Putting a focus on eating healthy is made slightly more challenging with three kids who all have their own very vocal taste buds and a fairly picky-eater husband. It doesn't matter how many hours I've spent meal planning, shopping, preparing and frankly begging people to eat the healthy meals I've prepared, sometimes they just want to see their comfort food favourites grace the dinner table. Thankfully they are willing to have some of their favourites like baked macaroni and cheese doctored-up a bit to reflect the momma's (aka - the chief dinner maker so if you don't eat what I make you'll starve) healthy eating goal.
This Lightened-Up Baked Mac and Cheese recipe was a huge hit at our dinner table and leftovers frozen in individual containers are met with "thanks mom!" when heated up and tossed into a thermos for their school lunches. What more do you want from your dinner?
Simply cook pasta and broccoli.
Melt some butter.
Cook the onion.
Add the whole wheat flour.
Pour in the chicken stock and milk.
Add the cheese.
Toss with the pasta and broccoli.
Pour into baking dish.
Cover with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and bake.
1 box whole wheat or high fiber macaroni pasta (approx. 375g)
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 cups skim milk
1 cup reduced-salt chicken broth
2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese (something a bit sharp is best)
salt and fresh pepper to taste
2-3 cups frozen broccoli florets (depending on how much broccoli your kids will tolerate)
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese (the grated kind)
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
Optional: 1 tsp. dried mustard and/or Tabasco to taste.
Cook pasta according to directions on box, adding frozen broccoli for last 2-3 minutes of cooking.
Meanwhile, in heavy saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat adding onion once butter is completely melted and cook until softened.
Add flour and cook until combined (approx. 1-2 minutes).
Whisk in milk, chicken broth and dried mustard and/or Tabasco if using, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until sauce thickens (approx. 5-6 minutes) whisking regularly.
Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Remove from heat, add cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted.
Add cooked and drained pasta and broccoli. Stir until combined.
Toss into baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Bake in 375F pre-heated oven uncovered for 20 minutes. If you have a few extra minutes when cooking time is over, switch your oven over to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes for an extra-crispy top.