Prep 30 mins
Cook 25 mins
I can't stand stringy cheddary mac and cheese. It's got to be creamy - where the sauce sticks to the noodles and every bite is filled with gooey goodness. But I want to make this as healthy as possible. I got this basic recipe from #108068 on Recipezaar but I decided to throw my own flair in there. I made it for my family and I got rave reviews - they had no clue it wasn't "full-octane" with butter, whole milk, and full-fat cheese! This will be one they beg me to make at holidays! You can add ingredients to make it a main dish or just do a basic recipe for a side dish.
- 16 ounces whole wheat macaroni (uncooked) or 16 ounces penne or 16 ounces rigatoni pasta
- 1 cup butter substitute
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups skim milk
- 14 ounces 2% Velveeta reduced fat cheese product
- American cheese
- 34 Ritz crackers
- 1 1⁄2-2 lbs 93% lean ground beef (optional)
- 1 -2 tablespoon cumin (optional)
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt (optional)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook pasta of your choice to al dente and set aside - leave it in the hot water though - you don't want it to dry out.
- Melt 1/2 cup of butter spread in a large saucepan.
- Add flour and whisk together (you need to use a whisk the entire time or the milk could curdle).
- Whisk in milk somewhat slowly and cook over medium heat until mixture starts to bubble and thicken.
- Stir constantly.
- (If you want to make this a main dish, at this point you should also be browning the beef with spices in a separate skillet).
- To the sauce mixture, add chunks of Velveeta a few at a time allowing them to melt before adding more.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain pasta and pour into a 9x13 baking dish.(Or use a round Corningware dish which will prevent dried out corners).
- Pour sauce over macaroni and mix well (add beef if you choose to do so).
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Add slices of cheese on top.
- Smash up crackers in a Ziploc bag. Melt 1/2 cup of the butter spread and mix with the cracker pieces - sprinkle over top of the casserole.
- Bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and crackers look a little golden brown.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve.