a lovely living

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

mac7Macaroni and cheese is one of those comfort foods I would hate to do without. My son, who is an extremely picky eater, took almost 4 years until he began enjoying it! And when I made this as a side a few evenings ago he finally said, “Mom, this is the best dinner ever!” A sure stamp of approval.

I know there are a million and one recipes out there for baked mac ‘n cheese, but this one is one of my top fav’s for sure. I’m not claiming that this recipe is healthy, but by mac and cheese standards it has a lot going for it. To start with, I always use the Barilla Protein Plus noodles (whole wheat would also work) and I use skim milk and part skim ricotta and cheddar cheese as well. I rarely use fat-free anything because it seems they always need to compensate for the lack of taste with an excess of salt or sugar. Hence I take the mild-fat route, if you will, and stick with skim, part skim or low fat ingredients.

I’ve made this dish for various occasions when company has been over and every single time I’ve been asked to pass the recipe along. I took that as a sign that all of you lovely readers may enjoy this as well.

macI found the original recipe here (you’ll see that you can add even more nutrients to this recipe by throwing in some spinach) but I’ve also posted my slightly edited version for you below. Hope you enjoy!mac5

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Serves: 6 (I’d say more like 10)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz tub low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4C skim milk
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1lb elbow macaroni – prepared as directed
  • 2C low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4C grated low-fat parmesan cheese
  • 1/4C dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spray a 13 x 9 x 2baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a food processor or blender, mix ricotta, milk, eggs, mustard, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.
  • In a saucepan over low heat, stir together cooked macaroni and cheddar until cheese melts.
  • Stir ricotta mixture into macaroni mixture and then scrape into prepared baking dish.
  • In a small bowl,combine parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and paprika. Sprinkle evenly over macaroni and cheese.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

 

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