Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

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baked macaroni and cheese

Of course I fell in love with this baked macaroni and cheese recipe. No need to cook the pasta or heat the milk? Just mix the sauce, add dry pasta and cheese and bake? I’m in! But the amount of cheese in the pasta – an entirte pound of cheese – seemed a bit excessive. So I decided to tweak it a little, substituting cooking spray for the butter, reducing the amount of cheese by half, and using whole-wheat elbow macaroni. I also opted to use low fat Greek yogurt instead of cottage cheese and to tweak the seasonings according to my personal preferences.

The result was so good, so creamy and cheesy and delightful, that I honestly don’t see any reason to use any more cheese than I had. Now, this is still not a low-fat recipe – it can’t be with all this cheese – but it’s a marked improvement… and with a big green salad, it makes a good, satisfying meal.

Makes 6 servings
New quantity:

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Cool: 15 minutes

Ingredients
Olive oil cooking spray
1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
2 cups reduced fat milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 pound whole-wheat elbow pasta, uncooked
1 slice whole-wheat sandwich bread, dry, processed in food processor into bread crumbs (optional)
1/8 teaspoon paprika (optional)

Directions
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, using a hand whisk, whisk together yogurt, milk, mustard, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Add 1 3/4 cups of the grated cheese and the uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with the bread crumbs (if using) and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, sprinkle a little more paprika on top (for color) and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until the most amazing cheesy smell fills the kitchen 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.

Nutrition per serving
(I calculated the cooking spray as 1 teaspoon oil)
Calories 367.6
Total Fat 16.3 g
Saturated Fat 9.5 g
Cholesterol 48.6 mg
Sodium 473.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 33.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Sugars 6.0 g
Protein 21.9 g
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 8 points

Compare with nutrition for the original recipe:
Calories 569.2
Total Fat 34.6 g
Saturated Fat 21.1 g
Cholesterol 104.6 mg
Sodium 895.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.7 g
Sugars 6.7 g
Protein 32.2 g
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 15 points

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