's Pennette because that's all they had left at the store)
2 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups skim milk
1 package sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups baby spinach
2/3 cup panko (japanese style breadcrumbs)
salt and pepper
Misto (or any oil spray)
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat and whisk in the flour, forming a roux.
3. When the mixture comes together, add the onion and cook for about two more minutes.
4. Add the cup of vegetable broth and whisk until combined.
5. Then add in the two cups of skim milk and whisk.
6. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and mix in all of the cheese, reserving two handfuls (about 1/2 cup).
8. Mix the cheese in thoroughly and make sure it completely melts, or your mac n cheese will not be creamy.
9. In a large bowl, mix together the cheese sauce, cooked pasta, and baby spinach.
10. Using your Misto or other oil spray, coat a baking dish with oil and preheat the oven to 375°. Pour mixture into baking dish.
11. Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top. Then sprinkle the panko on top of that.
12. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for 3-4 minutes to brown the top.
Serves 8. Each serving is: