I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese. It’s straight up comfort food. It’s warm, creamy and cheesy. It’s perfect for a Friday night in.
I knew for the last two weeks I wanted to make a healthy baked macaroni and cheese, but I waited until I bought the sharpest cheddar cheese I could find and until I had the time to put together a recipe. It was a hit last night—and I can’t wait to dig into the leftovers this weekend.
Here’s the recipe (adapted from Eating Well):
3 tablespoons Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 ounces whole wheat pasta, such as rotini
12 ounces broccoli, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, such as Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, shredded
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a round or square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs and spices, add oil and mix until absorbed. Set aside.
In a large pot, cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside. In the same pot, heat 1 1/4 cups milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scalding. Meanwhile, whisk flour into 1/4 cup milk and set aside.
Add thickened milk to heated milk and stir to combine. Add shredded cheese and stir until cheese is melted and mixture comes together.
Add broccoli then pasta and stir to combine.
Remove mixture from heat. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown and crispy and cheese sauce is bubbly.
Let stand about 5 minutes, then serve.
Holy awesome-sauce. Creamy. Cheesy. Warm. Chock full of fiber, protein and vegetables. It doesn’t get much better than this on a cold Friday night.
Make this recipe now. That is all.