Baked macaroni and cheese is easy when you don’t need to pre-cook the pasta! So of course I fell in love with this macaroni and cheese recipe. No need to cook the pasta or heat the milk? Just mix the sauce ingredients, add the dry pasta and cheese and bake? I’m in!
But the amount of cheese in the pasta – a full pound of cheese – seemed a bit excessive. So I decided to tweak it a little, reducing the amount of cheese by half, and using whole-wheat elbow macaroni. I also decided to use Greek yogurt instead of cottage cheese and to tweak the seasonings according to my personal preferences.
The result was so good, so cheesy and flavorful, that I honestly don’t see any reason to use any more cheese than I had. Now, this is still not a skinny recipe – it can’t be with all this cheese – but it’s a marked improvement. And with a big tossed salad, it makes a good, satisfying meal.
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 cups reduced-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided
- ½ pound whole-wheat elbow pasta, uncooked
- 1 slice whole-wheat sandwich bread, dry, processed in food processor into bread crumbs (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika (optional)
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, mustard, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Add 1¾ cups of the grated cheese and the uncooked pasta. Pour into the prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
- Uncover the pan, stir gently, sprinkle with the bread crumbs (if using) and the remaining ¼ cup cheese, sprinkle a little more paprika on top (for color) and lightly spray with olive oil.
- Bake, uncovered, 30 more minutes, until your kitchen is filled with the most amazing aroma and the casserole is browned. You'll want to dig right in, but don't - let it slightly cool and set in the pan, about 15 minutes, before serving.