Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Macaraoni and Cheese Please!

When I was a kid, I grew up eating Mac and Cheese.  You know, the one in the blue box...  My mom would lovingly make it from scratch, and I wouldn't touch the stuff with a 10 foot pole, insisting that I only eat the boxed Mac and Cheese.  (My poor mom!)  You have to admit, there is something about the boxed stuff that keeps us going back.  As an adult, I now realize that the white envelope full of orange powder probably isn't a packet of health.  That being said, I've been on a quest for a recipe that is not only easy, but tasty, and *gasp* healthy?  In comes The America's Test Kitchen and their Healthy Family Cookbook.  While most of their recipes aren't known for being easy or quick, this one isn't too bad, and it has both stove top, and a crumb topped oven version.

8       oz. whole-wheat macaroni
         salt and pepper
1       (12oz) can reduced fat evaporated milk
3/4    cup 2% lowfat milk (divided)
1/8    teaspoon dry mustard
         pinch cayenne pepper
         pinch garlic powder or celery salt (optional)
2       teaspoons corn starch
2       cups shredded 50% light cheddar cheese (about 8 oz) ~ Cabot 50% light Vermont Cheddar Cheese      
         was recommended (not 75% light as it was grainy in texture)
Bring large pot of water to boil and add the pasta and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Cook according to package directions (or to your likeness), drain, and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.

Combine and bring to a boil evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of milk, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cayenne, and garlic/ celery salt (if using).   Reduce to a simmer.

Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup of milk and cornstarch, then slowly whisk into simmering pot.  Continue to whisk while simmering until smooth and slightly thickened (~2 minutes). 

Remove pot from heat and whisk in grated cheese.

Stir in pasta, and let sit until thickened and pasta is heated through (2-5 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper and add reserved pasta liquid if needed (I did not).

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