Healthier Mac & Cheese Cabin Meal

By 2/28/2010 , , , , ,

Andrew's family has a cabin on the Tennessee River, we love to visit and I like to make it into a fun cooking experiment weekend since it's quite a drive to venture out.  Cabin food always equals indulgence, since Andrew, his Dad, and his Uncle are the normal crew up here, I try and stay clear of the chips and hoho diet of the cabin.
The other great thing about menu planning the cabin is I grocery shop at home and pack all we need so we get here stay here until Sunday.

Our Friday night meal pick was Macaroni and Cheese from this month's Better Homes and Gardens (it needed less stuff than the one in Cooking Light this month =) Find it here (BHG Recipe). 


The Kirsti Recipe commentary:
This supposedly serves 6, I guess as a side dish. This was just enough for Andrew and I as our dinner, with a snack for lunch leftover. As a side dish I'd say this is good for 4 or 5 people.

Ingredients

  • 7  oz. dried multigrain or whole grain rotini pasta (about 1-1/2 cups) 
    • Since they don't make whole grain macaroni, I used normal macaroni since I really wanted the elbows, rotini would work though
  •   Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1-1/2  cups broccoli florets, finely chopped carrots, or green beans, cut in 1/2-inch pieces 
    • I used frozen broccolli and couliflower by microwaving it a bit, worked great
  • 1/4  cup finely chopped onion
  • 4  tsp. olive oil
  • 1  6.5-oz. pkg. light semisoft cheese with garlic and herb 
    • I used the Garlic and Herb laughing cow
  • 1-2/3  cups fat-free milk
  • 1  Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese (2 oz.)
  • 2  oz. Asiago, Gruy√©re, or Manchego cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
    • I skipped this and some slices of provolone since we had it (it all just gets melted in anyway)
  • 1/2  cup crumbled whole wheat baguette or panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) 
    • Panko all the way, so easy and tasty (The directions kinda leave you hanging on the panko, so I just mixed them with the olive oil so they'd brown up)
  •   Flat-leaf parsley or oregano 
    • (Sprinkled some oregano on top when it was done which was a nice addition)  
  • Kirsti & Andrew Bonus
    • since this was our entree we added some turkey bacon into the brocolli couliflower macaroni mix, it worked great

Directions

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium saucepan cook the pasta according to package directions. Add broccoli, carrots, or beans during last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture. Return to pan; keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in large saucepan cook onion in 2 tsp. of the oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Add semisoft cheese; stir until cheese is melted and combined.
  • This step leaves you wondering as you empty out all the laughing cow in, but just go with it, even if it seems so wrong.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Add all at once to onion mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheddar and Asiago cheeses until cheeses are melted. Add cooked pasta mixture; stir to coat. 
  • Since I was working with a limited 'cabin kitchen' I mixed the cheesey goop into the macaroni in the baking dish, which worked fine 
4. Transfer pasta mixture to 2-quart casserole. In small bowl combine baguette crumbles and remaining 2 tsp. oil; sprinkle on pasta mixture. Bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes or until top is browned. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 servings.
Ready for the oven
After

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