With fall and cooler temperatures comes one big request in our dinner rotation: comfort food. I was raised on Kraft macaroni & cheese, so I don’t mind eating it at all. My husband, though, prefers the real thing 2:1, so I need to make it from scratch every once in a while (in his defense, he will oblige to eat it my way; Kraft macaroni & cheese with hot dogs).
Gina over at Skinnytaste does a fantastic job (as I’m sure many of you know) with lightening up recipes & still making them taste good. She truly doesn’t disappoint with this one, either. I used broccoli from my CSA, which really added something fresh to this dish. Being that we want to eat more vegetables, but have our mac ‘n cheese and eat it too…this was a great remedy and compromise.
Baked Broccoli Mac ‘n Cheese
adapted from Skinnytaste
- 12 oz ‘healthy’ elbow pasta (Ronzoli Smart Taste, whole wheat, etc.)
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1 cup chicken broth (low sodium, or veggie broth works too!)
- 1 8-oz bag reduced-fat sharp cheddar
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 12 oz fresh broccoli florets
- grated parmesan, bread crumbs, & paprika, for topping
- In a large pot, cook the pasta & broccoli together until the pasta is al dente (I love this. It saves you a pot!). Meanwhile, spray a casserole dish with some cooking spray & preheat the oven to 375.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion & cook on low for about 2 minutes or so.
- Add the flour & combine with the butter until a nice roux forms and the mixture is a nice gold color. Add the milk and broth, and whisk; turn the heat up to medium-high until it starts to boil.
- Stir consistently until the sauce becomes nice and thick – but do not let it boil over! Add salt & pepper, then stir & remove from heat.
- Add the cheese & mix well until the cheese is melted & the mixture is even thicker. Add more salt & pepper if needed. Add the macaroni & broccoli, and mix well.
- Pour the mac & cheese into the baking dish, and sprinkle parmesan and breadcrumps on top. Then, add a dash of paprika, too.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, til the top gets a little golden brown.
I really liked out this turned out. I know that I didn’t miss the full-fat version very much; this dish had great flavor and I didn’t feel very guilty about eating it. It’s always nice to feel a little indulgent when you’re trying to watch what you eat – especially when all you want is some comfort food.