Finding any comfort food recipe operating on a low-fat level is a journey, mission, and quest. There are a lot of disgusting substitutions on the market – especially for cheese.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll reiterate for those new to the class: I am not a classic comfort food eater. (I crave salad when I have bad days.) But I love cheese. Mr. Right has stopped letting me know when he puts cheese in our fridge because he knows I’ll eat all of it.
This recipe has been sitting in my notebook since last Christmas.
My family knows I like to experiment with health-conscious food. This is primarily a result of taking PHY-SCI 5 – Issues in Human Physiology: Diet and Exercise at UCLA my freshman year. Consequently, I visited home as the annoying family member wanting to discuss healthy eating all day, every day. I don’t blame them for being annoyed.
The aftermath of this class resulted in family members buying me an arsenal of “Healthy Living” cookbooks like “200 Under 200 For the Modern Girl,” and others with equally awkward names. I appreciate and welcome cookbook gifts, but please skim through and make sure the recipes actually sound edible. Luckily, I was also gifted with Now Eat This, by Rocco DiSpirito, during this era, which is where I found the base for this recipe.
Rocco cuts down the fat in his macaroni and cheese recipe by swapping out 2/3 components of the cheese sauce for things…..not made of cheese.
I know what you’re thinking.
Don’t worry, it’s still delicious. The sauce is one part garlic/onion puree, one part Greek Yogurt, and one part cheese. The garlic/onion puree provides more flavor than seven varieties of cheese ever could, and the creaminess is equivalent to cheese sauce/bechamel. I made this last Friday as a weekend kick-off for two of our amazing friends to have something besides Lean Cuisine and iced coffee in their refrigerator. (In their defense, they hadn’t made it to the market before I invaded their kitchen.)
Low-Fat Macaroni and Cheese
- Non-stick Cooking Spray
- Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta
- 1 large onion – chopped
- 9 garlic cloves – smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- Cayenne Pepper to taste
- 1 to 2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese – shredded
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Turn an oven to 425, and spray a large glass baking dish with the non-stick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water to taste when it reaches a boil, and cook/drain the pasta according to package directions.
Now, make the garlic and onion puree that will be the base for the sauce: toss the chopped onion, smashed garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of water, and salt/pepper to taste into a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
Pour the puree into a saucepan, and add the dry mustard and cayenne. Bring everything to a simmer over medium heat – make sure to get into the habit of stirring regularly, so the sauce doesn’t curdle.
When the sauce is simmering, whisk in the grated cheddar until it melts and thickens the sauce.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the greek yogurt.
Toss the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Taste it and see if it needs any additional seasoning. Pour into the sprayed glass baking dish and sprinkle with the Panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the top layer of parmesan cheese melts.
Fluffy cloud o’love.