Happy Friday! I've heard lots of wonderful feedback from many readers who have been enjoying my best-loved healthy entrées, cooked during the regular course of my weekly meals. Today I have one of my brand spanking new creations! Since first making Ultimate Mac 'n' Cheese to taste-test for the first time in early March, I have now created it three times! Does that tell you how much I love it!
We all enjoy the comfort of digging into a big, beautiful bowl of steaming hot, baked macaroni and melting cheese, but tend to stay away to keep our waistlines semi in check! The recipe I'm bringing you will give the memories of that hard to resist comfort food classic - in a slimmed-down version that is authentic, creamy, and decadent!!! You will never think of macaroni and cheese as a stay away from food again. Let me know if you agree after trying it yourself! Oh, and with all the calories you're saving from this nutritious meal, definitely enjoy a class of wine with your serving. ;)
If you're new to a cup of mascarpone, here are my previous healthy entrées I've featured. They are sandwiched in between my delectable sweet and savory posts, and are all delicious! Just click the recipe name, and it will take you directly to the post.
Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!
Until next time...and "strawberry dream mascarpone filled cupcakes" (with a giveaway)...mangia! xox
Ultimate Healthy Mac 'n' Cheese with Butternut Squash & Broccoli Florets
1 cup cubed butternut squash or 1/2 cup thawed frozen cooked butternut squash
1 cup steamed broccoli florets
3 cups multigrain elbow macaroni (cooked al dente)
5 tablespoons grated pecorino (divided: 3 tablespoons for topping and 2 tablespoons for mac 'n' cheese)
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 1/4 cups fat-free milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light cream cheese (cut into chunks)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 cups shredded low-fat sharp cheddar
Create the Ultimate Healthy Mac 'n' Cheese:
1. If using cubed butternut squash, bring squash and enough cold water to cover by 1 inch to boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, cover until squash is tender, approximately 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a mini-food processor and puree. (or use 1/2 cup thawed frozen cooked butternut squash) Set aside. Steam broccoli florets, enough to yield 1 cup steamed, and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix together panko bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons pecorino, and evoo with a fork and set aside. Preheat oven broiler with rack in center of oven. Spray a 2 1/2 quart ovenproof shallow baking dish with nonstick spray.
3. Cook pasta, drain and set aside. In same pot, whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Add cut-up light cream cheese. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until mixture comes to a boil, 5 minutes. Whisk in salt, mustard, garlic, and cayenne. Reduce heat, and simmer, whisking until mixture thickens, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in sharp cheddar, pecorino, and squash until cheeses melt. Stir in pasta and cooked broccoli florets.
4. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with topping. Broil until bubbling, 4-5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Per serving (1 cup): 307 cal, 9 g fat, 39 g total carb, 5 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 19 g protein, 309 mg calc. Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 8.
Feel free to change up the broccoli florets in the Ultimate Mac 'n' Cheese, by adding in 1 tablespoon oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 cup finely chopped ham, 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas, 1 cup cooked lobster, or anything else you enjoy to the basic recipe!
Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine.