Saturday, March 19, 2011

Semi-Homemade Mac 'n Cheese

Now this is just an idea of mine that sounded easy and delicious to me. It's also good for families who want to make a kid-friendly food that is also somewhat good for them. At one of my favorite Italian restaurants they make a dish with tortellini, alfredo sauce, ham and die for! I had a craving for it the other night and looked in the cabinet to see what I could come up with to satisfy that craving without going overboard on calories and fat.

I was excited when I remembered that when I was doing my gluten-free shopping I bought Annie's Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese! Now, you can use whatever brand you like but try for something more natural and/or whole grain if possible. I made this according to package directions (using skim milk and NO added butter).

Simply saute 2-3 thin slices of bacon, prosciutto, or pancetta until crisp. Drain well onto paper towel and crumble into pieces. Lean ham or canadian bacon would also be a good low fat option or you could use real bacon bits/pieces, turkey bacon...whatever you like! Just remember to use the meat sparingly and drain off as much fat as's just for flavor :)

Thaw 1 cup of frozen peas or vegetable of choice (steamed broccoli cut into small pieces is also good, or you could puree cauliflower or butternut squash and mix that in as well to be more "sneaky"). Mix vegetable and meat together with the mac and cheese and heat until warmed through.
Adding the vegetable increases the amount so you can cut down on calories while adding good-for-you fiber and vitamins and also stretch that dollar just a bit more too! I think I could easily get 4 servings from this (whereas a typical box of mac and cheese serves about 2).

For about 1/4 of the recipe or about 1 cup is 140 calories. 

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